On the 12th October, the UK Philanthropy Archive hosted it’s second annual Shirley lecture, and first to be held in person on the University of Kent’s Canterbury campus. Following on from the success of last year’s online event where Dame Stephanie Shirley launched the series by talking about her life, and what has influenced and driven her philanthropy, this year saw Fran Perrin of the Indigo Trust speak on the importance of open data in the philanthropy sector.
Fran Perrin is the founder and director of the Indigo Trust, which works to fund access to justice in the UK and in sub-Saharan Africa, as well as tackling the causes of blindness in sub-Saharan Africa, and working to promote more effective grant making within the philanthropy sector. She is also the founder of 360Giving, a charity that helps foundations make their grant data freely available to support informed grant making across the sector.
Fran discussed the current issues around data availability, and how the lack of accountability and transparency is a rectifiable problem in the philanthropy sector. She also spoke of her own journey through the philanthropy sector, including how her own experiences of giving money when there was little data to help inform her decisions drove her to found the charity 360Giving, how the work of 360Giving has made an impact on the sector, and the future plans for the charity. A fascinating example was the creation of the Covid 19 Grants Tracker, which allowed philanthropists to see where emergency funding was being given, which in turn allowed for informed decisions on next steps in donating. It shows geographical areas in receipt of donations, the type of recipients and givers, and the variety of amounts being donated.
Audio of the full lecture, plus the question and answer session that followed the lecture, is available to listen to on our website, alongside a transcript of the lecture.