One Percent Collective

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.

One Percent Collective – How It Works from One Percent Collective on Vimeo.

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!