Professor Beth Breeze

Director of the Centre for Philanthropy,
Professor of Philanthropic Studies
+44 (0)1227 824303
Professor Beth Breeze


Beth Breeze is Director of the Centre for Philanthropy, which she co-founded in 2008. Beth began her career as a fundraiser for a youth homelessness charity, and spent a decade working in a variety of fundraising, research and charity management roles, including as deputy director at the Institute for Philanthropy. Motivated by the lack of substantive research underpinning practice, Beth completed a PhD on contemporary philanthropy at Kent in 2011, and has been working here ever since.

Beth has written and edited seven books, two of which have won the AFP Skystone Research Partners book prize:

  • The Fundraising Reader (2023), co-edited with Donna Day Lafferty & Pamala Wiepking
  • Advising Philanthropists: Principles and Practice (2023) co-authored with Emma Beeston
  • In Defence of Philanthropy (2021)
  • The New Fundraisers: who organises charitable giving in contemporary society? (2017)
  • The Philanthropy Reader (2016), co-edited with Michael Moody
  • The Logic of Charity: Great expectations in hard times (2015), co-authored with John Mohan
  • Richer Lives: Why Rich People Give (2013), co-authored with Theresa Lloyd

She has also written a wide range of research reports including ten editions of the annual ‘Coutts Million Pound Donors Report’.

At Kent, in 2016, she launched a Masters degree programme in Philanthropic Studies. Taught by distance learning to meet the needs of busy professionals, it attracts c.40 students per year seeking higher level career development, as well as a pathway from practice into academia, with a number of MA graduates going on to win PhD funding.

Beth has served as trustee for the Cardinal Hume Centre for young homeless people, as a commissioner on the Commission for the Donor Experience, as publications editor of Philanthropy UK, as a member of the President's advisory council at NCVO; as a member of the Advisory Group of the Charity Tax Commission; and is currently a member of the Women’s Philanthropy Institute Research Committee, Lilly School of Philanthropy, Indiana University, USA.  

Research interests

Beth's research interests focus on philanthropy, fundraising, charitable giving and the charity sector.

She works within the Centre for Philanthropy, which explores philanthropic activities, social patterns of giving and the redistributive impact of transfers from private wealth to the public good. She also has an interest in the impact of philanthropy on social policy and political processes, and vice versa.

Beth’s main focus is on major donors, from both the demand side (fundraising) and the supply side (donors and philanthropists).  In 2023 she began work on a major new research project on Moonshot Philanthropy to explore how private giving can contribute to tackling global challenges such as those set out in the Sustainable Development Goals. She researched and wrote ten editions of the Coutts & Co bank-funded annual Million Pound Donor report from 2008 to 2017. She is also interested in collective giving, especially giving circles, and the broader topic of the art and science of fundraising. She has worked on studies of fundraising for ‘unpopular’ causes, philanthropy across the life-course and corporate philanthropy on the shop floor. 

From 2008-2013, Beth was part of the ESRC Centre on Giving and Philanthropy. From 2013-2016, she held a Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship to undertake a project called 'The Formation of Fundraisers: the role of social skills in asking for money'. This study explored the art of fundraising and the personality traits of successful fundraiser and the findings appeared in her prizewinning book ‘The New Fundraisers: who organises charitable giving in contemporary society?’ published in 2017. 

She also received funding from the European Commission to undertake a study of the role of philanthropic fundraising in universities across the European Union

Beth’s doctoral thesis, completed in 2009, investigates the meaning and purpose of philanthropy in contemporary UK society. Based on secondary analysis of the public statements and giving patterns of 170 of the most significant philanthropists operating in the UK today, it argues that philanthropy is primarily a social relationship between givers and receivers, rather than merely a financial transaction, and that the philanthropic acts of the wealthy are part of a strategy - conscious or otherwise - to find meaning and purpose in their lives whilst creating and communicating a positive identity to themselves, their loved ones and the wider community. 


Beth is Director of Studies for the MA Philanthropic Studies programme, and convenes the modules on 'Fundamentals of Philanthropy’ and ‘Advising Donors’. She also leads the Fundraiser Apprenticeship programme. 


Beth is qualified to lead PhD supervisory teams. She has successfully supervised 6 PhD students to completion with the following titles:

  • Raising the Wealthy: Philanthropy, Children and Wealth Transfer
  • Mediatization of Success among Small & Medium size NPOs in the context of Social Media activities
  • The role of English and Welsh INGOs: A field theory-based exploration of the sector
  • Fundraisers and the Mediated Gift: Investigating the role of fundraising in gift giving to non-profit organisations
  • Public policy making, fundraisers and philanthropic giving in UK higher education in the 21st century; the examples of two policy incentives
  •  #digital_disruption @amnesty international: from digital to networked to hybrid activism 

She is currently supervising doctoral students working on:

  •  Canadian Settler Philanthropy and Reconciliation Discourse: A Critical Textual Analysis
  • UK Major Gift Philanthropy – high value giving to UK charities
  • National legacy marketing campaigns


  • Member of the Irish government’s Philanthropy Policy National Advisory Group
  • Member of the Scientific Committee, Centre for Philanthropy, University of Geneva
  • Member of review board for Pan-African International Review on Philanthropy and Social Investment Journal
  • Member of the Scientific Committee, Chair in Philanthropy, ESSEC Business School, Philanthropy
  • Member of the Women’s Philanthropy Institute Research Committee, Lilly School of Philanthropy, Indiana University, US


  • Increasing the Capacity and Confidence of Fundraisers, Charity Chat podcast, 23 April 2023
  • Meaningful Giving; An interview with Beth Breeze, Philanthropy Daily, 19 April 2023*
  • Advising Philanthropists, Philanthropisms podcast, 16 March 2023
  • Lifting the Curtain on Philanthropy Advising, Inside Philanthropy, 23 February 2023*


  • Thinking Beyond Ourselves at Philanthropy Australia, Alliance magazine, 22 September 2022*
  •  Is Philanthropy Still Relevant? The Philanthropist Journal, 5 July 2022
  • Why anxiety about philanthropy could make other anxieties worse, Philanthropy Australia, 18 February 2022


  • The Best Books on Philanthropy, FiveBooks, 29 December 2021
  • In Conversation: Phil Buchanan interviews Beth Breeze on In Defence of Philanthropy, Philanthropy New York, 18 November 2021*
  • Is Billionaire Philanthropy bad for society? Munk debate podcast, September 2021*
  • Fundraisers need to help to defend philanthropy and philanthropists: Dr Beth Breeze, Director, Centre for Philanthropy. Civil Society’s Fundraising Magazine, December 2021
  • Beyond Market and Government: Dr Beth Breeze, Director, Centre for Philanthropy. Schweizer Monat, November 2021
  • Don’t shoot the philanthropist: Dr Beth Breeze, Director, Centre for Philanthropy. Alliance Magazine, 31 August 2021
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