Trying to change the world through philanthropy without data on what we do is like starting a journey without compass or map. This was the recognition that led to the collaboration between Pears Foundation and the Centre for Charitable Giving and Philanthropy (CGAP) on Family Foundation Giving Trends, which presents annual data on major family foundation giving in the UK, US and Europe. Now into its fifth edition, it has clear objectives: to provide a reliable, accessible and transparent benchmark of family foundation giving and to arouse the interest of wealthy families in philanthropic activities by demonstrating what many are already doing.
So what have the data revealed? That the largest 100 family foundations in the UK are responsible for between 7 and 10 per cent of all charitable giving; that giving through family foundations has been relatively robust through recent economic turbulence compared to individual and corporate giving. Over time, the data will provide an indicator of the response of philanthropy to a prolonged downturn.