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"Money doesn't exist until you
do something with it."

                - Matthew Bowcock

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Giving it Away is Hard

As a "reconstructed" serial entrepreneur, Matthew Bowcock says he is trying to give up starting new businesses and focus more of his time on philanthropy as he has found that "giving away money is much, much harder than people think”.

He studied law and worked for international computer companies before launching his own software and genetics businesses in the US, Australia and the UK. Having worked all over the world, Bowcock and his wife Helen came back to the UK to live in Surrey, and set up their family charitable foundation, the Hazelhurst Trust.

Bowcock says they were swamped with applications for funding from good causes, actually gave away far less than they had planned, and felt their giving was unsatisfying as it was "passive, reactive". Then they changed tack, creating a fund within the Surrey Community Foundation, and found the foundation's expertise, local knowledge and professional advice enabled them to do far more.

Bowcock became the chair of the Surrey Community Foundation and then a trustee and chair of the UK-wide Community Foundations Network, encouraging others to consider how they could make a difference. He insists that philanthropy is not just billionaires giving away vast sums: "You can do all sorts of interesting things with a relatively small amount of money and achieve real positive change."