Author Archives: Charles Keidan

About Charles Keidan

I'm Executive Editor of Alliance magazine, recognised by peers for its exceptional coverage of global philanthropy. I'm an experienced professional having served as Director of the UK's Pears Foundation in the early part of my career before spending a sabbatical at Stanford University to teach about philanthropy, grant making and the nonprofit sector. I'm also known for successfully leading a high profile campaign with my partner to make the choice of a civil partnership available to different sex couples. Following two defeats in lower courts, the campaign succeeded in changing the law after the UK Supreme Court ruled (5-0) in our favour in June 2018. Today, I provide bespoke advice on philanthropy, foundations, media and campaigns, including redefining British Jews relationship to Israel-Palestine (a focal point of my work at Pears and ongoing concern). I have an MA in History from the University of Cambridge.

European Research Network on Philanthropy Conference

Last week, I had the pleasure of joining 140 participants from 29 countries at the European Research Network on Philanthropy (ERNOP) conference at ESSEC Business School in Cergy, Paris. I also presented my research on the provision of university-based philanthropy education in Europe.

The ERNOP conference was the largest gathering of philanthropy researchers to date, with almost double the number of attendees than the previous gathering in 2013. This year, the conference focused on ‘connecting the dots’ between different disciplinary perspectives and approaches. It also had a stronger practice orientation including a dedicated session on the challenges and opportunities for scholar-practitioner collaboration. The signs from this conference are that interest in philanthropy continues to grow and that the seeds of dialogue between academic and practice communities have been firmly planted.The full programme is here


Oxford Centre for the Study of Philanthropy

This week marked the inaugural seminar and launch of the Oxford Centre for the Study of Philanthropy at Green Templeton College, University of Oxford with a talk by Somerville College historian, Dr Frank Prochaska on British Philanthropy: Past and Present. The impact of philanthropy on public life and welfare – for good and ill – makes the study of philanthropy important and timely. I’m excited about working with academic colleagues and centres at Oxford and beyond to deepen understanding and critical thinking about this mercurial phenomenon. See more about the Centre’s work here.

Recent and forthcoming academic work on philanthropy

Below is a list of recent and forthcoming academic and public contributions on philanthropy and philanthropy-related subjects. I will endeavour to post reflections and highlights of some of the issues that arise from this work.

  • Facilitator on ‘Donor-Grantee Relations’, and faculty at the Philanthropy ‘Summer Academy’, Erasmus University, Rotterdam (3 September 2015)
  • Paper on ‘Philanthropy Education in Europe’ with Prof Cathy Pharoah (City University) and Dr Tobias Jung (St Andrews University), European Research Network on Philanthropy conference, ESSEC Business School, Paris ( 9-10 July 2015)
  • Participation and presenter on Scariest Trends in Philanthropy Webinar with Inside Philanthropy Editor, David Callahan, Philanthropy New York, (20 May 2015)
  • Paper on ‘Philanthropy Education in Europe’, Swedish Philanthropy Summit 2015, Swedish Entrepreneurship Forum (27 April 2015)
  • Participation and presentation at seminar on Philanthropy in Higher Education, University of Kent (10 April 2015)
  • Paper on Political Philosophy of Philanthropy for PG module Fundraising and Philanthropy, University of Kent (16 March 2015)
  • Review of case studies on major foundations for Gayle Peterson, Said Business School, University of Oxford (24 February 2015)
  • Participation in ‘Knowledge Exchange Workshop’ on Billionaires, Advanced Capitalism, Philanthropy and Democracy convened by Professor Zoltan Acs, LSE (20 February 2015)

Should we be afraid? Scary trends in philanthropy

At the end of last October, David Callahan, editor of the Inside Philanthropyblog, posted his list of five scary trends in US philanthropy. They ranged from philanthropy’s influence on on public policy to questions of power relations between donors and grantees. Alliance philanthropy magazine ran with this question asking whether these trends apply elsewhere. In the piece, I share some thoughts on what to expect in the UK

My Philanthropy Education

I’ve just published this piece in the London-based Jewish Quarterly. The piece reflects on my sabbatical experience teaching about philanthropy at Stanford University last year, makes some predictions about the development of philanthropy education in the UK and raises some of the ethical challenges facing Jewish philanthropy back home.

Philanthropy Education Webinar

In this European Foundation Centre webinar, I discuss the future of teaching about philanthropy in Europe. Also speaking is Michiel de Wilde, Director of the Centre for Strategic Philanthropy (ECSP) at Erasmus University, Rotterdam.

Alliance Philanthropy Magazine

Over the years, I’ve been privileged to write numerous pieces for Alliance Philanthropy magazine during my decade at the Pears Foundation and, more recently, whilst a Visiting Scholar at Stanford and Research Fellow at Cass Business School. Alliance have now very helpfully put all those writings (blogs, conference reports, letters and features) in one place. If only my own site was as well organised…

Why philanthropy merits scholarly attention

To mark the launch of my research on philanthropy education in Europe, I’ve written a feature piece for this week’s Times Higher Education. In it, I highlight the relative lack of current provision and call for more scholarship and teaching in this area. The full piece can be accessed here via the Times Higher Education website

New study: philanthropy education in Europe

My research on the emerging field of philanthropy education in Europe, written in collaboration with Prof Cathy Pharoah (City University/Cass) and Dr Tobias Jung (St Andrews University) has just been published and is accessible via this link

The research contains two main parts: the first part investigates the countries, institutions and disciplines in which philanthropy education currently takes place across Europe. The second explores perceptions of the development of the field drawn from interviews with philanthropy ‘stakeholders’. The report concludes with some critical reflections about the appropriate disciplinary settings for the study of philanthropy, the tension between fostering scholarship and developing skills and the potential ethical challenges of philanthropic investment in this area.

The research was conducted between October 2013 and July 2014 whilst a philanthropy practice research fellow at the Centre for Giving and Philanthropy (CGAP) ar Cass Business School and visiting scholar at Stanford University’s Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society (Stanford PACS). It was and supported by a small ‘legacy’ grant from the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund. The research builds upon existing work but also raises new challenges and questions. Thus, I hope that it provides a platform for further reflection, study and criticism in the coming months. In that spirit, I look forward to comments from anyone interested in understanding more about this mercurial phenomenon known as philanthropy.