‘Why don’t more people give?’ sector leader asks in light of newly-published Sunday Times Giving List

‘Why don’t more people give?’ sector leader asks in light of newly-published Sunday Times Giving List

News (UK)

Jamie Oliver’s entry into this year’s Sunday Times Giving List has prompted sector leader Theresa Lloyd to ask why greater numbers of wealthy people do not give to charity.

The author of Why Rich People Give, Philanthropy UK founder and independent philanthropy advisor comments, “While recognising the generosity of significant donors, it is worth considering why so many people are not giving, or not giving at similar levels. By definition The Rich List deals with the very wealthy indeed. It is easy to look at how such people spend their money with the detachment of a social anthropologist – they’re so different from us that there is no basis for comparison or imitation or criticism. But if everyone on the Rich List gave 2% of their wealth – half the percentage donated by Jamie Oliver – the world would be transformed. Using a simplistic calculation, the combined wealth of the top 10 hedge fund managers according to 2010 list is reported to be in the region of £5bn; 2% would equate to more than £100m, greater than the annual income of all but the largest charities.”

Oliver, who enters the list at number 22, gave away 4.2% (£2.7m) of his £65m fortune, which puts him ahead of financier Lord Rothschild and Barclays president Bob Diamond in terms of percentage of personal wealth donated to charity.

Lloyd, commenting on Oliver’s arrival on the list, said, “It is good to see that newcomers are appearing on The Giving List, and we should all be pleased to celebrate giving, in the hope that others are inspired to become part of a giving community.”

The Charities Aid Foundation (CAF), which helps sponsor the Giving List, said that philanthropic activity in Britain was beginning to return to pre-recession levels thanks to people like Oliver.

Mike Packham, head of private clients at CAF, said: “We are now seeing people making the major commitments to philanthropy that they have been planning for some time. The timing couldn’t be better because many charities are expecting this coming year to be very difficult.”

But Lloyd adds a note of caution: “We have to careful about the data and the basis of the analysis, and make sure we are comparing like with like.  In particular, the Giving List may miss people who give regularly at lower levels, but whose cumulative contribution is significant. Someone who gives say £250,000 a year for 10 years may not feature on the radar, whereas someone making a one-off commitment of £2.5m will.  And of course it does not feature donors who wish their giving to remain confidential.”
 
The Giving List is topped by Chris Hohn for the third year in a row. He has now given more than £531.2m – six times his personal wealth - to the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF) from the profits and investments of his hedge fund.

In second place on the list is Kwiksave supermarket founder Alex Gubay, who last month pledged to give away his entire fortune in a ‘deal with God’. He has given all but £10m of his £480m fortune.

Bart Becht, the man behind the Cillit Bang kitchen cleaner who shattered British records for executive pay after taking home more then £90m in cash and shares in one year, has given £103.4m, putting him at number three on the list.

Among the top 10 donors are Arpad Busson and Uma Thurman, Lord Sainsbury, Johan Eliasch, Sir Terence Conran, Sir Elton John and Bob Edmiston.

The Sunday Times Rich List, the definitive guide to wealth in Britain, which publishes on Sunday (25th April) reveals the combined fortunes of the top three hedge fund managers have grown by £1.15bn in a single year. While the British music millionaire list is topped by a new entry – Edgar Bronfman, the chairman and chief executive of the Warner Music Group and renowned philanthropist, with a fortune of £1.64bn.

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