British foundation giving edges towards £3 billion


Alliance magazine


British foundations’ grant-making increased to a record £2.7 billion according to Foundation Giving Trends 2016, a report published today by the UK’s Association of Charitable Foundations.

While still falling short of the pre-recession peak of £2.5 billion (£2.9 billion adjusted for inflation), the findings demonstrate foundations’ resilience as a source of funding to address social issues in the UK and beyond.

The eight annual report, led by Professor Cathy Pharoah of the Centre for Giving and Philanthropy at Cass Business School and funded by the Pears Foundation, ranks the top 300 UK foundations by the value of their grant-making.

In addition to providing data on the size, shape and nature of foundations’ contributions, it also details the spending trajectories of family and corporate foundations. It shows family giving growing by around 5 per cent each year. At £1.7 billion, giving from family foundations now accounts for almost two thirds of total grant-making in the UK. Corporate giving reached a level of £232 million in 2014/15 (up from £216 million in 2013-14), a rise of over 40 per cent in real terms in the past five years.

This year’s report also explores where foundation grants are spent through analysis of over 16,000 grants. The sectors receiving the most funding were education (24 per cent) followed by health (11 per cent) and arts/culture (11 per cent).

The Association of Charitable Foundations, an umbrella body for UK foundations, commented:

‘We hope that practitioners and policy-makers use this research to better understand the currents and drivers that propel philanthropy in the UK…at their best [foundations] are the most transparent, intentional and efficient way of transforming private wealth into public benefit’

Lead author of the report Cathy Pharoah added:

‘New innovations this year give us an even richer picture of the philanthropic landscape and contribute to an increased evidence-base on this vital part of the civil society landscape.’

For more information, see the full report here.

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