The gift of giving 

October 3, 2018

Sandra King is the chief philanthropy officer at the Community Foundation Tyne & Wear and Northumberland. Here, she talks about the growing trend for female philanthropists generously giving their money and time to community causes across the North East and how you can get involved too through the GeNErosity Festival –  a unique opportunity to find out more about how to make a difference in the region

November 7 will see the launch of the GeNErosity Festival of philanthropy and giving – a unique series of 50 events taking place across the North East celebrating the past, discussing the present and looking at the future of philanthropy in the region.

Much of what we see around the North East today has been made possible by philanthropists in the past.

It’s the generosity of these people in giving their money and time that has shaped some of the most iconic landmarks in our region, such as Grey’s Monument in Newcastle, Bowes Museum in Barnard Castle, and the Hospital of God at Greatham.

Historically, the most prolific philanthropists have been wealthy businessmen, but growing evidence shows that, actually, it is women who are more generous and have a bigger influence in shaping philanthropy today.

At the Community Foundation, we match generous people with important community causes through a growing portfolio of charitable funds. One of those generous people is female philanthropist Lyn Shears. She has donated over £1 million to causes across the North East through us to help support those less fortunate than ourselves, and even more through her own family’s philanthropy.

Spend just five minutes with Lyn and her passion for philanthropy is palpable. She’ll tell you that, no matter how big or small the donation, giving is good for you.

She believes that there’s nothing quite like the feeling of knowing that you’ve done something to help someone better their life, brighten their prospects and, in turn, contribute to the community in which they’re living.

Yes, Lyn is perhaps one of our most generous donors – she even personally contributed to the GeNErosity Festival to help spread the word about the important need for more giving in terms of money and time across our region – but she’ll also tell you that giving doesn’t have to be in big bucks; every little helps, including time to support local communities in the North East.

Lyn works tirelessly with the causes her funds support, seeing first-hand the positive impact her philanthropy is having on the people who are supported by these charities. So much so, she has not only been richly rewarded personally, but her contribution to society has also been recognised through awards.

Lyn will tell you that anyone can be a philanthropist and she is supporting us in our search for the region’s Unsung GeNErosity Heroes – people who donate their money and time to worthwhile causes, but rarely have their generosity recognised publicly.

If you’d like to join a growing number of men and women in supporting charities and community causes across the North East, to find out more about what philanthropy is really all about through our GeNErosity Festival, or to nominate an Unsung GeNErosity Hero, visit our website:


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