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In my family, conversations around the dinner table are always very open, fast flowing and inquisitive. My parents have always encouraged two-way conversation, and for my sister and I to be involved in the family decision making processes. Therefore, when the conversation shifted to philanthropy, what we as a family want to support and how we can give back, was a seamless transition. 

My sister Annabel and I count ourselves lucky that we are growing up in a generation that is proactive about social and environmental causes and conscious about what our individual and collective impact is on our earth. 

My father John has always been open with us about the charities the Dyson Bequest has chosen to support over the last 20 years and why those organisations have been chosen. 

The Dyson Bequest, founded by my great Aunt and Uncle, is in a gradual transition from the second to third generation, which puts Annabel and I in a unique position. We will take over stewarding the families multi-generational giving, creating our own path while remembering the giving that has come before us.  

Currently, Annabel and I have the benefit of a guiding presence with Dad and my Aunt Rose at the helm, and Bruce and Janie before them. Dad and Rose familiarised Annabel and I with how they go about their granting, including the strategic thinking, planning and engagement phases.  This helped us to understand the driving forces of the Dyson Bequest and the qualities we look for in charities, particularly at a leadership level. 

Our family understands that we are all have shared values, but ultimately, we are all individuals with different passions, and we may be aligned to different causes. Mutual respect, honest communication and friendly negotiation has allowed us to share what we are passionate about and provide suggestions on potential causes to support. 

Within the past few years, I have become a more active voice in the direction of the Dyson Bequest alongside John and Rose. Attending conferences like NEXUS and Impatience Earth have allowed me to network and connect with other likeminded next-generation peers, where we’ve been able to learn together and share our own insights. I have found it rewarding to be in forums where young people are thinking the same as me and learning how to address big social issues, like climate change.  

I’ve had the opportunity to attend a dinner hosted by Equity Trustees before a concert with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and Professor Brian Cox. The conversations around the table were very stimulating. As one of the youngest people in the room, I was able to share my perspective of multi-generational giving. All of these experiences are helping to shape the way that my sister and I think about our family philanthropy.

Looking to the future, we will become further engaged in the Dyson Bequest decision making and taking on more responsibilities with John and Rose’s guidance. 

Philanthropy, like most other things, is a life-long learning pursuit and so I’ll continue to attend conferences and seminars which will undoubtably continue to open my eyes to the possibilities and the excitement of the future and our next leaders. 

The for-purpose sector is an evolving space and the Dyson Bequest will need to evolve with it: I look forward to being a part of that journey. 

By Hope Dyson, The Dyson Bequest

Image: Hope Dyson, John Dyson & Annabel Dyson

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