By Jane Ibbunson. If I have a free Sunday morning laying in bed and listening to Desert Island Discs is a bit of a guilty pleasure – or Dids as us real fans call it. One Sunday recently (25/01/16) was one such morning.
The castaway was editor and philanthropist Sigrid Rausing. Her grandfather was responsible for inventing Tetra-Pack and this was how the family made their fortune. More recently she has acquired Granta publishing house and stated that becoming an editor has made her more self-critical.
I was extremely moved by the interview – she spoke candidly about her brother’s addiction, the impact on the family and her own experience of depression. She spoke without bitterness or self-pity. Then my equilibrium was disturbed when Kirsty Young stated “I get why people support the Arts – you get your name on a building or a plaque saying how generous you have been – but what is the quid pro quo for supporting human rights and advocacy?”
I choked on my Lady Grey! If philanthropy is only about recognition and what you get in return then we are all in big trouble Kirsty and I think you have missed the point.
When philanthropists supports services, advocacy and human rights, they are supporting a lasting improvement in peoples’ lives – not completely a transaction. This is devinitely what motivates Sigrid Rausing , indeed I would be surprised if the phrase donor recognition is in her vocabulary…..