In Jersey we have been working hard to develop the ecosystem for private capital philanthropy. The advent of the Charities (Jersey) Law 2014 is one aspect of this. It provides a platform which caters not only for local operating charities in Jersey but also, through the “restricted section” of the charity register ( the restricted register) maintained by the Jersey Charity Commissioner, a means for privately-endowed non-profit entities (typically promoted by family offices and ultra high net worth clients of trust company businesses in Jersey) to achieve endorsement and formal recognition of the charitable status of qualifying non-profit entities funded by these clients. Entry on the restricted register allows these entities certain relaxations from the transparency requirements which apply to charities on the general part of the charities register and which is justified on the basis that these entities are privately-endowed and are not seeking to raise monies from the public.
There are currently thirteen entities on the restricted register in Jersey (April 2020) and they give a flavour of the diversity of and growth potential for privately-endowed non-profits administered from Jersey.
In terms of legal form, over two thirds, not surprisingly, are established in the form of charitable trusts. But there is also one Jersey foundation and two Jersey companies on the restricted register together with one incorporated association. All but one are grant-making entities rather than operating charities.
The most common purpose targeted by these restricted charities is the relief of poverty and need, with the next most common purpose being the advancement of education and health, generally in locations outside Jersey. Three restricted charities refer to Africa as their focus in this context. Three include scientific research and the advancement of science as an objective and three include animal welfare and conservation ( including one which supports rhino conservation charities with grants). Two include environmental protection as their aim.
The registration details of three of the restricted charities provide some insight into their governance arrangements. Each is administered by a regulated trust company business in Jersey. The composition of the main governing body varies. In one case a corporate trustee acts alone, in another a corporate trustee acts alongside a number of individual co-trustees and in the third the board of trustees is comprised of individuals solely. Use is made of boards of advisors, particularly by the conservation charities, as a means for the trustees to access the specialised knowledge and advice of experts in the field.
The number of charities on the restricted register in Jersey is still in its infancy. But through the key-hole of the limited information available from their registration entries, we can see a picture of a diverse and sophisticated grouping of pro bono entities which have a slant towards benefiting projects and purposes in locations outside Jersey and which have a focus on environmental protection, animal conservation and advancing scientific research. All of which augurs well for a world whose climate, biodiversity and biosecurity are in crisis.