Archive for the ‘Philanthropists’ Category

Why Sack the Sacklers

A  frenzy is taking place around the Sackler Trust and the belief that the trust’s funds arise from the abusive sale of the habit forming drug OxyContin. This drug has been sold for years by the Sackler family’s company Purdue Pharma. There are several high profile legal cases in America blaming the company for high levels of addiction. Should this affect the charity?

Previous Sackler Donations (examples)

  • The V&A the Sackler Courtyard,
  • The National Theater the Sackler Pavilion
  • The Royal Academy of Arts  the Sackler Galleries
  • The National Gallery the Sackler Room
  • Oxford University the Sackler Library
  • Sadler’s Wells’ Sackler meeting room
  • The Globe Sackler education studios
  • Alexandra Palace a new creative learning zone

Now the National Portrait Gallery, The Prince’s Trust and the Tate have decided not to accept or seek donations from the trust.


  • Is this just virtue signalling that has little consequence for the addiction problems. Is this a media storm in a tea cup stirred by ‘squeamish’ trustees.
  • It is interesting that so much of the support has been given to  ‘state art’ organisations. Who will fill the funding void.
  • The OxyContin drug  continues to have significant medical benefits when  correctly prescribed and administered.
  • The trustees of the Sackler Trust UK Charity no. 1132097 say they ‘have taken the difficult decision to temporarily pause all new philanthropic giving, while still honouring existing commitments.’

Charitable Donations on Death

The fatal plane crash that killed the Compass tycoon Richard Cousins highlights a need for sensible provisions in last will and testaments. Oxfam are set to benefit from a ‘common tragedy clause’ in Mr Cousins will that left the residue of the estate, worth £41m, in the unlikely event that he and his two sons were killed in the same event.

A more standard clause, one I use, nominates a charity to receive the residue of an estate if no living relatives or dependent claimants can be found.

An out right bequest of a fixed or sometimes variable sum is more common.  Oxfam alone received £20m in gifts through wills last year and after recent PR disasters will be grateful for all contributions.

HM Revenue and Customs allow ‘people who inherited a deceased’s household and personal goods but wish to donate some or all of them to a UK charity to deduct a charity exemption against the value of the estate.

Any property forming part of the deceased’s estate which passes on death to charity is exempt from Inheritance Tax (IHT). Gifts to certain national bodies, such as museums and art galleries or political parties also qualify for a similar exemption.

A deed of variation is a document designed to redirect inheritance in someone’s will and can be used to benefit charities and may reduce IHT.

Large estates and national treasures have been accepted by HMRC in payment or part payment of IHT.

Ocean Keeps It’s Feet Super-Dry

Donating shares to Charities can be an effective and economic means of providing support as the founder of Superdry discovered. Julian Dunkerton co-founder of  Superdry is to gift £1.2m of shares to The Blue Marine Foundation as he steps down from the company  he founded. Superdry is currently worth £1.75bn and he is reputed to own 25%.

Blue Marine Foundation

This ‘Blue Belt’ ocean supporting charity reports  the UK is the ‘fifth largest marine estate in the world and can play a leading role in protecting the oceans. Its overseas territories are spread across the world’s oceans and contain 94% of Britain’s biodiversity’.

The Blue Belt includes  British Overseas Territories of Ascension Island, British Antarctic Territory, British Indian Ocean Territory, Pitcairn Islands, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, Saint Helena and Tristan da Cunha. The aim is the creation of globally significant marine reserves in British waters. #BackTheBlueBelt.

Donating Shares

  • Many charities actively encourage the donation of quoted company shares. Even small numbers of shares are useful as they can be aggregated and sold as a ‘lot’.
  • You don’t have to pay Capital Gains Tax on shares you give to charity and can claim income tax relief on your self assessment form.
  • Shares donated in your will can be taken off the value of your estate before Inheritance Tax is calculated or reduce your Inheritance Tax rate, if more than 10% of your estate is left to charity.
  • As well as being philanthropic donated shares like those of Julian Dunkerton can boost a charities reserves or be used for projects.

Charitable Persimmon? Charitable Chief Executive?

Persimmon January 2018 COMMUNITY CHAMPIONS

Persimmon Community Champions is a national programme by the housebuilding company where charities and groups can apply for funding up to the value of £1,000 to match money they have already raised themselves. Groups and charities can apply every month for a donation.

Persimmon Community Champions  is there to fund good causes and 61 UK charities and community groups received total amount of £59,210  from Persimmon in January 2018.

‘Each of Persimmon’s 29 businesses and the PLC head office are giving away up to £2000 each every month that’s a whopping £60,000 a month available to fund local community initiatives’ according to there web site’. (Who defines whopping? not the chief executive!)

Long Term Incentive Plan (Management Bung)

The Persimmon plc Chief Executive, Jeff Fairburn, has just been awarded a bonus in excess of  £100,000,000. Senior managers claim to be entitled to a further £500,000,000. That is taking entitlement to extremes and has stoked the ire of many.

“Jeff Fairburn considers his plans for any charitable giving to be a private matter and will not comment ”. However the story may not end there as a private charitable trust ( yet to be set up) may be used as a maneuver to avoid  HMRC  tax collectors who are looking to collect income tax and capital gains tax.

Would this potential private charitable trust be independent anf charitable (in Fairburn should we trust). For a better example, why not give 90% or more of the £600 million to an established charity working for the homeless. At least there would be some poetic justice.

Trusts fit for the Queen

THE QUEEN’S TRUST 272373 – originally The Queen’s Silver Jubilee Appeal provides grants to charities associated with enabling young people to help others in direct and practical ways.
After spending over £100 million since inception they are now ‘spending out the remaining funds and will close to new applications by 2019.’
THE QUEEN ELIZABETH DIAMOND JUBILEE TRUST 1145640 –  Spending around £12m per annum with £48m in hand as part of ‘a mission to leave a lasting legacy, owned by the whole Commonwealth, in honour of Her Majesty The Queen….. to eliminate avoidable blindness and empower a new generation of young leaders.’ Hence £6m, half of the annual sum is spent with Sightsavers.

THE QUEEN’S COMMONWEALTH TRUST 1172107 was formed in 2016 and registered as a charity in 2017. Based on ‘The Queen’s belief in young people as a force for good. This new charity claims to be focusing on sport, education, health and environment. The Trust’s ambition is to enable young people to build a better future for all.   ‘This new venture may also be a precursor to the inevitable vacuum and fund raising opportunity when the Queen dies.

The Royal Commonwealth Society was founded in 1868 and received its Royal Charter in 1882 as the Colonial Institute aka The Royal Colonial Institute later to become The Royal Empire Society and ultimately The Royal Commonwealth Society. During 150 years of operation it has demonstrated it can adapt to the times.
Income and assets are around the half million pound mark available for youth based activities including annual multi-faith observance on commonwealth day, commonwealth essay competition  and a youth leadership programme.


  • Fragmented organisation can be costly, lack focus and create duplication and potential division.
  • Large reserves, cash balances and investments are costly to service and administer. At the same time charitable benefits are delayed or denied.