Philanthropy in the 21st century


Understanding and tackling the challenges facing our urban communities


There has been a great deal of political focus in recent years on trying to address the challenges facing our towns and cities. It is widely recognised that many areas of the UK have suffered economically, as the traditional industries which fuelled their growth have declined. At the same time, a North-South divide has opened up as wealth and employment become increasingly concentrated in London and the South East.

As policy makers start to think about addressing this gap, with an increasing focus on devolution, city deals and the introduction of programmes like the "Northern Powerhouse" and the "Midlands Engine", there is undoubtedly an opportunity to start revitalising our towns and cities. And yet, one element that has been absent from many of the political discussions on this topic is philanthropy, and the role it can play in driving local investment into urban centres. We believe the time is now to look again at philanthropy, not only as a route to financial investment, but also as a way of reconnecting people with places and spaces.

Read our report; Giving a Sense of Place


  • To usher in a new age of civic philanthropy, helping our towns and cities adapt to the challenges and opportunities of the coming decades
  • Businesses, community groups and local residents to work together to tackle problems in their local area
  • People to feel proud of their community, and to want to give back to it
  • Policy makers to consider philanthropy as part of their plans for towns and cities 
  • Newly directly elected Mayors to develop a clear narrative and vision about the role of philanthropy in their town, city or region
  • Philanthropy to become a key part of future plans for devolution and localism
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Whether you're a charity, a philanthropist, a policy maker or just interested, you could have a role to play in driving civic philanthropy and improving life in Britain's towns and cities.

To find out more about what you could do to support civic philanthropy, read our full list of recommendations here.

Get in touch


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Giving a Sense of Place: Philanthropy and the future of UK civic identity

In this report - part of the "Giving for the City" project - we look at the the role that philanthropy can play in towns and cities around the UK, and what needs to be done to build a new golden age of civic philanthropy in this country.
In this report - part of the "Giving for the...
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Chain Links- The role of mayors in building a culture of philanthropy

In this discussion paper - as part of the "Giving for the City" project- we look at the role that mayors can play in building a culture of civic philanthropy in our towns and cities.
In this discussion paper - as part of the...


05 October 2017

The History of Civic Philanthropy in the UK: What can we learn from it?

Philanthropy has played a key role in the growth and development of many towns and cities around the UK. What can this rich history tell us about how we might kick start a new, 21st century golden age of civic philanthropy?
14 September 2017

Devolution: what's missing?

As policymakers increasingly look at devolution as a solution for some of the key concerns facing our country, we ask if they're forgetting something fundamental. 
17 July 2017

Can Mayors help to build a culture of civic philanthropy?

There is a growing focus on the role of elected mayors as drivers of change at a local level. Can they play a key role in developing a culture of civic philanthropy that can strengthen our towns and cities? And how?
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