If the state provides less, who will provide more?
UK Community Foundation’s Chief Executive, Fabian French, shares his thoughts on themes explored in ‘Our Common Good’, the new book by John Nickson.
John Nickson, in his new book, ‘Our Common Good’, asks a very important question; ‘if the state provides less, who will provide more?’
I wholeheartedly agree with John that philanthropy has an important role to play.
John’s book takes us through some wonderful examples of philanthropy and Britain’s rich history of giving. In fact, he makes a good point that Britain today is defined by the generosity of our predecessors. You don’t have to go far to see a hospital, social housing estate, a museum or gallery, theatre, public park, school or university that wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for philanthropists.
And he also rightly asks, where is that generosity now? It still needs to be a strong force in our society if we are to sustain what we have and to ensure that future generations inherit what we have today.
I agree with John in his call for a new culture of giving. That’s why UK Community Foundations promotes philanthropy generally and it is why we run the Beacon Awards which recognise inspirational philanthropists and the contribution they make. The awards serve to motivate, influence and inspire the much needed philanthropists of the future.
Philanthropy can’t simply take the place of public spending. But there is a demand for a new type of partnership between all sectors of society – public, private, voluntary and philanthropy, to try and meet the challenges of today.
I was lucky enough to be interviewed by John for this book and I’m glad that he highlights the role of Community Foundations as providing part of the answer. He mentions our successful Community First model – government match funding donations from philanthropists into endowment funds that help support communities well into the future. A new match funding model would go a long way in meeting the current and future needs of communities.
‘Our Common Good’ is a great book and I thoroughly recommend it.
The shortlist for the 2017 Beacon Awards will be published on 22 March at midday. Follow us on Twitter to stay updated.
Chief Executive of UK Community Foundations