Practice Areas & Industries: Withers Bergman LLP


Philanthropy & Charitable Giving Return to Practice Areas & Industries

Group Profile Lawyers in this Group Offices Locations for this Group

Practice/Industry Group Overview

Increasingly, successful people wish to use their wealth to make the world a better place, in their own lifetime and beyond.

There are many different ways to support a worthwhile cause, each of which can have different legal and financial implications for the donor. Drawing on our experience in the fields of not-for profit and charity law and tax advice, our philanthropy and charitable giving team has extensive experience of finding the most appropriate way of achieving clients' philanthropic aspirations in their differing circumstances.

In some cases, clients will wish to support existing charitable entities; in other circumstances, establishing a new charitable foundation may be the preferred way of furthering individual philanthropic aims. Our team can also help clients considering other ways of making a difference, whether through projects such as venture philanthropy and microfinance, or by adopting a policy of ‘social responsible investment'.

When it comes to the establishment of their own foundations, clients will have differing wishes. Some will want to maintain a high profile, playing an active role and being closely involved in decision making, perhaps involving other members of their family; some will wish to maintain their anonymity; and some will prefer to leave the decision making to others. We can advise on the optimum location, format, and governance arrangements to address clients' wishes. But once the foundation has been established, our advice need not stop there. We can provide on-going advice in relation to governance, grant making and other legal issues, both in the UK and the US.

Although no one supports philanthropic projects simply to save tax, most donors will wish to ensure that their support is delivered as tax-efficiently as possible - and our team has the knowledge and experience to help. Whilst many of our clients operate only in their own domestic contexts, many will have connections with several different jurisdictions, giving rise to international tax issues.

We advise our clients on the various methods of supporting their chosen causes and their implications in the UK, the US and elsewhere, including the application of UK and US tax relief in relation to gifts of money, property and other assets, whether made during life or on death. We have considerable experience in the establishment of dual-qualified US/UK charitable structures to enable philanthropists who are subject both to UK and US tax to give tax- efficiently and have helped many clients structure their cross-border charitable giving where other jurisdictions have been involved.

Recent work

  • Advising established foundations including the Batty, Chapman, George Drexler and Garfield Weston and Foundations/Charitable Trusts.
  • Establishing charitable foundations for various high-profile individuals including Peter Harrison and Roger de Haan.
  • Advising the Matisse Foundation. 
  • Working closely with several charities, including the Garfield Weston and the Paul Hamlyn Foundations, on the issues of grant-making and good governance. 
  • Advising the De Haan Charitable Foundation in the establishment of two Academies and an arts and regeneration project.
  • Advising a private foundation on qualifying donated land as a public park.