More tax, more philanthropy – there’s room for both

Graham Hobson

In societies that are increasingly unequal, more philanthropy is needed but so is more tax on accumulated wealth

Time to narrow the wealth gap?Credit: Pixabay.

In 1999, I had an idea for a business, a service to print digital photos at low cost and great quality, that surprisingly didn’t exist at the time. A few weeks later I started a tiny company called Photobox. The business struggled through some lean and challenging years, but became a European market leader, eventually being sold to private equity in 2016. My family and I emerged from this journey with more wealth than we needed to fund a great standard of living for the rest of our lives. For some, the spoils of exits are there to be enjoyed through lavish purchases: supercars, yachts and second homes. That wasn’t our style and our first thoughts were to share some of this good fortune with friends and family. Next on the list was social impact investment and philanthropic causes. My wife volunteers for a food rescue charity and I am on the advisory board of a social impact company providing a path for homeless people to get into employment. It felt like we each had a good enough understanding of how charities and the social impact business functioned to participate, help to grow and in some cases, to contribute funds. Over the years we have refined our philanthropic efforts, better-selecting organisations and funds able to deliver sustained, efficient impact.

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