PHILANTHROPY IN ACTION: PROMOTE ACCESS TO ARTS, CULTURE & NATURE
“It’s been said that charity may begin at home but doesn’t have to end there, and though much of my philanthropy has been directed overseas, I now readily acknowledge the importance of always beginning social change at home.
Whilst home is ultimately ourselves and how we relate to the world, DCF offered a great platform to effect change in my home county. We set up the Earth to Earth Fund to reflect not only my keen interest in environmental issues but also my belief that all wealth springs ultimately from the Earth and that the most just and creative thing is for it to be reinvested back into community, at whatever scale.
In recent years it’s been wonderful to be joined by my wife Jen in this pursuit, someone whose natural wisdom and sense of Earth connection far surpass my own. The grant process is always humbling and inspiring, we learn a lot and appreciate the opportunities for a direct relationship with beneficiary projects. One thing I recall from the early days of my philanthropy, with The Funding Network, is that giving is, typically, one of the few things we humans do alone. Yet it’s so much more rewarding in community, whether that be with other donors, the fantastic DCF staff or the stars of the show - the change makers on the ground.”
“I like imagining the people finding out that they’ve secured funding, feeling that somebody cares about them.”
It is often said that people have become disconnected from the natural environment. Even in relatively rural areas, knowledge and understanding of the countryside can be lacking. The proportion of the population involved in farming and managing the land is at an all-time low – with fewer than 3.3% of residents in Devon linked to the agriculture and forestry industries.
Moor Trees in South Hams aims to provide opportunities for local people and communities to bridge that gap between urban and village life and the surrounding countryside. Their volunteers come from a range of backgrounds, including individuals with learning difficulties, students, young unemployed and retired seniors. They received £2,000 from the Earth to Earth Fund to help train volunteers in techniques to restore and re-create broadleaf woodland, helping to increase employability skills and prevent isolation.