Philanthropy: The City Story explores the City’s long tradition of philanthropic giving through stories past and present, from 14th Century Lord Mayor Dick Whittington, to new giving groups pioneered by today’s young City workers.
It originally opened on 30thOctober at the Charterhouse – a hidden medieval gem in the heart of the capital and is curated by the Museum of London. The exhibition is supported by the City of London Corporation’s charity, City Bridge Trust as part of the City Philanthropy – A Wealth of Opportunity initiative whose ambition is to foster a culture of philanthropy in the City.
The exhibition marked the first time the public will have full open access to this 14th Century monastery – now an almshouse and hospital – whose beginnings are rooted in City philanthropy. It has since been on display at the Guildhall Library.
It celebrates the City as a philanthropic hotspot through the ages and highlights how philanthropy in the capital has been a huge catalyst for positive change in communities at home and abroad. From the first public flushing toilets in Dick Whittington’s day to helping map the human genome, philanthropy has always broken new ground.
By demystifying philanthropy the exhibition hopes to inspire a new generation of philanthropists. The City Bridge Trust through its initiative City Philanthropy - A Wealth of Opportunity wants to encourage young people who care so passionately about today’s social issues to feel empowered to change them for the better, through the giving of time, money and skills. Philanthropy is not for just for the wealthy, or for those who have retired. Philanthropy is a reciprocal part of a person’s career. This initiative aims to support the growing culture of philanthropy in the City and position London as a leading global centre of philanthropic giving.
Philanthropy has evolved through the ages but remains a personal expression of values, attitudes, beliefs and demonstrates a deep connection with a cause.
Everyone can be a philanthropist; it is not just for the wealthy or for the retired. City Philanthropy defines philanthropy as building a personal relationship with a good cause through the giving of money, assets, time or talent to charitable organisations. Philanthropy is not about how much you give, but how you give. People can become involved in philanthropy for as little as £2 – a daily cup of coffee.
We are seeing a lot of philanthropic activity in the City, particularly among a new generation of philanthropists through new funding groups like The City Funding Network, The Bread Tin and Young Philanthropy which bring together young people to give together in a smart and tax effective way. They are helping to make London not just the global centre for finance, but an epicentre for effective philanthropy that has real impact.
A fully-illustrated book, available from the Museum of London bookshop for £15, accompanies the exhibition and offers a history of City philanthropy from medieval to modern times.