We make no apologies for once again returning to the theme of philanthropy in these pages: giving how, when, why, where and to whom has emerged as one of the dominant subjects in the high-net-worth world since the trauma of the recession, both in conversations among the wealthy and in urgent drives by their advisers to be ready when the request comes
WE MAKE NO apologies for once again returning to the theme of philanthropy in these pages: giving — how, when, why, where and to whom — has emerged as one of the dominant subjects in the high-net-worth world since the trauma of the recession, both in conversations among the wealthy and in urgent drives by their advisers to be ready when the request comes. ‘How do I give?’ can no longer be met with incomprehension, a brush-off or a blagged invitation to a charity dinner auction.
This issue features our Philanthropy Special, including an interview with Ernesto Bertarelli, who talks about how his ocean-going life has inspired his giving; a piece by Sophie McBain on how to become a philanthropist in the 21st century; an outstanding photographic portfolio by Stuart Leech of monuments to philanthropy in London; and our Philanthropy Index of the top lawyers, bankers and advisers in the field, as well as some pioneers.
We also have our regular column, The Giver and the Gift, where John Studzinski and Elyse Dodgson of the Royal Court Theatre talk to Zain Alatas about John’s sustained support.
As with most significant subjects — banking reform, green energy changes, social inequality — there is far more talk than action. The head of a private bank recently complained that far too many of his clients express their desire to give but never take any concrete steps, whether through fear, ignorance or simple parsimony. This was a shame, he added, because his bank was raring to help: they have trained their advisers in how to talk about giving and have access to useful resources. Lawyers and accountants, too, are keen to help.
This emphasis on philanthropy has, albeit belatedly, been adopted by private banks, wealth managers, multi-family offices and the like. Everyone wants to mention their philanthropy offering, but care and research are required to recognise which firms see it as a populist bolt-on and which can really walk the walk. Too many people bluff about philanthropy — few speak from an informed perspective.
That is why our speaker event at the Conservative Party Conference this year will feature culture minister Ed Vaizey talking about how to encourage the wealthy to give more. Mr Vaizey has distinguished himself by speaking up about philanthropy and is in a position to direct the government’s policy on it. If you would like to hear — and perhaps even influence — his views, our event is from 5.30-7pm on Tuesday 4 October at the Midland Hotel; contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more details. We hope to see you there.