By Rachel Sestini, managing director, Sestini & Co Group
I had a
fascinating conversation recently with a lady who works for Cancer Research UK (CR-UK)
whose job it is to bring together legal and financial advisors, clients with
philanthropic motivations and some of the world’s most talented cancer
researchers. Sianne Haldane is Head of Planned
Giving Philanthropy at Cancer Research UK, a charity now raising more than £500M
per annum to fund cutting-edge scientific research aimed at improving cancer
prevention, diagnoses and treatment. Sianne was telling me that this staggering
amount of income is generated entirely through philanthropy; CR-UK receives no
funding from the UK government at all.
Leading research worldwide
I had safely assumed that Cancer Research UK is one of the biggest funders of research into cancer in the UK. But Sianne told me that this British charity (www.cancer.org.uk) which traces its roots back to 1902, is the largest independent funder of research into cancer in the world. Last year alone they ploughed £442 million into research. I also learnt that cancer is currently the cause of nearly 1 in 6 deaths across the globe, and this number is expected to soar as people live longer and the global population continues to increase. So CR-UK is now funding research in 36 countries across 5 continents. Furthermore, 8 of the world’s top 10 cancer drugs started their development within research teams funded by CR-UK. It really is a charity delivering significant benefits for cancer patients wherever they may live.
was clear that without collective action, the cancer burden will continue to
rise. The charity’s strategy therefore
is to bring together the best minds in the world and to equip them to tackle
the greatest challenges. They fund some truly innovative and collaborative research
teams based in the UK, USA, Europe and Asia. Projects like Grand Challenge, the most ambitious research
initiative in the world. Through this programme CR-UK offers grants of £20M to international,
multidisciplinary teams to take on the toughest challenges in cancer. To date
the charity has funded 7 teams across 9 countries representing an investment of
up to £130m over the next 5 years.
There’s also some big news on the horizon
about a partnership between some of the most highly respected State-side cancer
research institutions and CR-UK to focus on improvements in detecting cancer at
an earlier stage. Currently under wraps but Sianne promises an exciting
Gifts, wills and donations
The planning and coordination of research across
continents means the charity’s philanthropic proposition must have the same
long-term vision. Sianne, a dual qualified lawyer in the UK and her native
South Africa, works with advisors to help clients/supporters realise their
philanthropic motivations through effective legal, financial and scientific
funding models. Year on year, gifts in wills
alone fund around one third of CR-UK’s research – last year contributing £187.5M.
Cancer Research UK has also partnered with Innovate UK to
run a programme aimed at improving commercial awareness amongst academics. The
PACE programme will enhance the entrepreneurial skills of early career researchers
and strengthen those links between academic and industrial oncology communities
across the world.
It’s a very positive message that brilliant minds are coming
together across the globe to help tackle a health issue that will affect more
and more of us – and to know that there are like-minded professionals working in
some of the largest charities like Cancer Research UK who understand the
complexities and opportunities that exist in servicing the personal, business
and philanthropic interests of HNW and UHNW individuals and families.
Tax relief on UK and US donations
Of course, working with clients whose interests straddle
the pond, I am delighted that this charity has taken the sensible step of
setting up a USA-based entity to enable those who file IRS returns to more
easily claim tax relief on funds to support any project overseen by CR-UK,
whether based in the UK involving multi-national teams or projects that are
being co-ordinated in labs throughout the UK, USA, Europe, Asia and elsewhere.
Please contact Sianne for more information – firstname.lastname@example.org – and open your eyes
to the new opportunities that exist in philanthropy.