Centre for Philanthropy, University of Kent

Encouraging greater engagement with philanthropy

Many funders prefer to pay for something tangible, like a building, so we are delighted and grateful that Pears Foundation has decided to fund a lecturing post. We are confident this investment will have a positive impact beyond those who choose to study with us, but also on all those lives affected in the careers of students who go on, or go back, to leading positions in the charity and philanthropy sector.
Dr Beth Breeze OBE, Director,
Centre for Philanthropy
We have been involved with Kent’s Centre for Philanthropy for a decade and are delighted to provide core funding so that they can continue to thrive and do valuable research and teaching that has a real impact on building a more generous and kinder society.
Sir Trevor Pears CMG

Partner since: 2012

Funding invested: £560,000

  • Core: Unrestricted funding
  • Project: Teaching fellowship; Research

Whether we are conscious of it or not, philanthropy permeates all our lives and shapes the world around us and yet it has only recently been seen as a subject for academic study. We have worked with the University of Kent to help build the field and increase understanding of the role that philanthropy plays in society.

Established in 2008 and led by Dr Beth Breeze OBE, The Centre for Philanthropy at the University of Kent has become a leading centre of philanthropy research, teaching and public engagement. Working in close partnership with the charitable sector, the Centre conducts research on a range of topics including fundraising, major donors, giving across the life course, corporate philanthropy and the relationship between philanthropy and social justice.

Along with Pears Foundation’s other higher education partnerships, one of the Centre’s aims is to strengthen the links between academic study and practitioners in the field. The Centre educates students who wish to pursue a career in the charitable sector or related fields, practitioners already working in the sector and individual philanthropists who wish to gain a better understanding of the role of philanthropy and improve the effectiveness of their giving.

In 2016 we supported the Centre to create the UK’s first dedicated university teaching post in the field of philanthropy and in 2021 we became the Centre’s first core funder with a five-year grant of £210,000.

Our funding has supported the launch of a Master’s degree in Philanthropic Studies, funded the publication of a book on ‘Why Rich People Give’, and helped launch a free online course in ‘How to Fundraise’. Together these initiatives have helped improve the understanding and practice of philanthropy and fundraising, reaching practitioners and students in over 100 countries.

Our core funding will enable the Centre to further develop its research and public engagement activities around the role and purpose of philanthropy in modern societies and to achieve its overall goal of building a more generous society.