Imagination please - Titan philanthropists

10 June 2011 | By Cause4 staff

Journalist Zoe Williams in the Guardian on Thursday 10 June writes about the vulgarity of the Ark Gala Ball. Tickets are £10,000 each and with the event attended by A-listers such as the newly married Duke and Duchess of Cambridge this is most definitely a ‘spectacle’ of big beast philanthropy.



As Zoe Williams comments “The fact that the giving is done so demonstratively, in an atmosphere of celebration, is a tacit rejection of any link between one person's great wealth and another's great poverty. We're meant to accept and even rejoice in their great wealth because they bring so much booze to the party; but the social cost of inequality, not to mention tax-avoidance (of the Hedge funders), means they drink much more than they bring.”

Eyebrows have also been raised by the surprising joint venture announcement at the Gala Ball between the Foundation of Prince William and Prince Harry - a body which raises sustainable funds for charitable grants - and Ark, which has projects helping disadvantaged children around the globe including programmes in the UK.

Prince William said:"This new joint initiative is based on our shared vision and commitment to transform the lives of thousands of young people.

I certainly don’t feel as strongly as Zoe Williams does about Ark-style lavishness - good fundraising comes in many guises. However, my heart does sink about the announcement at the Gala of this joint venture. Ark is always going to be ok. In the worst case, only 12 months has to pass before they raise another £17m.

However much good the venture might achieve charitably, surely the Prince could have been a bit more creative about his partnerships and set a different sort of example by linking with smaller charities or emerging social enterprises – in turn increasing their capacity and looking at new types of philanthropy models to stimulate giving and support worthy causes.

Prince William’s star has never been greater – some championing of real innovation and creativity in giving where it’s needed most would make the most enormous difference. Let’s hope for next time...


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