One Percent Collective04 February 2014 by Marc Taddei
One aspect of the arts that has remained constant throughout its history is the necessity of private and public support in addition to self-earned income. Different countries and societies take different approaches to the support of the arts and other charitable causes. New Zealand has a fine record in its support of these groups. From 2009 to 2011, income to charitable causes increased from $6.1 billion to $14.4 billion. The bulk of this money came directly from the government grants and service provision. Private donations certainly increased during this time (from $600 million to $1.05 billion) but is slightly lagging behind the increases enjoyed from grants and the aforementioned earnings. In the time that I have spent in New Zealand I have noticed a general understanding that support for organizations such as arts organizations, education, social service and community development (just to name a few worthy causes) is not just the responsibility of the state but also that of the private individual. I applaud the government for recently introducing tax benefits for philanthropy.
Traveling back to the United States, I frequently meet donors and I am continually struck by their sense that giving back to the community is a privilege as much as it is a duty. Hearing their reasoning and passion for the causes they support is both humbling and inspiring. While clearly the American model has been in place for quite some time, there is a a culture of giving there that I find healthy and inspiring. New Zealand is also very generous – in fact in 2013 the country came out #2 in the World Giving Index – right below the United States (obviously based on a per capita formula!).
Recently I met up over lunch with Kowhai Montgomery from a new giving initiative called the One Percent Collective. This is the brainchild of Pat Shepherd, a freelance photographer and designer who was inspired by the writings of Pete Singer. The idea that if the world’s wealthiest individuals donated a small fraction of their wealth , the world could make significant inroads on the problems of global poverty. Reading what Pat has to say makes a lot of sense – especially with the concept of bringing generosity to everything one does. His One Percent Collective suggests that donors give 1% of their income to a variety of charitable causes, paying only one recurring payment, using the collective as the distribution – which makes things really easy. I should point out that 100% of all donations go directly to the causes.
They even have a One Percent Collective card that offers savings at local businesses so that one has the ability to give even more! Here is an example of the offers the card affords – this is a great deal for the yoga studio I attend when I am in Wellington (it is just across the street from my hotel).
I am pleased to say that Orchestra Wellington is coming on board with One Percent Collective. I am doubly pleased to be able to say that the Orchestra will contribute its talents to the cause in a way that will entertain and delight people and hopefully inspire potential philanthropists to sign up to this most worthy endeavor. The Collective recently did a little profile of me which you can read about here.
I urge all of you to go to their website and consider signing up!