Monday, June 23, 2008

British Newspaper Reports on the "New Philanthropists of Britain"

The British newspaper, The Guardian, reported yesterday that two of Britain's wealthier individuals announced that they would leave sizable donations (in the billions) to charities instead of their children.  Below is an excerpt of the story:

The 'new philanthropists' are different from you and me. Hugely ambitious, they get stuck into big issues, often on an international scale. They import their strict business discipline to the charitable sector and demand tangible results, sometimes as a condition of further funding. And instead of signing a cheque and walking away, they take a hands-on approach, sometimes exerting direct influence over charities.

Hohn, 41, who runs the Children's Investment Fund, has donated £466m to the foundation run by his wife, Jamie Cooper-Hohn, to support projects across Africa and the developing world. The Hohns have given almost £800m in four years, making them Britain's most generous philanthropists. American-born Cooper-Hohn, 43, meticulously researches each cause to find those that will produce 'transformational change' on a large scale. She once said: 'I was very eager that, if we did this, we would do it very much in the way Chris invests, making long-term, well-researched investments, bringing business rigour into development.'

Hohn is also increasingly typical because he did not inherit vast wealth. The son of a mechanic who came to Britain in the Sixties from Jamaica, he studied at Southampton University and Harvard Business School, going on to a lucrative career in the City. He now lives in St John's Wood, north London, with his wife and four children - it is not known whether Buffet's philosophy will be applied to them.

Duncan Bannatyne is also a self-made millionaire, having begun his entrepreneurial career with a second-hand ice cream van, then going on to build a business empire of health clubs, hotels and a bar. He said yesterday that he aims to help charities around the world through his Bannatyne Foundation and is looking for causes to help.

Bannatyne, 59, said he had experienced being both poor and rich and that inspired him to give money. 'I first went to Romania in 1992, found children who were abandoned and built a hospice,' he told The Observer. 'I just want to continue doing it. I have got £300m now and over the next few years that will be half a billion. I have nothing else to do with it.'

He explained why he will not pass on the fortune to his six children. 'I don't think it is in their best interests. Look at the examples of children whose lives have been ruined. There are children who don't have a purpose in life, don't know how to live properly, are on drugs.'

The rise of the super-rich has spawned a class of super-givers on a scale never before seen. It is estimated that the top 30 philanthropists among Britain's richest 1,000 people either gave away or pledged to give away £2.38bn over the year to May 2008 - almost double the total of the previous year.

For the complete story, please click here.

AMT

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