Yesterday, the Duke of Cambridge gave a speech at the Charity Commission’s annual public meeting where he touched on the influences from his family in shaping his role in charity work.
He praised his grandparents, The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh who together hold over 1000 patronages. Giving props to Prince Philip who retired in August of last year, saying he is “one of the most tireless public servants of this country, deeply committed to helping young people fulfil their potential.”
He also gave credit to his parents.
“As a young child, I recall evening after evening my father’s diligence and compassion as he applied himself to answering thousands of letters and reading endless reports in order to stay on top of his ambition to do all he could to help the underprivileged,” the Duke said.
“Without my realising it, what my parents were doing was instilling in me and Harry a lifelong habit to put charity at the heart of our lives.”
During his speech, Prince William warned that the growing number of charities should not focus only on themselves, but work together saying: “We all know that society is becoming in lots of ways more atomised and polarised.
“There is no doubt that public debate seems coarser and more personal than ever, fuelled partly by anonymity online and the commercialisation of our news.
“We are running the risk of a silo society in which we allow differences of opinion to separate us.
“In that context, it is more important than ever to nurture those institutions which transcend differences between us, which motivate us to put self-interest aside and which, explicitly, are beyond politics.”
The Duke gave examples of charities who came together during the Grenfell fires to combat the tragedy together.
“This leaves me to think that this approach could go further,” Prince William said.
“Instead of setting up more individual charities working in the same fields, I wonder if we could do more to explore ways of combining forces, working and innovating together?
“I do wonder at times if the compassion which leads people to set up or maintain charities could not be equally well directed at first finding opportunities to work with existing charities.
“Competition for funds between an ever-growing number of charities, and the confusion it can cause among donors, can lead to the silo-ing of expertise and, at worst, territorial behaviour.
“I know that this message is not always easy to hear: charities exist because those who work and volunteer for them each believe passionately in its importance. And they are right to do so.
“But as the challenges of the future begin to bear down on us, I believe that this big shift must begin to happen – the sector must be open to collaborate, to share expertise and resources; to focus less on individual interests and more on the benefits that working together will bring.