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Philanthropy: is it time for a change?

Updated: Sep 19, 2023

“For Britain to contribute to a fair and just society, we need to move beyond giving towards giving back.” Philanthropy advisor Derek A. Bardowell believes that the lens through which society views giving needs to shift radically. As the CEO of Ten Years' Time, an organisation that exists to help donors and foundations to interrogate their wealth and unlearn harmful practices, Derek is on a purpose-driven mission to help shape a more holistic and equitable approach to philanthropy.

Derek A. Bardowell

Derek's recently-published book, Giving Back: How To Do Good, Better, explores the need to reimagine philanthropy and the deep changes that must occur in order to start to bring about real systemic change.

Episode 20 of the #GoodJourneysPod is out now. Listen/watch:


"I was politicised from primary school age"

Passionate about reimagining philanthropy through a reparative lens, Bardowell believes that so many of the world's biggest social problems, from climate change to social injustice, can be tackled in modern society by all of us. Much of his work is grounded in his personal experiences of navigating 'Black Britishness', as he explains on the podcast:

"I was politicised from primary school age, being stopped by the police, witnessing certain things happening around me and my environment including being attacked myself by a racist. You quickly lose your innocence and become politicised. At different points you feel angry, at other points you feel meek; you go up and down, but the thing that you really become is quite distrustful of institutions or those that are meant to be there to protect you. And you also spend a lot of your time feeling slightly paranoid because you're trying to navigate your way around a world where you haven't done anything bad but you are [still] being treated as if you are a criminal."


"We were locked up and locked down"

Pulling no punches in Giving Back about the UK Conservative Party's colossal mishandling of the COVID-19 pandemic, Bardowell states that "we were locked up, locked down by a government that did not appear to know what it was doing, further adding to the nation's anxiety."

It's now been three years since the height of the pandemic in the UK, yet the wounds and trauma from that time are still keenly felt by many - especially with the numerous facts that have emerged since the dark days of lockdown pointing towards the widespread corruption and rule-breaking that took place amongst those within the power to shape and enforce our laws.

"There is this really sad reality that so much of it [the pandemic's adverse impact on society] was preventable and that many lives could have been saved," reflects Derek. "Many people could have had the opportunity to send off their loved ones that had passed in a far better way. The way that we have rushed back to the status quo, I've found really frightening."

"Post-Covid, some of the bills and laws that this Government has been passing, from the Immigration Bill to the Right to Protest Bill, and some of the things that are happening right now: make no mistake, these are bad days."

Episode 20 of the Good Journeys with Second Mountain podcast is out now.

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