The recent opening of new university centres and chairs suggest that this is a growing phenomenon and not confined to the global north.
In Scotland, the Centre for the Study of Philanthropy & Public Good was opened at the University of St Andrews at the beginning of October 2016. The centre’s aim is to strengthen the theory, practice and policy relating to philanthropy and its relationship to public good. As well as research, the centre will provide an intellectual forum for policy and practice on the subject, not only in the UK but internationally. Its research partners include the Cass Business School, the Centre for Charitable Giving and Philanthropy (CGAP), the Global Donors Forum and a number of UK universities.
‘Philanthropy has great potential to strengthen family ties through shared values and to contribute to the longevity and health of family businesses while providing necessary assistance to the most neglected and vulnerable segments of society.’
In May 2016, the Swiss pharmaceutical company Debiopharm pledged a sum described in a joint press release as ‘several million Swiss francs’ over 15 years to establish the Debiopharm Chair in Family Philanthropy at the IMD Business School in Lausanne. The purpose of the new chair is to ‘increase the social and financial impact of family giving as well as to develop best practice in family philanthropy by offering tools to strengthen analysis, decision-making processes, performance indicators and governance’. It will also aim to ‘leverage philanthropy as a catalyst for the transmission of family values across generations, branches and nationalities’. Behind the decision to fund the chair, Thierry Mauvernay, co-president and delegate of the board of Debiopharm Group notes that: ‘Philanthropy has great potential to strengthen family ties through shared values and to contribute to the longevity and health of family businesses while providing necessary assistance to the most neglected and vulnerable segments of society.’
Perhaps the most significant of these new developments is the announcement of the opening of a Centre for Social Impact and Philanthropy (CSIP) at Ashoka University in India. Like the Centre for the Study of Philanthropy and Public Good at St Andrews, CSIP will undertake both theoretical and applied research and will convene conferences and workshops to bring together not only philanthropists and social entrepreneurs, but government representatives too. It will also stress learning through experience, offering structured one-year fellowships, coursework and immersion programmes. Coming as it does on the heels of the establishment last year of a Chair in African Philanthropy at the Business School of Wits University in South Africa, it suggests that the interest in the study of, and critical thinking about, philanthropy is beginning to receive global attention.
For more information