Gimme 5: The best stories for the week of 17th Feb

After an unscheduled one-week hiatus, here is the return of our pick of the best five philanthropy/charity/social investment/whatever-takes-our-fancy stories.


1) At number one is this New York Times article on the “patriotic philanthropy” of billionaire private equity mogul David Rubinstein, which raises (to my mind) fascinating questions about the relationship between philanthropy and the State.


2) Also from the US is this Forbes article about the “Death of Big Charity”. This highlights a trend amongst the charitably-minded offspring of the super-wealthy to move away from writing cheques to established charitable organisations and instead get involved themaselves in far smaller initiatives. And any article that contains the phrase “They are bypassing their parent’s antebellum eleemosynary institutions” is clearly either brilliant or excerable. I’ll let you make up your own mind about that…


3) Coming back to the UK, there was an interesting interview in Third Sector wih Colin Rochester, an academic who has written a new book bemoaning the  professionalisation of charities and the consequent loss of what he sees as the true voluntary sector.


4) At number four is this piece in the Guardian looking behind the scenes at Oxfam’s giant clothes donation processing plant, which has helped them streamline clothes donations so that they can now claim to put 84p of every £1 donated towards their cause.


5) And finally, just in case you laboured under the illusion that all is sweetness and light in the charity sector, comes this story from the Independent about tensions between the two charities responsible for maintaining the WWII codebreaking centre at Bletchley Park. Relations between the two organisations have apparently deteriorated to the degree that a 6ft high “Berlin Wall” has been erected on the grounds to divide their areas of ownership. Ouch.


Rhodri Davies

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