How New Is The New Philanthropy?

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0120111212

Dame Stephanie Shirley was once worth £150 million.

Now, she's given so much of her wealth away in philanthropic gifts (along with the bursting of the dot.com bubble) that she is no longer on the Sunday Times Rich List.

And she's proud of the achievement.

As the debate about wealth in British society continues, Professor Hugh Cunningham presents a timely history of philanthropic giving in Britain from the 18th to the 21st century, not simply celebrating philanthropy but also assessing the role that it plays or might play today.

The first person to be called a "philanthropist" was John Howard, the 18th century penal reformer, but philanthropy is far more complex and ever-changing than Dr Johnson's definition - love of mankind, good nature - suggests.

What's more, the last decade has seen a reinterpretation of the term, with the so-called New Philanthropy.

Curious to discover just how new this City-based version of philanthropy really is, the historian Hugh Cunningham sets off on a journey to learn more about the history of philanthropy and to explore its role in austerity Britain.

He starts in St Paul's Cathedral beside the monument to John Howard, then travels on to an 18th century almshouse in Norwich, to the original site of the Royal Infirmary in Manchester and back to St Paul's.

He speaks with historians as well as with one grateful beneficiary of traditional philanthropy and with an advocate of the New Philanthropy.

And he hears from Britain's first Ambassador for Philanthropy, Dame Stephanie Shirley.

At the heart of this first programme, Hugh Cunningham asks fundamental questions about philanthropy - why did people give in the past, why do they give today and why don't more people give more?

Producer: Beaty Rubens.

A timely history of philanthropic giving in Britain from the 18th to the 21st century.

02Victorian Philanthropy And Its Critics20111219

The Victorian era is often seen as the high-point of philanthropic giving and Hugh Cunningham starts his journey by recalling his own great-grandfather, Andrew Usher, a brewer and distiller who donated £100,000 to the city of Edinburgh to build the Usher Hall.

However, he has questions about such major capital projects, which might have enhanced the lives of the poor but did little to relieve their poverty.

Hugh also chases a less familiar story: that of the critics who believed that philanthropy would create what is sometimes today called a 'dependency culture'.

He travels to Stoke and to Manchester, exploring the lives of the 'deserving' and 'undeserving' poor; looking into how women increasingly participated in philanthropic activity and how this, in turn, helped their struggle for equality.

He hears about the Victorian trend towards the poor helping the poor.

He talks to historian and Labour MP Tristram Hunt, and to Nick Hurd, Conservative MP and Minister for Civil Society in the Coalition Government, about the obstacles which can stand in the way of philanthropists combating poverty today.

And he interviews Dame Susie Sainsbury, who speaks both of the major capital projects to which she has donated and about her willingness to give to the "less sexy items on the philanthropic shopping list".

Hugh Cunningham is Emeritus Professor of History in the University of Kent, and was academic consultant and co-writer of Radio Four's major narrative history series 'The Invention of Childhood'.

Producer: Beaty Rubens.

Professor Hugh Cunningham explores the lives of the 'deserving' and 'undeserving' poor.

03 LASTTwo 'new Philanthropies'20111226

As the debate about wealth in British society continues, Professor Hugh Cunningham presents a timely history of philanthropic giving.

In 1949, William Beveridge, the architect of the welfare state, spoke of "a perpetually moving frontier for philanthropic giving".

In the third and final programme in this series on British philanthropy, Hugh Cunningham contrasts the diminishing role that philanthropy played during the middle decades of the twentieth century with the increasing calls that are being made upon it today.

Hugh grapples with the apparently intractable problem of the mismatch between philanthropic giving and actual social need in today's cash-strapped Britain.

He asks how contemporary philanthropists might contribute to the 'Big Society'.

And he hears about attempts to reclaim the term 'philanthropist' for all - not merely those who give £5 million a year but those who give £5 a month.

Hugh talks to bankers and politicians, historians, cultural commentators and the contemporary philanthropist Sir Peter Lampl, founder of the Sutton Trust, to discover a role for a truly 'new philanthropy' for the 21st century.

Presenter: Hugh Cunningham is Emeritus Professor of History in the University of Kent. He was the academic consultant and co-writer of 'The Invention of Childhood', Radio Four's 30 part narrative history series on the changing face of British childhood, presented by Michael Morpurgo.

Producer: Beaty Rubens.

Hugh contrasts the role of philanthropy today with that of the middle of the 20th century.