Is philanthropy only for the wealthy or elderly? New research, timed to coincide with a philanthropic exhibition in the City of London, suggests not.
Recent research undertaken by Populus, published as ‘Philanthropy: A City Story’ opens at the Charterhouse in Clerkenwell, shows that seven in ten 18-24 year olds like the idea of philanthropy if it costs them £2 a day – not even the price of a posh cup of coffee. This compares with 46 per cent of those over 65.
However, the young said they needed more education in giving: only 40 per cent said they knew enough about philanthropy, compared with 77 per cent of the over-65s.
The exhibition has been curated by the Museum of London with the support of the City’s charity, the City Bridge Trust. It demonstrates and celebrates the historic past of philanthropy in the City, from London’s first flushing toilets (paid for by the historic Dick Whittington), all the way to today’s philanthropic initiatives.
But the exhibition also has a role in provoking the young to philanthropy, according to David Farnsworth of the City Bridge Trust: ‘By demystifying philanthropy we hope to inspire a new generation of philanthropists. We want to encourage young people who care so passionately about today’s social issues to feel empowered to change them for the better, through the giving of time, money and skills.
Pictured above: The Baroness Burdett-Coutts displayed at the exhibition
‘Philanthropy is not for just for the wealthy, or for those who have retired. We believe philanthropy is a reciprocal part of a person’s career and by funding the campaign City Philanthropy – A Wealth of Opportunity we are encouraging more workers to get involved. This aims to support the growing culture of philanthropy in the City and position London as a leading global centre of philanthropic giving.’
The exhibition is held in the Charterhouse, a former Carthusian monastery, to the north of what is now Charterhouse Square. The Charterhouse also served as a private mansion and boys’ school and today is an almshouse and hospital for the elderly. This is a rare chance for the public to visit as it is usually closed.
Charlie Hobson, the master and chief executive at Charterhouse, acknowledges the dependence of the Charterhouse on philanthropy throughout its history: ‘Where better to celebrate the important role that philanthropy has played in the development of the City of London than the Charterhouse, which owes its existence to a range of generous benefactors from the medieval period through to the modern day?’
Pictured above: St Paul’s Children
Sharon Ament, director of the Museum of London, points to the existence of philanthropic endeavors in the City, and notes the significance that their results will shape the future of London. The use of wealth to make things happen for the common good is, Ament suggests, a key and inherent part of London’s spirit.
The research also showed that men (73 per cent) and women (76 per cent) are almost equally likely to be philanthropic, with health, child poverty and disability favoured causes.
This gender equality of philanthropy was reflected last night at the Spear’s Wealth Management Awards, with Sir Vernon Ellis winning Lifetime Achievement in Philanthropy and Marcelle Speller Philanthropist of the Year.
The exhibition runs from 30 October to 30 November at the Charterhouse, Charterhouse Square, EC1M. See here for more information