U2 - music and philanthropy legends

28 January 2011 | By Cause4 staff

This week it was announced that Irish Band U2 have helped to fund a nationwide music education project in Ireland.

Music Generation will give 10,000 children over the next three years opportunities to receive a musical education that would otherwise pass them by. The ‰âÂ7 million programme is to be funded by U2’s ‰âÂ5 million donation, the remainder coming from the Ireland Fund.

It is a substantial step for Irish Music, especially given that ‘Ireland is trailing far behind the European average with only 1 per cent of secondary school children receiving tuition in instrumental or vocal performance’, according to Rosealeen Molloy, the Director of Music Generation. The European average stands at 7 per cent.
U2’s donation is a very intelligent investment and has prompted the Irish Department of Education and Skills to fund the scheme beyond 2015. The programme should be ‘established enough by then to offer every child who wants one a chance of a musical education,’ explains Molloy. It is an investment that offers a long-term sustainable solution to a far-reaching problem.

This elicits a few thoughts from within Cause4:

1: The most effective philanthropists seek to make sustainable investments which produce long-term outcomes far beyond the scope of their initial outlay. They see themselves as investors not donors.

2: More advice needs to be made available to philanthropists to facilitate sustainable investment. A recent report by New Philanthropy Capital confirmed that many significant donors do not currently receive any advice. As Jonathan Lidster, Director of Global Partnership Family Offices, suggests, ‘People pay for advice on investments. Philanthropy or impact investing is similar - you are still giving money to someone to do something with - irrespective of whether the money is to make more money or to change something for the better.’

3: The British Government can learn much from their Irish counterparts. They must be more willing than they seem to be to partner with philanthropists, providing match-funding to make their money – or rather our money - stretch twice as far.

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