The Irish Times reported yesterday that
A mysterious benefactor has lodged €1 million into the bank account of a foundation planning to build a hospice in Co Wicklow.
The identity of the benefactor is known to the Wicklow Hospice Foundation but is being kept a closely guarded secret. No information, not even the gender of the person involved, their nationality or their link with Wicklow is being revealed.
This is fantastic news for the Wicklow Hospice Foundation and well done to the team there that secured the donation. It is however somewhat of a shame that the donation is anonymous. And in saying that I am certainly not being critical of the donor in any way.
I understand that charities need (and want to) protect their donors and naturally respect their wishes. So why I say its a shame is because if this person felt they were able to speak openly and freely about their donation, their motivations, their belief in the hospice, it could possibly encourage others, with the ability to make large gifts (not necessarily this large) do so.
My guess is this person wants to keep their name out of the papers because they dont want to be bombarded with requests from other charities. They probably also don’t want people to say “S/He only did it to look good”.
Unfortunately those two scenarios are realities in Ireland and until we change the overall perception of Philanthropy in the country we will continue to be in this position. I hope that in the coming years we can build a culture of giving in Ireland that applauds people for their donations, however major they are (lets face it we all dont have 1 million, but a % of that could be a major gift to someone else). I would love to see a time when we can see philanthropists at all levels talk about their work in a way that encourages others to give.
What do you think?