Town centre plans based on a substantial Foundation

With an annual income of more than £47 million, the Whitgift Foundation is a significant presence in Croydon. Yet we have heard very little about its role in the redevelopment of the town centre, says SUSAN OLIVER

Whitgift Foundation logoOne interesting aspect to the £1 billion Westfield and Hammerson development so far is the low profile that the Whitgift Foundation has maintained. The Foundation is a partner in this project and yet, so far, we have heard very little from them.

It raises a lot of questions about the role of charities in society. Let’s not look away from the fact that the Whitgift Foundation is a charity with a lot of power in town. Who is supposed to benefit from this power?

It reminds me of an article I read in the Boston Globe several years ago. It dealt with real estate in Cambridge, Massachusetts, which is the home of Harvard University. It said that most houses in Cambridge were worth at least $1 million – an astonishing amount.

After reading the article, I had to ask myself, “Do educational institutions always benefit society?” “Have educational charities used their charitable status to strengthen their own position at the expense of others?”

Here in Croydon, it seems there is a bit of political correctness about Whitgift; a tendency to protect this institution.

Let’s not forget the amazing amount of power this organisation holds in town. Let’s not be afraid to hold this group to account.

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1 Response to Town centre plans based on a substantial Foundation

  1. A timely seasonal reminder from Susan Oliver of the role of our leading charity. A charity founded very much with the foundation of our own National Church. Founded by a man who was passionate about both education and religion and whose legacy should have been one of:
    * high standards of national education to serve the Nation;
    * and a strong religion that ensured social cohesion.

    At this time of the year we look at his legacy in Croydon and we should ask ourselves:
    “What would Whitgift have made of his Foundation?”

    Much the same people control the Whitgift Foundation, as the Council, and represent us in Parliament, have they established a clear vision for:
    a. Education,
    b. Social cohesion including care for the most vulnerable (Whitgift cared greatly for the poor ).

    Yet again we need to ask who is actually benefiting from these institutions?

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