The six key elements of successful philanthropy

John Studzinski delivering his lecture in St George's Hall

Student Hazel Clarke reviews the penultimate Roscoe Lecture of Series 19, given by investment banker and philanthropist John Studzinski CBE

On 2 June St. George’s Hall accommodated the 140th Roscoe Lecture, Making Money do Good Things, given by John Studzinski. Before the lecture began, Lord Alton, the man behind the Roscoe Lecture series, gave a touching speech about John, saying that, ‘John has insight, inspiration and what it means to be a good citizen… he puts his talent at the disposal of others… he is determined to improve himself and the world around him.’ The rest of Lord Alton’s speech listed John’s many achievements, including being named Banker of the Year in 2007 by the Bank of England, as well his involvement with the charities Genesis, Arise, and the Tate Foundation.

John’s lecture started by asking the audience, ‘What makes you angry?’. 

John’s anger about the things he perceives are wrong with the world drives him to help in a constructive manner.

Instead of giving man a fish, he said we should teach that man how to fish: by giving people long-term solutions to problems, we can help them far more than if we give them a short-term solution.

He gave two very basic ideas here on how to do this. The first he called ‘Top Down’, which was the most obvious solution: to help a charity, or start your own, or donate money. The other one, the harder one, he called ‘Bottom Up’, which is when you start from the bottom, changing people’s lives for the better one person at a time, your efforts having a domino effect on others.

Group photo with John Studzinski
John Studzinski CBE (centre) with LJMU Vice Chancellor Professor Nigel Weatherill, Rt Hon Professor Lord Alton of Liverpool and postgraduate student award winners Faisal Ashraf (far left) and Rebecca Hebden (second from right)

He also talked a lot about Millennials, as he’s aware that these are the generation of people who are soon going to be leading the world. He views Millennials as an incredibly important group, as they have realised that both their time and money is precious but they’re still going to make the effort to help others and become philanthropists because of the way the world is changing. He described this using what he calls the six ‘T’s:

  • Time – Our ability to focus on and harness it
  • Talent – Our abilities that we were born with or have developed

Even with only these two ‘T’s, John made sure to point out that you can do a lot with time and talent alone. You may not be able to do much, it may only amount to a drop in the ocean, but it’s better than nothing.

  • Treasure – You don’t need this to change the world, but it certainly helps
  • Temperature – As in what makes your blood boil, what makes you angry, and how you’re going to fix it
  • Testimony – How we share our feelings, passions, beliefs, and interests, and how much conviction we have to see a solution through to the end
  • Technology – Young people are the ones that have power over technology as they grew up with it, so it’s up to them to help the world using it

When I interviewed John, I asked what made him want to give away his money and his time when he could very easily keep it all to himself. He told me that philanthropy was part of his culture and it’s what he grew up with, that it wasn’t something he had one day decided to do, but that he felt he needed to do it all the way through his life. He told me a story from when he was six years old and how fundamental he thought it was to go and help out at a soup kitchen.

The point that John re-iterated over and over is that we can all make a difference. It’s easy to think that there are seven billion people on the planet, that what you do, whether good or bad, isn’t going to have any effect. It might not affect everyone, but it will affect someone, even if that someone is just one person, and even if that one person is you.


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