Micro-trust plan for rich donors

CLAIRE SAMES

A charity set up to encourage wealthy donors to give to good causes is looking to form similar organisations across the UK.

Trusts in Partnership, which aims to educate people on the social responsibility of wealth, will launch The London Partnership this summer.

The London Partnership, an educational charity, will encourage young, high earning donors to form "giving circles", known as micro-trusts. Collaborators will pool their funds and decide where they want their donations to go.

Peter West, founder of Trusts in Partnership and executive consultant to The London Partnership, said: "It's a concept that you can pick up and put down anywhere in the world. It grows by word of mouth and personal introduction. We plan to have hundreds of micro-trusts in all the major cities in the UK."

West has received enquiries from Sydney and Budapest about starting up micro-trust networks in both cities. In London alone, he aims to set up 300 such groups.

There are already 70 members on board, mainly young city traders and businessmen. Each giver can decide which group they would like to join and are usually persuaded by colleagues or the type of recipient the micro-trust is supporting.

Each group consists of around five people, headed by a micro-trust co-ordinator, and will focus on a particular charitable cause.

Each social investor must donate a minimum of £2,500 and each micro-trust has a target in the region of £40,000, although the members will determine the final figure if it goes beyond that.

The London Partnership plans to provide a two-year training programme, taking the social investor through the process of making grants, who to give to, how much to give and how to make a donation. It will also educate donors on the benefits of philanthropy, how to create partnerships with the not-for-profit sector, effective internet models and sustainable funding strategies.

"We're not fundraisers, we're there to educate the donor and encourage them to give and it helps if these young wealthy people meet people in similar situations to them,

said West.

Colin Molyneux, director of Frame Investment and chairman of the London Partnership, said: "Peter is a conceiver of these ideas. We're then taking them and turning them into business models. The central theme we're following is very much established in the US. He may get the financial support of the Giving Campaign for taking the concept outside of London, but it's very much at an embryonic stage."

The Giving Campaign could not confirm this, but communications director Peter Gilheney, said: "We support any initiative that is working towards increasing the amount of charitable giving in the UK."

The London Partnership started off by promoting philanthropy to high-net worth individuals by creating a series of introductions between established and new donors.

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