‘If you really want philanthropic giving to make an impact, it’s not just a question of signing cheques, you have to make a commitment of time and effort to make sure it really runs effectively,’ says Lord David Sainsbury. While he has a direct and individual approach to philanthropy, he is not the only member of his family to give money away. In 2003, the Sainsbury family was awarded the Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy, which he accepted on their behalf. Alliance talked to him about the part that family traditions play in encouraging charitable giving, the value of awards such as the Carnegie Medal, and his view of philanthropy and the role of private foundations.
Family traditions clearly loomed large as far as Lord Sainsbury himself was concerned. ‘There was a very strong family tradition that if you had money then a proportion of it should go to charitable activities. I received a lot of shares in Sainsburys when I was 27 years old, and it seemed the natural thing to do to put a proportion of that into a charitable trust.’ So he established the Gatsby Charitable Trust in 1967.