Reviewer replies to authors of From Charity to Creativity

Rodney Hedley

In reply to Helmut K Anheier and Diana Leat’s response[2] to my review of From Charity to Creativity[3], I would like to make an additional point. My main criticism was that their research was thin on data and hence their speculations were likewise light in substance. I am reinforced in this view by today re-reading some Charities Aid Foundation research from the 1994 Directory of Grant Making Trusts. In this volume, an analysis of the 2,519 registered trusts then in existence showed that:

  • 4.4 per cent of all trusts were formed before 1900 and accounted for 12.5 per cent of all trust assets;
  • 84.6 per cent of all trusts were formed in the post-1951 period and accounted for 63.3 per cent of all trust assets.

I raise this because Anheier and Leat make sweeping historical assumptions about the nature of trusts in the 19th and 20th centuries. As the above shows, in the UK most trusts were formed in the classic welfare state period. I speculate this is how philanthropists got ‘innovation into their psyche’ – the pump priming role until the state took over. What is the psyche of 21st century philanthropists? I do not know; but From Charity to Creativity does not inform me either.

Rodney Hedley

1 See Alliance, Vol 8, No 2, June 2003, p10.
2 See Alliance, Vol 8, No 1, March 2003, p42.

For more information:

hildencharity@hotmail.com


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