Faced with answering the question, ‘How is Covid-19 changing the face of philanthropy?’, a panel that included Rebecca Constable revealed their impressions of how the world has changed and offered their impressions of where and how we go now.
Kleinwort Hambros: How is COVID-19 changing the face of philanthropy?
“If we have lost a third of our economy, let’s make sure it’s the dirty part,” said Sian Sutherland, co-founder of A Plastic Planet and a panelist in ‘How Covid-19 is changing the face of philanthropy’, hosted by Home Grown Club, the entrepreneurs’ arm of Home House, facilitated by the Wealthiher Network and held on Zoom on Tuesday 19 May.
The panel, led by Sarah Matthew from The Vibrant Company, an entrepreneur and investor who works closely with Home Grown Club, investigated philanthropy as a catalyst for the change that will follow in the wake of Covid-19. “Unlike charity, which offers an emotional outburst and resources to ease a problem, philanthropy is more strategic and aimed at solving the root cause,” said panelist Rebecca Constable of Kleinwort Hambros.
“It’s not just about giving money, it is also time and expertise; it’s a mindset,” said Ms Constable, whose giving portfolio includes education and sport for girls and homelessness in the UK.
There is no minimum amount to qualify, but seeking matched funding is a powerful additional source of funds. “You don’t need to set up a charity or foundation,” said Ms Constable. “Take a look at donor advice funds, an easy to set-up bank account whereby you decide the destination of your donations.”
More conversations and financial commitment during the crisis have emerged as more people are charged to stay home, finding more time to talk to their family and less time travelling, according to Sheryl Fofaria of JP Morgan Private Bank. “At the first few signs of crisis, private donors got into emergency mode, got money out of the door quickly and found ways to be more nimble, flexible and supportive of their charity partners,” said Ms Fofaria.
The shock of how easy and quickly half the world’s population acquiesced to lockdown showed that extraordinary change by mankind is possible. “We quickly realised it is not a time to stay quiet,” said Ms Sutherland.
What comes next will include CSR (corporate and social responsibility) at its core, a thought echoed by all panelists. “CSR should be banned if it not at the centre, in which case it is just marketing,” said Ms Sutherland, who extolled the virtues of B corporations, companies that meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance.
“[Attention to] mental health, for example, just becomes part of what we do,” said Ms Constable. “Everyone is now asking ‘how are you?’ and it sits absolutely in the core of the conversation.”
Recent surveys have revealed an overwhelming reluctance to return to "normal" life, as it was preceding the COVID-19 outbreak. Rather 80% of respondents indicated a desire to effect change so that a focus on sustainability, more equal distribution of the world's resources and renewed sense of solidarity become key pillars of the "new normal."
Serial entrepreneur and co-founder of the Plastic Planet Sian Sutherland has an important role to play: “I used to sell stuff; now I sell change."
For more information about how Kleinwort Hambros can help you achieve your philanthropic goals, please contact Sam Hartles, Private Banker: firstname.lastname@example.org
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Kleinwort Hambros has a wealth of experience in helping individuals, families, entrepreneurs, charities and their advisers to manage their financial assets, whether they are based in the UK or overseas.