Third Sector news and comments

August 06, 2009

Third Sector news and comments by Peter Truesdale

August 06 2009

by Briefing team

News and comment from the June/July edition of Corporate Citizenship Briefing, issue 106

Health and education play a key part in new Comic Relief grant strategy
Comic Relief unveiled a new grants strategy on 9 June for the next four years. Key highlights of the new strategy include commitments to making small grants in partnership with local organisations, and a new focus on health and education. Comic Relief will be funding £6.1 million through the Community Foundation Network in support of disadvantaged local communities across the UK. Internationally the African Women’s Development Fund and the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund will be making Comic Relief funded grants to smaller organisations. An additional £2 million over two years has been granted for Time to Change – a campaign working to change pubic attitudes towards mental health.
Contact: Comic Relief

Trusts and foundations cautiously optimistic
UK based trusts and foundations are weathering the recession better than many other sectors, with nearly 75% predicting steady or rising income levels over the longer term and twothirds planning to maintain or increase their level of grant-making. The findings come in a recently released survey by the Association of Charitable Foundations (ACF) carried out in April and May 2009. Looking forward, 15% of ACF members anticipate higher grant-making in 2010, and 38% plan to increase grant-making over the longer term.
Contact: Association of Charitable Foundations

New programme to deliver vaccines to poor
On 12 June, five governments, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the World Bank group, the GAVI Alliance, UNICEF and WHO pledged $1.5 billion to help give poor countries better access to vaccines against pneumococcal diseases such as pneumonia and meningitis. The Advance Market Commitment (AMC) creates financial incentives with guaranteed prices to persuade companies to invest the large sums of money it takes to develop new vaccines. In turn, companies that participate in the AMC will make legally binding commitments to supply the vaccines at lower and sustainable prices after the donor funds are spent. Pharmaceutical companies can register their interest in the AMC from 15 June.
Contact: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Energy-saving lamps for Shanghai households
Shanghai Municipal Government plans to offer 540,000 energy saving lamps to 270,000 low-income families in the city. The rest will be sold at half the market price as the central government subsidises 50% of the cost. Shanghai is also aiming to implement a national plan to offer cheaper, energyefficient air conditioners to consumers by subsidising manufacturers. Mitsubishi Electric Corp and Hitachi Ltd were the first two producers to participate in the programme, the Shanghai Economic and Information Technology Commission said on 10 June, in the lead-up to the Energy Conservation Week. The government expects the programme to save 6.2 billion kilowatthours of power annually and cut CO2 emissions by 6.2 million tonnes.
Contact: Shanghai Municipal Government

Economic downturn, philanthropic upturn
The Coutts Forum for Philanthropy has said that despite the economic downturn, the popularity of philanthropy continues to grow. 87% of the panel of philanthropists surveyed by Coutts, the private banking arm of the Royal Bank of Scotland, said they are expecting to either increase or maintain their giving over the next year. The most commonly cited reason for giving is that it is an enjoyable and rewarding experience. Other reasons included that it allows them to achieve a spend/give balance, it can be an ideal way of instilling family values and educating their children and, for those setting up a charitable foundation, it can bring families closer together.
Contact: Coutts


“The world is too much with us;
late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste
our powers;”

William Wordsworth, Poems, In two volumes (1807)

Some of the articles in this section of CCB seem to suggest that Wordsworth didn’t have the complete picture. For the superrich at least there is some suggestion that he might have added giving to the list.

A so-called poll commissioned by Coutts Bank tells us that 87% of philanthropists intend to maintain or increase their levels of giving next year. Put out more flags! Or rather don’t, for the small print tells us this gem of a statistic was forged at a forum held by the bank for philanthropists. It’s a fair bet Coutts’ customers don’t turn up at such an event if they have decided to slash their future giving.

The poll tells us that the philanthropists say they donate to ‘give back’ or because of a personal link with the favoured cause. It’s comforting to know that the super-rich are just like the rest of us.

All this begs the question what difference does the giving make. In the case of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation the answer would seem to be quite a lot. The foundation is in fact only putting up $50 million of the $1.5 billion for the vaccine programme.

That though is only part of the story. Gates recognises that it is not just a matter of waving a fat cheque book. Yes, money is a pre-requisite but it is the strength of the mission and the freedom to pursue it that makes the foundation a change agent.

Private philanthropy can be a vital, innovative factor in society. Andrew Carnegie, the great industrialist and philanthropist “…resolved to stop accumulating and begin the infinitely more serious and difficult task of wise distribution.” Pity Paris Hilton can’t follow suit.

Peter Truesdale