4th December 2015Alistair Lomax
Philanthropy in a great city – Bath
Bath is a city founded on wealth and prosperity. The word ‘Philanthropy’ derives its meaning from the Greek meaning ‘for the love of humanity’. Bath and its gorgeous surrounds were created for the enjoyment of its people; founded on culture, learning, graceful architecture, and the world famous Spa.
29% of charitable giving originates in London and over 60% of the UK’s wealth. So what are the implications for philanthropy in a regional city like Bath?
The Philanthropy Company, which has been working with Bath Spa University, organised a round table lunch to seek the answer.
The discussion attracted a diverse range of organisations including representatives from a community foundation, universities, environmental organisations, INGOs, international festival, museum, philanthropists and social entrepreneurs.
For starters Caroline Underwood introduced the Philanthropy Company and each of the guests said a brief word about their place along the philanthropy journey. Caroline was joined by the three directors, Yvonne Rainey, Robin Aitken (finance) and myself.
During the main course we discussed the trends in Philanthropy:
- Unprecedented levels of wealth in the UK
- London being the haven of wealth – it is now home to more millionaires than any other city in the world
- The retreat of the state and the rise in the extent to which the third sector is delivering (or is expected to deliver) public services (alongside a lack in increased giving in proportion to the new wealth)
- The advent of new forms of funding such as social impact bonds
- The volume of charities –many say that they are looking at merger, but few actually do
- Large funders and philanthropists working collaboratively and wanting the organisations they fund to do the same
- The sophistication and strength of social conscience of young people
Bath is a close-knit community and we were delighted to be amongst it. Many of the guests described the collaborative work that they were doing and the benefits that this held for the community. They said that funding relied on collaboration and that each bidding organisation probably would have been unsuccessful if working alone. We heard about organisations writing and winning bids for major funding from Big Lottery, government, philanthropists and large risk-taking funders who like collaboration and innovation (Esmee Fairbairn and Joseph Rowntree were mentioned).
There is huge opportunity for synergy between the different organisations with an interest in philanthropy in Bath. We were privileged to be able to convene a discussion which revealed the opportunities to grow philanthropy in this great city.
On top of the launch of our new course, Foundations in Philanthropy, and following the news of the success of various clients who confirmed gifts of over £20 million between them, it’s been quite a week for the Philanthropy Company.
Do get in touch if you would like to find out more about us.