There is no single approach to philanthropy – giving means different things to different people. However you choose to share your wealth, your priority will be to make sure that your giving has as much impact as possible.

While many philanthropists have established their own foundations in order to give away wealth, others prefer to donate to existing causes, or to organise their giving through a donor-advised fund. For more and more of our clients, philanthropy is an important part of their lives, business and families.

There is no single approach: what you give and how will depend on your circumstances, passions and priorities. The constant is that every philanthropist wants their giving to be as effective as possible. This is where we can assist.

Helping you to help

We have been acting for successful people and their families for more than 100 years, representing many well-known names from around the world. In the UK alone we have represented 35% of the Sunday Times Giving List.

When a client asks us to assist with their philanthropic work, we begin by asking plenty of questions. Do you have a cause in mind that you would like to support? Is it a one-off project or an ongoing concern? What terms and conditions (for example naming rights) should we agree? Are you interested in the tax benefits of your gift? Would you like your family to be involved? Like many of you, we are truly global – with one of the largest charity and philanthropy teams worldwide. We can support you with all types of giving, including to develop innovative solutions for cross-border giving.

When a client asks us to assist with their philanthropic work, we get to know you by asking plenty of questions. Are you looking to fund a range of projects or do you have a particular cause in mind? Is it a one-off project or would you like to create a lasting legacy? Would you like your family to be involved in your giving? Do you want to be engaged or perhaps more private?

Looking to the future

In getting to know your giving priorities, we can advise on the most suitable method of giving. We will advise you on tax and succession planning and can call on our global network of contacts to align you with suitable partners in the giving sector. Over time we can help you to expand your philanthropic activities, or bring the next generation on board.

Whatever your motivation for giving, it is our pleasure to support you in supporting your chosen cause.

For further help or information

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2022 Ranked in Chambers UK - Charities (Band 1)

2022 Legal 500 Top Tier Firm for Charities and Not-for-Profit

2021 STEP Winner: Charity Team Of The Year

2021 Legal 500, Leading firm for charities and not-for-profit

2021 Ranked in Chambers UK - Charities (Band 2)

Finalist for STEP Philanthropy Team of the Year 2020


From both its London and Hong Kong offices Withers has been key in providing SharedImpact with the legal structures for our international network of charities to enable tax-efficient global philanthropy. Withers stands out with its consistent and timely advice, and is the authoritative voice in this sector.

Bob North - SharedImpact

Withers really understands the advisory needs of donor advised funds, and particularly US and UK qualified ones.


Withers has been very helpful in providing many aspects of legal advice that our family office requires.  They are professional and always respond to us quickly.

Annie Yang - Yu Qing Family Office

Withers provides Two Wheels for Life with invaluable guidance and support. Their team shows a real understanding of how to apply charity law while having a sympathetic and realistic approach to our challenging mission.

Andrea Coleman - Two Wheels For Life

In the Withers charities team the overall level of service is outstanding, with prompt responses forthcoming coupled with insightful advice and robust knowledge.

Legal 500 UK, 2018

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Track record

Managing unexpected wealth

A married couple who held shares in a US company came to us after coming into considerable wealth when it was sold. We helped them to handle the complex tax obligation arising from the windfall and advised on how to protect their privacy. We also discussed routes to philanthropic giving, an area that they were keen to explore and one in which Withers has considerable experience.

US / UK interests

We assisted a family in efficient structuring of the family's business activities in the US and the UK as well as their family charitable foundation. The unique nature of our US team based in London enabled us to provide both the UK and US advice on the structuring and charitable foundation under one roof.

Worldwide philanthropic activities

We advised a Middle Eastern family who were actively engaged in philanthropic activities around the world. We created a Jersey based charitable foundation to focus the families's activities.

Dr. Lui Che Woo

Dr. Lui Che Woo is one of Hong Kong's most successful businessmen, and a member of the Standing Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference. Withers was given the opportunity to advise Dr. Lui Che Woo on the creation of his aptly named LUI Che Woo Prize - the 'Prize for World Civilisation'.

Charity of international sportsman

Assisted a well-known international sportsman with the creation of an Italian charity to support philanthropic projects and fundraising events in Italy.

Philanthropy for an order of Roman Catholic nuns

Represented an order of Roman Catholic nuns wishing to use their real estate, a five acre, 100+ year old legacy garden, for philanthropic purposes and in accordance with the charism of their order. We arranged for the garden to be owned by an independent nonprofit corporation qualified under the IRC as a private operating foundation, with directors appointed from the community and a permanent supporting endowment. The garden will be used for contemplative and meditative exercise.

The giving pledge

Assisted a client with her estate plan to meet her goal to ensure more than half of her estate goes to giving back to her community and charitable organizations.

Prominent New York historical museum

Provided ongoing pro-bono work for a prominent New York historical museum.

Non-grantor charitable lead annuity trust

Assisted an ultra high net worth individual with his charitable endeavors and continued support of research at an elite education institution.  We worked with the individual to establish a non-grantor charitable lead annuity trust, a technique that also incorporated beneficial tax planning for our client.

Charitable and non-profit entities

Creation and ongoing representation of charitable and non-profit entities, including public charities, private foundations, and charitable trusts (charitable remainder trusts and charitable lead trusts).

Major new organisation in charity fundraising

Withers has supported our client on all its charity law advice as a major new organisation in charity fundraising in the UK.

Masks for NHS Heroes

We worked with not-for-profit organisation masks4NHSHeroes to help register it as a charity so that it can drive forwards its vital fundraising work. The organisation, founded by three doctors amongst others, is looking to raise funds from donations to purchase personal protective equipment to supplement the NHS’s efforts to properly protect health workers as they treat patients with COVID-19. Starting with an initial target of £200k on Crowdfunder, this was surpassed in a short space of time, including a large donation from actor James McAvoy, and masks4NHSHeroes has raised over £2m to source, donate and distribute the equipment.

Leading American Foundation in London

Governance and fundraising advice to a leading american school foundation both in London and the United States. We provided wide-ranging US and English law advice to the Foundation on a very diverse range of matters relating to its governance, fundraising and dual-qualified structure.

Leading American Foundation in London

Governance and fundraising advice to a leading american school foundation both in London and the United States. We provided wide-ranging US and English law advice to the Foundation on a very diverse range of matters relating to its governance, fundraising and dual-qualified structure.

Italian fashion brand setting up their own Foundation

Assisted a well-known Italian fashion brand with setting up a foundation which will carry out cultural projects in the fields of fashion and the arts. The Foundation will sponsor and promote, both in Italy and abroad, activities related to Italian excellence in industry, craftsmanship, arts and culture. Our advice focused on a preliminary analysis of the legal structure best suited to the project.

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