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England’s mayors could boost civic philanthropy, says CAF

England’s mayors could boost civic philanthropy, says CAF

Directly-elected mayors in England are in a strong position to boost local donations from philanthropists and businesses, according to Charities Aid Foundation.

The charity, one of the UK’s largest foundations, has published a discussion paper in which it suggests some practical steps for the 23 directly elected mayors to take.

Giving for the City

It reminds them that philanthropy has long played a major role in the development of the great towns and cities. Yet the tradition of civil philanthropy has also been in decline for some time. Mayors, it argues, are in a position to reverse this and start a revival of this tradition.

CAF’s Giving for the City project explains how current mayors can take inspiration from some of the great philanthropist-mayors of the past like Andrew Barclay-Walker in Liverpool and Joseph Strutt in Derby, or by following the international example of Michael Bloomberg who harnessed philanthropy for the benefit of the City of New York and who has inspired other cities such as Los Angeles to follow suit.

Good examples have already been set by the establish of Mayor’s Funds in Manchester by Andy Burnham (on his first day in office) and in London by Sadiq Khan.

Five steps to growing civic philanthropy

In today’s discussion paper Chain Links: how mayors can build a culture of philanthropy CAF has set five challenges for the directly-elected mayors.

·         Establish a Mayor’s Fund to attract donations for addressing local challenges and issues. 

·         Publish a philanthropy strategy, detailing the approach of the mayoral office to civic philanthropy.

·         Appoint a philanthropy liaison to develop relationships with potential philanthropists and local charities.

·         Develop a clear narrative and vision about the role of philanthropy in their town, city or region.

·         Use the profile and status of the mayoralty to bring together philanthropists, charities, foundations, companies and public sector bodies to encourage partnerships and identify shared goals.

This paper will be followed by a more detailed report later this year with wide-ranging recommendations for building a culture of civic philanthropy. CAF will also be discussing the proposals with local and national politicians at party conferences this autumn.

Rhodri Davies, Programme Leader of the Giving Thought policy programme at CAF, explained why CAF was focusing on the role of the new directly-elected Mayors in England. 

He said: “By championing local giving and putting in place the right structures and strategies, mayors have a golden opportunity to embrace the generosity of people and business to help address local issues. “





Howard Lake is a digital fundraising entrepreneur. Publisher of UK Fundraising, the world's first web resource for professional fundraisers, since 1994. Trainer and consultant in digital fundraising. Founder of Fundraising Camp.

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