Giving circles’ and networks improved my philanthropy

Date: 11 May 2016


Rachel English, twenty-six, is a trustee of her families ‘English Family Foundation.’ She talks about contributing to positive change while continuing to preserve and grow capital.

What philanthropic projects do you support?

Through the English Family Foundation that we started in 2010 in Australia, we support the growth and development of social entrepreneurs and social businesses locally and in South East Asia. Our international giving often takes the form of microfinance loans that enable small businesses to grow, and domestically we support social businesses through grants and investment. Having a strategy that supports this type of business model which is social enterprise rather than pure charity means that the causes can vary a lot. We work on anything from poverty alleviation to LGBT advocacy to refugee and asylum seeker support.

Why is the millennial generation so interested in philanthropy?

I think my generation are more interested in doing good than previous generations have been because there are more ways to be involved than were previously available, such as investing in ethical businesses or through foundations.

What trends do you see in philanthropy?

Unlike our parents we don’t want to wait until we’re old and grey to give our money away and this is where organisations like The Funding Network (TFN) which crowdfund social change projects, are so important. I like being able to democratise philanthropy and engage a wider audience in giving while creating a community around me. It can be a bit of an isolating thing calling yourself a philanthropist in your twenties, so getting involved in giving circles and networks like Nexus which is a youth connection group to link investors and philanthropists, has really changed how I engage with philanthropy.

What is the difference between philanthropy in the UK and Australia?

The impact investing space appears to be more developed in the UK than in Australia and the government seems to be encouraging it, with social impact bonds. In my opinion, this is where philanthropy is moving and where it is engaging so many young people.

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