As the City of London starts to boom once more and bonus pools are growing, I believe corporate giving needs to re-focus in a more intelligent way to benefit the communities that make up the UK's cities - and elevate bankers and business people as mentors within city communities, rather than exacerbating the view that they are a breed apart. According to a report by NPC last week, the top five concerns people have about charities are that they spend too much on executive pay (42%), are not transparent enough about their spending (36%) and spend too much abroad (29%), put pressure on people to donate (29%), and spend too much on running costs (26%). Only half of people (47%) say they pay attention to evidence that an organisation is having an impact when making a donation (MIND THE GAP: WHAT THE PUBLIC THINKS ABOUT CHARITIES, March 2014)
As a successful founder of a wealth management firm, I believe the City is too disassociated from inner city communities, with young people in inner city estates highly unlikely to ever see business leaders and bankers as role models - yet I believe they have a responsibility to inspire from within the business community by mentoring more urban youngsters, creating and funding community schemes and by businesses retaining and involvement in them (through people and branding) to create and open connections between the commercial world and the communities who live in inner cities. But this has to be beyond programmes that last for 6 weeks or 6 months but never lead to employment. To open a door and build up hopes and aspirations that are then dashed is nothing short of cruel. It has to be about job opportunities and a sense of mutual reliance and respect leading to more cohesive city relationships and a closing of the emotional and social gulf between poorer inner city communities and wealthy business.
To help this process I have organised Hope Springs, a charity concert at the Cadogan Hall on Tuesday 18 March 2014 at 7.30pm which will provide a showcase of young talent from the streets, alongside established artists such as X Factor Finalist and MOBO award nominee for best newcomer Misha B, and musical savant Derek Paravicini, and enable them to showcase their talents as well as express the issues they face.
I believe that the UK has to end its 'urban tribalism' and encourage rich and poorer, communities and business to co-exist more harmoniously and to support and champion one another. We need to embrace conscious capitalism with businesses taking a more active role in communities through smarter giving of time, skills and mentoring.