As I reflect upon this year’s theme and what it means to build a meaningful life, I think about helping others build their own lives, as helping others has tremendously enriched my life.
Growing up in Australia, my grandmother instilled in me a natural obligation to give back—to family, to community, to the church and beyond—as this forms the basis of civil society.
It has been said that ‘those to whom much has been given, much is expected.’ Believing this to be true, I have dedicated time and resources throughout my life to causes that reflect a set of personal values: protection for the most fragile in society; fostering aspiration; and respect for institutions. Many charities reflect these principles and inspire me and I have chosen to support a broad array of groups and people, all of whom I find inspirational.
I believe society and individuals have an obligation to provide a safety net for those unable to take care of themselves. We need to provide a framework to enable people to meet their potential to contribute to society and to foster a sense of self-worth. Just as importantly, we need to honor and respect the institutions that form our social fabric, including the judiciary, police, military and religion. I have aspired to reflect these values in both my philanthropy and my business. For me, being a conduit to help unlock potential is vital. It is exciting and deeply rewarding to help others succeed.
I believe education is critically important, as it is education that enabled me to succeed. The University of Sydney and the Harvard Business School opened my eyes to the world, and inspired me to achieve. That is why I have given back to them, as well as to a number of less-well-known schools and youth organizations, among them those that have had a positive impact on my family and me.
In the area of health, I have supported the Evelina Trust—a London children’s hospital, and the Trinity Hospice, which is located in our community, to provide a dignified environment for those nearing the end of their lives.
I also believe the Arts are an essential part of our cultural heritage and offer an important context for future generations. In the UK, I support the Natural History Museum, Victoria & Albert Museum, National Gallery and British Museum, helping to preserve educational and cultural institutions for future generations. My funding of the Old Vic Theatre in London was due to Kevin Spacey’s example and inspiration. Spacey dedicated himself to reviving the Old Vic, at a substantial opportunity cost in terms of his potential earnings in the movie business. We enabled him and his team to introduce an innovative artistic program as well as an outreach program that continues today, in what was then an unfashionable part of London.
To honor institutions, I support the Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity which look after sailors, marines and their families. And with the Duke of Westminster, I am supporting the construction of one of the world’s most advanced clinical centers for the rehabilitation of injured military personnel.
I believe religion can provide a moral compass that allows society to survive and flourish. To that end, I also have given to a number of religious charities, which can provide important spiritual and educational foundations for their communities.
Because society cannot rely solely on the public purse, private giving is critical. The ability of any charitable organization or business to endure is dependent on its ability to be economically self-sustainable. I believe private philanthropy is better placed to enable, motivate, guide and partner with charities. We must take individual responsibility to look after others; it is our obligation to give back. Philanthropy is a very personal journey for me. I give to those who have given much to my family and me; I give to those institutions that reflect my principles and values and to those who inspire me. The Hintze Family Charitable Foundation has worked with a diverse group of more than 200 charities, and our giving has been driven by my values and personal approach to philanthropy. Candidly, I know no greater pleasure than to give and make a difference in the lives of others.