This article was provided by Nancy Bikson, Managing Director at Chapel & York, to the Beacon Gainer private client advisory services group.
‘Charity begins at home’, the English proverb first used in 1382, has found new meaning in Covid times – ‘Charity begins from home’.
In my Sussex village, seamstresses, cooks, gardeners, volunteers, pub and restaurant owners, have changed the way they work to engage in acts of charity for community benefit, from their homes, as people around the country, and around the world, are doing. Lockdown in person it might be, but it is not in spirit.
The determined figure of 99-year old Captain Tom Moore doing 100 lengths of his home garden in Marston Moretaine, Beds, is one heart-warming and extraordinary example of this, as is the response from the millions of donors who responded giving £33 m for the NHS.
The essence of philanthropy is the courage to do, to ask, and to believe, in the generosity of people. COVID has brought that out. People and organisations at every level in the UK have responded to this crisis to plug gaps, take personal and organisational risk, to offer solutions.
Leadership in such times is of the essence. Chapel & York created its Emergency Foundation Membership scheme to support international charities to reconnect and reach out for help from their communities living ‘across borders’, providing a free membership window until June 30.
Some examples of ‘beyond border’ charities engaging with UK donors through our Emergency Memberships programme are the University of Free State and the Society for Animals in Distress (SAID) in South Africa, New Zealand’s Te Papa Foundation, and La Trobe University, and St Aloysius College in Australia.
Organisations worldwide are doing amazing things to keep going. UFS Vice Chancellor Petersen says “We sifted carefully through the many demands on resources straitened by lockdown and agreed that some 3000 students who, without physical access to classrooms and libraries and lecturers, would be deprived of their studies during this time. My leadership team has created a Digital Devices and Data Fund, negotiated excellent deals for hard and software provision, and donated part of our annual salaries to it.
UK donors rank fourth in the world for the support of animal charities. “We here at The Society of Animals in distress are beyond delighted to access support in the UK and worldwide” says Karin Demir of SAID which has struggled to ensure that people remember that post-Covid-19 there still needs to be a world of animals, arts & culture and non-health related things to engage in..
Anne Frank articulated the power of positivity and the human spirit to transcend walls when confronted by the need to lock down for personal safety. “I believe in the sun” she said “even when it rains”
Philanthropy and the will to give and make a difference enables one to make a difference anywhere in the world from the safety of one’s home.
As we emerge from lockdown much of the world looks the same, perhaps with rather more roses as it is June. The profound changes have yet to become obvious and entrenched. But the desire to help others is one change which, with any luck, will never change.