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IBS Lunchtime Research Seminar - The Welcome Trust, Market Based Philanthropy and the, Business of Giving in the UK - Tom Buckley

Henley Business School Whiteknights
Event information
Date 1 March 2023
Time 13:00-14:30 (Timezone: Europe/London)
Price Free
Venue Henley Business School, Whiteknights Campus
Event types:

You are cordially invited to attend an IBS lunchtime research seminar by Dr Tom Buckley, University of Sussex. Please join us in Room 108, Henley Business School. If you have not received the email invite please email Angie Clark.

Please make sure you let me know in advance if you intend to attend in person so that the correct amount of catering is booked.

Title: The Welcome Trust, Market Based Philanthropy and the, Business of Giving in the UK

Date: Wednesday 1st March 2023

Time: 13.00 - 14.15pm

Teams - A Teams link to the seminar is included for those who cannot attend in person, however attendance in person is preferred.


While philanthropy is widely recognised to have a long history, it was in the United States, in the 19th century that a systematised version of giving emerged, based on the industrial wealth of super-rich entrepreneurs. This new wave of philanthropists created a novel institution, the philanthropic foundation, that sought to influence and transform critical economic and societal domains. Building on explanations of these large philanthropic ventures as manifestations of entrepreneurial philanthropy, this paper examines the extent to which such foundations were “re-invented,” in a context outside of the United States, by analysing the emergence and development of The Welcome Trust in the United Kingdom. Created in 1936 by the will of the pharmaceutical entrepreneur, Sir Henry Welcome, the Welcome Trust was an innovative philanthropic organisation, funded not by an invested endowment but solely by the profits of a large, multinational company in which the trustees (initially) held the entire share capital. Based on research conducted in the archives of GlaxoSmithKline and the Welcome Trust, this paper assesses the entrepreneurial emergence and growth of the Welcome Trust through a number of distinct periods throughout the 20th century, as it crafted itself as a new organisation, forged pioneering transnational relationships, and ultimately broke away from its company origins. This research thus provides a new way of understanding the scope of UK philanthropy in the 20th Century, and an original reflection on the relationships between capitalism, society and philanthropic practice through the prism of market-based philanthropy. Co-author Dr Chay Brooks, Senior Lecturer in International Entrepreneurship at the University of Sheffield

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