Big Giver: Young Philanthropy

Co-founder Adam Pike tells Jenna Pudelek that the social enterprise allows young professionals to pool their wealth

Adam Pike
Adam Pike

Young Philanthropy was set up to empower a new generation of philanthropists to take a leading role in transforming society by investing their time, money and skills in charities and social enterprises.

The founders, Adam Pike and Michael Harris, were recent graduates who had just started working in the City when they founded the social enterprise in 2011, inspired by the Giving Pledge made by the billionaires Bill Gates and Warren Buffet in 2010 to give away most of their wealth to good causes.

The purpose of the charity is to complement the corporate and social responsibility strategies of major employers by setting up workplace-based syndicates. The charity allows young professionals to pool their wealth and invest in niche charity projects, Pike says.

Members of syndicates give time and money to specific charity projects, taking advantage of matched funding and mentoring support from an experienced philanthropist or senior leader in the same organisation.

There are currently 20 syndicates at eight of the top graduate employers, including Deloitte, KPMG, PwC and the Civil Service. Each syndicate will invest more than £150,000 over the next year and give about £8,000 to its chosen project. For example, the Cabinet Office syndicate is helping to fund support workers for Eaves, a charity that supports women who have experienced violence. And Deloitte's syndicate is investing in Catch22 to offer one-to-one mentoring, funding and employability workshops for young people.

Pike says the aim is for about five members of each original syndicate to found another after 12 months. The founders have ambitious plans to set up 114 syndicates across 20 companies to invest £684,000 by 2015. "In the short term, the financial benefit is good, but in the long term it should be enormous," Pike says. "These people will be the top 1 per cent of earners in the future."

Charities and social enterprises can get involved with the initiative by taking part in workshops. The next event takes place on 18 October and charities can register through Young Philanthropy's website.

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