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Female philanthropy in C19th Britain was the taproot for women's emancipation

"Philanthropists as Change-makers: Past & Present" seminar

Historian and author Frank Prochaska spoke about the role of women in philanthropy and social change during an ESRC Festival of Social Science seminar "Philanthropists as Change-makers: Past & Present" organised by the Cass Centre for Charity Effectiveness which took place on 4 November.

Professor Cathy Pharoah, Co-Director of the Cass Centre for Charitable Giving and Philanthropy made predictions for the future of philanthropy in the UK, including more public scrutiny, but also observing that the David of philanthropy could never tackle the Goliath of social and housing need, and that in an age of austerity, social change philanthropy would increasingly focus on how things were done, rather than its total amount.

Contributions to the debate were made by many participants, including: Professor Ram Cnaan of the University of Pennsylvania's School of Social Policy and Practice, who pointed to the significance in the US of the Giving Pledge, now made by over 100 billionaires led by Bill Gates; Professor Femina Handy, also from the Penn School of Policy and Practice, and Editor in Chief of the Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, who spoke about the relationship between volunteering and philanthropy; and Sue Daniels, Executive Director of Philanthropy Impact, a national charity promoting philanthropy in the UK, who spoke about the empowering effect of unrestricted giving in international community development.

Panel speakers also included Dr Cathy Ross, curator of the exhibition " Philanthropy: The City Story" and Nick Acland, Director of The Henry Smith Charity, one of the UK's largest independent grant-making trusts, which was founded in the 1620s. The seminar was devised and moderated by Robert Dufton, Senior Fellow at the Centre for Charity Effectiveness.

The seminar was financially supported by the Economic and Social Research Council and by City Philanthropy - A Wealth of Opportunity, an initiative funded by the City of London Corporation's charity City Bridge Trust. 

The seminar took place at The Charterhouse, as part of the programme of special events which accompanies the "Philanthropy: The City Story" exhibition. The exhibition is open until 30 November 2013.

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