When the coronavirus pandemic took hold early in 2020, charities were among the first to respond to the resulting social and economic distress. But recent scandals and a more critical climate have overshadowed the vital role they play.
What Have Charities Ever Done for Us? rebalances the debate, using case studies and interviews to illustrate how charities support people and communities, foster heritage and culture and pioneer responses to crucial social, ethical and environmental questions.
It also sets the historical context, examines cases that have attracted criticisms, analyses the political response and considers how the governance, transparency and independence of charities could be improved.
Charities at their best are the conscience of society and benefit most people at some point in their lives. This book brings to life the breadth and depth of their work and the contribution they make to social progress.
Stephen Cook is a journalist and author with extensive experience in national newspapers and magazines, including 18 years at The Guardian. He has published five novels and two non-fiction books.
Tania Mason is a journalist, copywriter, editor and events producer with more than 25 years’ experience across various industries, most recently charities and civil society. She currently edits Governance & Leadership magazine.
Part 1: What are charities, and why do we argue about them?;
The many faces of charity;
What Has Gone Wrong?;
‘Stick to your knitting’: the curbs on campaigning;
Part 2: Changing the world;
The health of the nation;
Slavery, equality and human rights;
Rights for women and gay liberation;
Protecting animals and the natural world;
Part 3: Improving lives and communities;
Local action and self-help;
Supporting Other People;
The wider world;
Part 4: A Junior Partner in the Welfare State?;
Public service contracts;
Reducing the burden on the state;
Charities as pioneers;
Part 5: Preserving the past, preparing for the future;
Castles, canals and stately homes;
Museums: living on the edge;
Eton and the minefield of charitable education;
Pushing the Boundaries of Medicine and Science;
Part 6: The Way Ahead;
Reviews and Strategies;
Charity governance: fit for purpose?;
Coming clean with the public;
The constant threat to independence.