A Better World is Possible
The Gatsby Charitable Foundation and Social Progress
A study in contemporary philanthropy and an exclusive account of the Gatsby Charitable Foundation's investment in a better world.

On 17 March 1967, the 26-year-old David Sainsbury wrote out a cheque for £5 and established the trust which would become the Gatsby Charitable Foundation. Gatsby's purpose was ambitious: to make the world a better place by taking on some of the social, economic and scientific challenges that face humanity.

In recent years, Gatsby has spent around £50m annually on charitable activities, and by its 50th anniversary in 2017 it will have spent over £1bn on programmes that range from reducing poverty in Africa to raising the standard of technical education, investigating how plants fight disease, and finding out how the brain works. But despite Gatsby's wide reach and the level of its donations, it has always functioned discreetly and out of the public eye.

Georgina Ferry's in-depth account reveals its achievements and invites us to question how the super-rich - and even the moderately affluent - might spend their money more wisely and for the common good.

Published 7 Sep 2017
Author Georgina Ferry
Biography Georgina Ferry is a science writer, author and broadcaster. She was a staff editor and feature writer on New Scientist, and presented science programmes on BBC Radio. Her biography of Britain's only female Nobel-prizewinning scientist, Dorothy Hodgkin: A Life (Granta 1998), was shortlisted for the Duff Cooper Prize and the Marsh Biography Award, and was reissued by Bloomsbury Reader in 2014. She has written five further books on 20th and 21st century science and history.
ISBN 9781781259160

Lord David Sainsbury's ambition to take on some of society's biggest challenges with compassion, thoughtfulness, and rigor is inspiring. It's been a pleasure to get to know him through his involvement in the Giving Pledge.

- Bill Gates, co-chair, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

This book is about 50 years of the Gatsby Foundation conceived, founded and funded by David Sainsbury, Britain's most generous philanthropist. It is an inspiring story of human generosity, the power of engaged philanthropy, and how science and education can make the world better.

- Sir Paul Nurse, former president of the Royal Society and chief executive of the Francis Crick Institute

The Gatsby Charitable Foundation has shown that philanthropy can promote innovation and risk taking for the benefit of us all. This timely book is a stimulating journey through years of insightful and transformative grant-making.

- Dawn Austwick, CEO of the Big Lottery Fund

David Sainsbury's 50 years of outstanding philanthropic work has unlocked social progress in a unique way - venturing into areas where no one has gone, testing ideas no one has thought of, sponsoring lifesaving and life enhancing innovations no one has championed and by investing in the best of causes his charities have transformed conditions for millions.

- Gordon Brown, MP, former Prime Minister and Chancellor of the Exchequer

An elegantly written book about a foundation whose influence and example stretch well beyond its UK roots.

- Alliance

Praise for Dorothy Hodgkin: A Life
'This life of Hodgkin is in the top rank of scientific biographies, hooking the reader from the first page and keeping you absorbed to the end

- The Sunday Times

Ferry has brilliantly captured the flavour of a century of science

- New Scientist

The Common Thread
'Unputdownable stuff

- The Times

A Computer Called LEO
'One reads it with admiration and fascination... cool, poised and elegant storytelling

- Daily Telegraph

Max Perutz and the Secret of Life
'Engrossing... Ferry is rapidly turning into the most interesting science writer going

- Guardian