The Lord Mayor’s Giving Day is upon us – the first of what organisers hope to become a landmark in the City calendar.
The charity drive is trying to raise £2 million; the 686th Lord Mayor, Fiona Woolf, wants to raise £686,000 today alone, with all proceeds going to the Lord Mayor’s Appeal. This year, the Lord Mayor’s charities include Beating Bowel Cancer, Raleigh International, Working Chance and Princess Alice Hospice.
‘Today promises to be a very special day with a serious purpose: to help our charitable activities reach a wider audience and a new generation,’ the Lord Mayor said, speaking to City AM.
A number of side-events and quirks are on the cards to bolster the day’s events across London’s financial precincts, including a bankers’ cupcake competition (judged by none other than the Lord Mayor herself) and a charity talent show featuring The Voice star Bianca Nicholas at the 100 Club, which kicks off at 6.30pm this evening.
Fidelity Worldwide Investment, a hedge fund and asset management firm, are raising money for the charities this Friday by dressing up rather than dressing down. The 650 employees who work at its Cannon Street office are being asked to donate £2 or more in exchange for a bowler hat – returning sartorial sensibilities of the 1800s to the Square Mile. The firm has promised to match the total sum of its employees’ donations.
‘We liked the idea of the bowler hats because we’re in the City,’ said Vicki Haxton, senior manager of corporate sponsorship in a conversation with City AM. ‘We wanted to do something different and fun, rather than just chucking some money in a bucket to wear their jeans. ‘I’m going to encourage them to wear it at their desks and while they’re out and about to show their support.’
A recent study by the Cass Business School found that, as a share of our total spending, British nationals still give 0.4 per cent of our annual income to charity – a figure that has gone unchanged since 1978. Though Britain remains in the top ten for charitable giving, our donor culture leaves a lot to be desired – the United States is known to give twice as much.
So if you would like to do your bit, donations can be made throughout the day in Guildhall Yard, or alternatively, text CITY 14 2 to 70070 to donate £2. You can also send a cheque payable to The Lord Mayor’s Appeal 2014 to: Mansion House EC4N 8BH or visit their website at thelordmayorsappeal.org to book your place at a number of events (abseiling down the Lloyds building, anyone?).