I’m the Executive Editor of Alliance magazine, a leading nonprofit publication and critical friend to philanthropy worldwide, where I co-lead a team recognised by peers for its exceptional coverage of philanthropy. We hold a mirror to the field by providing space for news, views and interviews while debating key issues, trends and developments.
My career in philanthropy started in 2003 working for British philanthropist, Sir Trevor Pears, and serving as the inaugural executive director of the Pears Foundation. During my decade long tenure, the Pears Foundation became known for its commitment to good philanthropic practice and a reflective approach rooted in trusting relationships with partners – something which continues to this day. My role involved supporting the Pears family in the development of its philanthropic vision and leading on its major grants and partnerships. I was known for pioneering a strategic approach to philanthropy combined with a sense of purpose and willingness to take risks especially in relation to our work in Israel-Palestine. During frequent visits, I sought to open space for fellow Jews to meet Palestinians, learn more about their own realities, histories and experiences and act differently as a result. I also played an integral role in establishing the UK Task Force on Arab Citizens of Israel, the Pears Institute for the Study of Antisemitism (now Birkbeck Institute for the Study of Antisemitism) and university based programmes on Israel Studies.
Other notable experiences included a sabbatical at Stanford University’s Centre on Philanthropy and Civil Society teaching about philanthropy and guiding students in making rational and purposeful decisions to distribute $100,000 to charitable causes. During this time, I also published a detailed study of philanthropy education in Europe which was credited with contributing to a rising tide of academic interest in philanthropy and a stimulus to further teaching and research – a topic covered further in a 2017 special feature in Alliance.
Together with my partner, Dr Rebecca Steinfeld, and the wider Equal Civil Partnerships community, I led the campaign to extend civil partnerships to different sex couples. Our victory at the UK Supreme Court in 2018 paved the way for the British Prime Minister to announce that the choice of a civil partnership – a modern, equal and feminist alternative to marriage – would be made available to all couples. Rebecca and I formed our own civil partnership at Kensington and Chelsea Register Office – the place which had originally rejected our application – on 31st December 2019.
I tweet @charleskeidan