Young City professionals were among those who donated £23,000 in 11 minutes of frenetic pledging to three dynamic social change charities at the second City Funding Network event held on April 22 at the historic Charterhouse, in Central London, itself long a symbol of philanthropy in the City.
The City Funding Network is part of City Philanthropy – a Wealth of Opportunity, funded by The City of London Corporation’s charity City Bridge Trust that aims to put philanthropy at the centre of City culture.
The City Funding Network dragon’s den style event, run by The Funding Network (TFN), the originators of the concept, invites each member-sponsored charity to make a six- minute pitch and answer audience questions, before leaving the room when pledging begins. Two rounds of funding invite minimum bids of £50, though some donors were moved and able to pledge several thousand pounds over the course of the night, sometimes in the form of match challenges to spur on fellow givers, and the sense of ‘serious fun’ was palpable.
Award-winning TV presenter and history buff Dan Snow kicked off proceedings by speaking about the impact charitable giving has had on his own life, and on the importance of inspiring a new generation of philanthropists.
With his wife Lady Edwina Grosvenor, daughter of Britain’s richest landowner, the Duke of Westminster, they support prison communities around the globe. “Giving is addictive and fun... exciting for the individual who's giving as you see amazing projects come to life,” said Snow, adding that “the world of philanthropy is filled with the most exciting, inspiring, and bizarre people you will ever meet.”
The three charities whose £5,000 fundraising targets were each exceeded were:
Footsteps UK, who pitched to fund a dormitory in a new boarding school for young, female students in Kenya, saving them from the threat of rape as they walk to and from school
Enabling Enterprise that sought funds to run their training scheme in two more primary schools to equip young people with the skills, aspirations and experiences they need to succeed in life.
Tools for Self-Reliance whose UK based volunteers refurbish second-hand tools for use by rural communities in the poorest parts of Africa to become sustainable growers.
The event billed as a ‘good night out’ brings together young professionals with established philanthropists and inspiring charities in an exclusive social setting, geared for networking and exchanges. The event is tailored for those givers who want to move up from sponsoring friends in fundraising challenges to more engaged giving, explains TFN’s Eugenie Harvey.
One new attendee commenting after the event said: “I really wasn’t sure what to expect. The night was a great mix of fun and finding out about the work these amazing charities are achieving. It was great to be a part of making a tangible difference with others. I learned a lot tonight and met with some great people.”
Founder of TFN Frederick Mulder CBE, who devised the ‘open giving circle’ concept that has raised more than £5m in 10 years for small charitable projects in the UK, Toronto and Johannesburg , said: “The evening once again showed how enjoyable giving together can be and how much of an impact one can create when your own small donations are part of a bigger pot. We are delighted to see younger City people getting involved, and we want to encourage and educate the next generation of wealth creators about how powerful their wealth is when used for social purposes.”
The event also welcomed a group from Romania where the TFN model was recently launched in Bucharest and will be rolled out in four more cities there soon. TFN also recently piloted in three cities in Australia, four cities in Bulgaria, and will be piloted soon in New York.