Call yourself a philanthropist?

On behalf of Attwaters Jameson Hill posted in Private Wealth on Friday, January 10th, 2020

It can be hard to pin down exactly what defines philanthropy. In essence, it’s a wish to promote the welfare of others, usually expressed by giving generously to charities or other worthy causes. If popping some loose change into a collection tin now and then or giving two pounds a month by direct debit are included, nearly all of us are philanthropists. So, does the scale of giving matter?

To be thought of as a true philanthropist, the scale of giving probably does need to be out of the ordinary. At the top end of global philanthropy come the likes of Microsoft billionaires Bill and Melinda Gates, whose charitable foundation works to improve healthcare and alleviate extreme poverty. However, if philanthropy is rated by self-sacrifice, that monthly direct debit could seem just as generous.

Between the extremes of the Gates’ billions and the general public’s loose change are acts of philanthropy on various levels. Essex and Herts each have their share of notable philanthropists. Essex has Sir Jack Petchey, the timeshare magnate; his Jack Petchey Foundation works to involve young people from London and Essex in projects to inspire them and positively impact their communities.

Also based in Essex is the Alan Sugar Foundation, set up by the computer pioneer in 1986 with a range of charitable aims targeting society’s disadvantaged. In Herts, Bejam founder John Apthorp’s charity is focused on supporting small charities in and around South Herts. An earlier philanthropist, Herts businessman R. L. Glasspool, set up his charity in 1939 and it continues to assist people in need to this day.

Each county also has its own community foundation. Essex Community Foundation aims to “identify common interests and develop strategies designed to bring philanthropists closer to the work of recipients”. Hertfordshire Community Foundation has, since its inception in 1988, awarded over £13m in local community support and now manages over 100 funds on behalf of families and businesses.

For individuals and companies that wish to follow in the footsteps of the great philanthropic families of the past, such as Cadbury, Rathbone, Leverhulme and Rowntree, help is at hand from our specialist solicitors. They can advise on issues such as creating charitable trusts and ensuring that their clients’ generosity is maximised by taking advantage of concessions on income tax, inheritance tax or corporation tax.

Within our business, proactive service in the community is a valued historical tradition. Our staff get involved in local events and fundraising projects, while some even hold positions on civic, charitable and educational bodies. The firm supports a staff-nominated Charity of the Year, which is currently Essex & Herts Air Ambulance. Previously, it has been the Alzheimer’s Society (2018), Grove Cottage (2017), St Clare Hospice (2016), Teens Unite (2015), Macmillan Cancer Support in Herts & Essex (2014) and Isabel Hospice (2013).


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