Perceptions of philanthropy

ERNOP Science and Society Seminar: Media perceptions of philanthropy

By Dr Beth Breeze from the Centre for Philanthropy at the University of Kent

Discussant: Delphine Moralis, Chief Executive at the European Foundation Centre (EFC)

December 14, 2021, 10.00-11.00 AM (CET)

About this seminar

In this seminar we will focus on the context of media coverage of philanthropy and philanthropists, as part of the recent emergence of critiques of ‘big giving’. The manner in which private giving and nonprofit activity are depicted and discussed helps to shape how philanthropy is viewed, influencing public attitudes as well as the perception of policymakers and those within the philanthropy sector. The seminar will be based on findings from over 15 years of study by Dr Breeze, exploring media representations of philanthropy and philanthropists, to contribute to important ongoing debates about the role and reputation of philanthropy in contemporary society.

Media coverage matters because it validates and affirms wider conceptions that are held in society. By drawing attention to the ways in which media representations can depict private giving as, at best, unusual and, at worse, intrinsically problematic, we can better understand why critiques of philanthropists are growing and are being well-received, despite awareness as we emerge from the global pandemic, of the need for more and more effective giving.

As we all live in a mediated society, this seminar will be of interest to all involved in the philanthropy sector.

About the Centre for Philanthropy at the University of Kent

We are one of the UK’s leading centres for philanthropy research, teaching and public engagement. We conduct robust and relevant research in partnership with charity sector partners on a range of topics, including fundraising, major donors, giving circles, giving across the life course, corporate philanthropy, and philanthropy’s relationship with social justice. This research informs our teaching, in which we use innovative methods to engage with both undergraduate and postgraduate students, many of whom work in the charity sector or have ambitions to do so. Our expertise makes us a regular source of comment and analysis for the media in Britain and beyond, and we are always keen to explore new opportunities to share our work with diverse audiences.

We also regularly speak to local, national and international charities to explore ways in which our research can inform their work and in turn how their experience can guide our future research.

About Dr Beth Breeze

Beth Breeze is Director of the Centre for Philanthropy, which she co-founded in 2008. Beth began her career as a fundraiser for a youth homelessness charity, and spent a decade working in a variety of fundraising, research and charity management roles, including as deputy director at the Institute for Philanthropy. Motivated by the lack of substantive research underpinning practice, Beth completed a PhD on contemporary philanthropy at Kent in 2011, and has been working on this topic ever since.

Beth has written, co-authored and co-edited four books: Richer Lives: Why Rich People Give (2013) with Theresa Lloyd; The Logic of Charity: Great Expectations in Hard Times (2015), with John Mohan; The Philanthropy Reader (2016), with Michael Moody,  and The New Fundraisers: who organises charitable giving in contemporary society? (2017) which won the AFP Skystone Research Partners book prize. Her next book, In Defence of Philanthropy will be published later in 2021. She has also written a wide range of research reports including ten editions of the annual ‘Coutts Million Pound Donors Report’.

Beth’s research interests focus on philanthropy, fundraising, charitable giving and the charity sector.

More information about the Centre for Philanthropy can be found here.

About Delphine Moralis

Delphine Moralis is Chief Executive of the European Foundation Centre, a leading platform for philanthropy in Europe. The EFC is a dynamic membership organisation of strategically-minded philanthropic organisations from more than 30 countries that works to strengthen the sector and make the case for institutional philanthropy as a formidable means of effecting change.

Prior to joining the EFC, Delphine was Secretary General of Terre des Hommes International Federation, a network of nine organisations working in 71 countries for the rights of children and to promote equitable development without racial, religious, political, cultural or gender-based discrimination. Before Terre des Hommes, Delphine was Secretary General of Missing Children Europe, an organisation that brings together 31 NGOs from 27 countries and provides the link between research, policies and organisations on the ground to protect children from any kind of violence, abuse or neglect that is caused by or results from them going missing. In this capacity, she led the establishment of the network of hotlines for missing children operated in all EU Member States, the Europol-led ‘European Financial Coalition for Missing and Sexually Exploited Children’ and the Network of Cross-Border Family Mediators. She has championed various advocacy and awareness campaigns and (co-)authored publications on the protection of missing children.

Delphine has also held positions in advocacy and public affairs at Child Focus, the European Youth Forum and Cable Europe. She has a Master’s degree in Philosophy and an Advanced Master’s Degree in European Studies.

About the European Foundation Centre

As a leading platform for philanthropy in Europe, the EFC works to strengthen the sector and make the case for institutional philanthropy as a formidable means of effecting change.

We believe institutional philanthropy has a unique, crucial and timely role to play in meeting the critical challenges societies face. More people and causes benefit from institutional philanthropy than ever before, from eradicating deadly diseases and making the world’s populations healthier to combating climate change and fighting for global human rights and equality.

Working closely with our members, a dynamic network of strategically-minded philanthropic organisations from more than 30 countries, we:

Foster peer-learning by surfacing the expertise and experience embedded in the sector

  • Enhance collaboration by connecting people for inspiration and joint action
  • Represent philanthropy for favourable policy and regulatory environments
  • Build a solid evidence base through knowledge and intelligence
  • Raise the visibility of philanthropy’s value and impact