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 local communities.

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
  • To encourage businesses, community groups and local residents to work together to tackle problems in their local area
  • To encourage people to feel proud of their community, and to want to give back to it
  • With policy makers to consider philanthropy as part of their plans for towns and cities 
  • With directly elected Mayors to develop a clear narrative and vision about the role of philanthropy in their town, city or region
  • To make philanthropy a key part of future plans for devolution and localism


Our recommendations and insight for the future of civic philanthropy

In our publications Giving in a Sense of Place and Chain Links, we lay out our recommendations for the future of civic philanthropy. 

Based on our work with six place-based giving schemes in England over 18 months, in July 2020 we published insight and guidance on setting up and funding place based giving projects. This was part of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport Growing Place-based Giving project. The project included government funding of £100,000 per scheme alongside a support programme that we put in place. 
Place-based giving

Growing place-based giving: reports on six projects with DCMS from 2019-2020

The aim of these programmes has been to help schemes to get off the ground and make strides towards raising funds to address local issues. We've written three reports to share what was learnt.
city skyline report

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...

Place-based giving campaign blog

In our blog we review the latest developments on place-based giving, and discuss the challenges and opportunities facing civic philanthropy.

discussions not to miss

Can mayors help to build a culture of civil philanthropy?

There is a real opportunity to develop a modern culture of civic philanthropy to rival that of the Victorian era.

Read insight from our Head of Policy

How connected are people to their communities?

We investigate how much local causes matter, and if place-based giving schemes encourage giving.

View our findings

Bringing diverse communities together; podcast

We talk to Jim MInton of Toynbee Hall, based in London's East End, about the the role of local civil society organisations.

Listen to the podcast

In the media

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We are working to build a stronger charitable sector by running campaigns, influencing government and encouraging people to give to good causes.

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