Louisa Mitchell, Research Director at Policy Exchange and a former City professional, explains her report on encouraging a new generation of Victorian-style philanthropists in the financial industry.
City professionals have the wealth and expertise to make them leaders in the development of a national culture of philanthropy. In Britain we are willing to put our hands in our pockets when asked, but we do not tend to think about giving in a structured way. Changing from a reactive culture of charity to a more strategic culture of philanthropy is an important task which requires leadership. The State cannot do everything, nor should it; non-state providers can often do things better but they need capital and they need skills. Financial services professionals can provide both.
Supported by Citi Private Bank and others, we researched attitudes to philanthropy amongst City professionals to understand what motivates them to engage in philanthropy and what barriers stand in their way. The critical step is getting people started. Entrepreneur Chris Mathias said:
"If you allow yourself to engage then the philanthropy journey begins and it is virtually unstoppable....once you start it takes a really hard-hearted or brutal human being to stop."