Apr 9, 2019
In episode 47 we talk to Paul Ramsbottom, CEO of the Wolfson
Foundation, about foundations and endowed philanthropy.
- What is the core role of philanthropy within society which
differentiates it from either state or market provision?
- What is the particular role of foundations/endowed philanthropy
in that mix?
- Is the ability to take a long-term view that comes with
endowment better than the sense of urgency that comes with taking a
spend-down approach, or are they just different? If there is room
for both approaches, what criteria might determine the choice of
- Do foundations need to be more transparent? If so, why and
about what? Who does it benefit (the foundations themselves, their
donors, grantees, taxpayers etc)
- Are there arguments against transparency?
- What tensions or power dynamics can there be when a foundation
has been established by an individual or single family (and they
are still involved), between those founders and the staff of the
- Does the way in which money has been made present obstacles in
terms of doing good through giving it away? Does this only apply to
money made in ways that are universally agreed to be “bad” (e.g.
slavery), or more broadly to ways of making wealth that are legal
but which many criticise for their social or environmental
- What should we make of the growing focus on place-based
approaches to funding?
- What value does a historical perspective bring?
- What do you make of the current wave of criticisms of
philanthropy coming from the US? Do these resonate in the UK
context? Which do you feel is most acute or difficult to