The UK’s first dedicated university philanthropy teaching post is to be established at the University of Kent following a £150,000 donation from the Pears Foundation.
The post, to be based within the University’s Centre for Philanthropy, will be known as the Pears Philanthropy Fellow. The first cohort of philanthropic studies students will start in January 2016. They will make use of the latest technology to study via distance learning, as well as at study days on campus.
Although established in the US since the 1970s, philanthropic studies is a new field of academic study in the UK. Students may go on to work in charities, often as CEOs or fundraisers, or go into a related field, such as grant-making or philanthropy advising. Some philanthropists also choose to take these courses to better understand the role of philanthropy and improve the effectiveness of their giving.
Trevor Pears CMG, Executive Chair of the Pears Foundation, said: ‘Philanthropy has a long and honourable tradition in the UK, up to and including the present day. However there is always more to be done. We believe that this new initiative will contribute to a better understanding of the role of private giving in contemporary society, and offer practical ways to help grow an even stronger culture of British philanthropy for the future.’
The UK charity sector is a major and growing source of employment, with 765,000 employees, which constitutes 2.7% of the total workforce, a growth of 40% since 2011.