Book urges trusts to instigate more debates on society

Charitable trusts and foundations need to be instigators of key debates on the future of British society, a new book has claimed.

From Charity to Creativity: Philanthropic Foundations in the 21st Century by Helmut Anheier and Diana Leat of the London School of Economic's Centre for Civil Society argues that foundations in the UK "are not as innovative as they claim to be" and need to do more to justify the tax advantages they enjoy.

"Trusts are free agents," said Leat. "They are the only institutions in modern society that have freedom from constituents and potential sources of income to challenge conventional wisdom."

But in many cases they are following the same policies they have been for decades and "coming perilously close to the what the state used to do".

They need to spend more time out of their offices, argued Leat.

Boards also need to be reformed so that trusts are more representative of modern society.

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