HTSI editor’s letter: How to give it? Melinda and co show us how
Roula Khalaf, Editor of the FT, selects her favourite stories in this weekly newsletter.
War, recession, displacement, oppression… this year, the call to support those in need is particularly pressing. And in this, our third issue of How To Give It, we offer myriad ways in which to do it.
Melinda French Gates has already distributed more than $65.6bn in grants through the Gates Foundation to various different causes. Now, Beatrice Hodgkin interviews French Gates as she sets out her vision for an evolved model of collaborative philanthropy. The reasons for giving as a group are manifold, she argues; as well as minimising the risk, group funds work more efficiently and enjoy a better administrative infrastructure. The argument is persuasive enough that she has already helped convince high-profile names such as MacKenzie Scott and Tsitsi Masiyiwa to move toward group giving. It echoes the old girl-guide mantra: that things worth doing are invariably done better together.
Of course, there are others who, when they give, are more concerned by how such donations reflect their personal ambitions. Libbie Scher Mugrabi’s latest charitable effort was kickstarted after a bitter divorce, as part of a three-point plan to get her life back together. When a friend told her to “go on the boards of museums, like the Tate or the V&A; start a lucrative business; and start a foundation”, she put his advice into action. Now benefactor of the V&A’s ongoing Fashion in Motion programme, Mugrabi’s bold, couture-clad approach to “good works” might be considered a tad unsubtle, but her punk philanthropy recalls the great personalities of yesteryear – they helped as they pleased, and spent their money any way they chose.
We’ve also got a host of other people showing us how to give it. Lily Cole, inspired by her mentor, the conservationist John Burton, is planning to sell her flat, buy land and then return it to nature via rewilding. Bjarke Ingels, Ma Yansong and Ricardo Bofill Jr offer their solutions for the crisis in affordable housing. Christina Adane describes her fight against child hunger and food poverty in the UK, while our drinks writer Alice Lascelles gives blood – a wonderfully easy act of altruism that takes only a few minutes.
I should also alert you to the FT’s own charity, our Financial Literacy and Inclusion Campaign (FT FLIC) to make financial education accessible to those who need it most: young people, women and marginalised groups, ranging from migrants to the elderly.
The charity is now the focus of a Christmas fundraiser for which we are holding a festive auction. Yes, dear readers, it befalls me to ask you to consider bidding to have lunch with myself or another FT journalist. Also on the menu are the FT’s editor Roula Khalaf; Gillian Tett, chair of the editorial board; Dan McCrum, who exposed the Wirecard scandal; Stephen Bush, associate editor and columnist; markets editor Katie Martin; Chris Giles, the economics editor; FT Alphaville editor Robin Wigglesworth; and Gideon Rachman, the FT’s chief foreign affairs commentator.
Obviously, as cherished HTSI readers, I hope you will blow all other offers off the table. All proceeds will go to FT FLIC, as the meals for two are being donated by the participating restaurants (go to ft.com/appeal). And if you prefer to make a donation that doesn’t require you have lunch with a hack (and, to be honest, I wouldn’t blame you) you can still donate any amount of money to support our noble mission. Read more about it at ftflic.com.
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