The UK has a rich heritage of private philanthropy. It is scarcely possible to walk down any high street in our country without seeing the indelible mark of philanthropy in our hospitals, schools and universities, in libraries and community centres, theatres and museums, and in our religious and charitable institutions. Philanthropy is a force that has shaped our modern society.
More urgently, we are living in a time of great need, when inequality has led to deep divisions.
With social and environmental needs at crisis levels, we believe those who have benefited from the opportunities to create wealth in our society should accept the responsibility of giving back as a civic duty.
Therefore, as wealth holders, we are seeking to encourage our peers to increase our annual charitable giving collectively by £2 billion.
The Beacon Collaborative believes that:
- Wealth holders are the members of society with the greatest capacity to contribute our additional resources for public benefit.
- Civil society flourishes when it is recognised to be a shared responsibility between government, the voluntary sector and private individuals.
- The social contract must be reshaped; our economy offers the freedom to create great wealth, but with reward must come responsibility.
- Private philanthropic capital represents a precious resource that is not readily available in the public or private sectors.
- Where government must be prudent with public funds, the philanthropist can take risks and freely invest in social innovation or pilot initiatives to address intractable problems.
- Where government must meet the needs of the many, philanthropists can support small or specialist organisations, including those that help the most marginalised, partnering alongside or complementing public spending priorities.
- And, where the private sector must maximise financial value, philanthropy can champion social or environmental causes, funding work that might never be commercialised or taken to scale.
- Philanthropy should be free to challenge the status quo where the outcome is a better society for all.
- Philanthropy is a mechanism by which responsible citizens can deepen their engagement in society and it is additive to their contribution as tax-payers.
The barriers which hold many wealthy people back from giving more are surmountable. By working together, we can raise the confidence of those who may wish to give more, but who need to see their peers, the voluntary sector and policy makers taking the lead.
The Beacon Collaborative is a movement of philanthropists and organisations who are collectively committed to building on our nation’s heritage of giving to increase the level of private assets available for public good in the UK today.
To achieve our goal will take many actions by many people. We will do more this year, in the causes we support and by encouraging others in their philanthropy. What will you do?