Rebecca Eastmond gave a talk at the open weekly Goldsmiths Social Entrepreneurship Society Social Innovation Speaker series on the workings of effective philanthropy and donations.
As the managing Director of the Philanthropy Centre at JP Morgan works with a clientele of what can be described as the “super-wealthy.” And according to her they are incredible decent people.
It must be said that the 10 per cent of JP Morgan’s clientele whom Eastmond works with have come of their own volition, the centre works as an opt-in system. But as she recalls when she started in the philanthropy area, out of a 300 person survey 80 of their clients reported back with interest in not only donating, but donating more than they were already doing. On the condition though, that they wanted to make certain their donations were spent wisely.
This is in essence what the centre is all about; finding projects the clients feel give something back into the world, which leaves a legacy. Something Eastmond have long experience with, having managed a grant carried over from her previous work in the legal field where she spent evenings on human rights cases after working as a city lawyer during office hours.
She stresses that one of the criteria for a successful project is one which is rewarding for everyone involved. One of the earliest projects of this type she was involved with was with Prince Charles. He had noticed that there were schools in the UK without any access to art for its students at all.
Together they raised funding to create a small team who sent artists from around the country to these schools to not only teach, but also get the staff at the school in touch with local artists to build a network which could continue after the project finished.
As she says: “Many people don’t realise that Prince Charles has been a social entrepreneur long before the term was invented. He would travel around the country, talk to the people, spot gaps and try to fix them.”
Three stories that have particularly impacted her have been examples of this kind of synergy of different groups or types of people.
One was an Italian addiction centre where the patients would help produce wine. So successfully they capped the profit of the wine branch of the centre to 40 per sent to ensure the focus would stay on the treatment of the patients. Patients who would first be declared cured after they could enjoy one and only one glass of their own wine with dinner.
In Greece she worked with a group of the elderly who survived a failing social safety net by skill sharing within their community. Former handymen traded homemade meals and similar. This idea has now been exported by Participle to other countries where the elderly are in risk of being left alone or without care.
And after bringing teams of domestic violence shelter workers together from around Europe a network of prices for best practise was set up. A system for sharing the best ideas and methods from otherwise often isolated organisations for the benefit of every member and patient.
Eastmond ended her talk about the giving sector on an optimistic note for the social entrepreneurship audience. According to her, a huge shift of resources, $41 trillion in the US alone, will increasingly move from the baby boomer generation to the millennials. In the sector this generation is referred to as the “Harry Potter kids”, she says, as they have “a bank vault of gold waiting for them to fight Voldemort with.”