The Centre for Philanthropy at the University of Kent

Two new books have been published by colleagues in the Centre for Philanthropy at the University of Kent, UK. Both are written by academics with extensive practical experience and are intended as useful additions to course reading lists across the world.

As the title suggests, Rhodri Davies’ book, What is Philanthropy For? provides a broad overview of the role of philanthropy today. He notes that for centuries philanthropy has played a major role in shaping our world but it has also been the source of much debate. Allowing people to use their private assets for public good undoubtedly brings benefits to society, but it also brings challenges, so how should we understand the role of philanthropy today, and how might it need to change in the future? Rhodri draws on his deep knowledge of the past and present landscape of philanthropy, and considers the alternatives, including charity, justice, taxation, the state, democracy and the market, to examine the pressing questions that philanthropy must tackle if it is to be equal to the challenges of the 21st century.

The second new book from the team at Kent, Advising Philanthropists: Principles and Practice, has grown directly from a course of the same name that is taught within our innovative Masters degree in Philanthropic Studies. That course was co-created by Emma Beeston, who works as an independent philanthropy advisor, and Dr Beth Breeze, director of the Kent Centre for Philanthropy. The book describes the emergence of philanthropy advising as a profession, explains what these actors do based on interviews with 40 advisors working across the world (many of which are shared as first person case studies), and engages with debates such as how best advisors can interact with fundraisers and nonprofit leaders.