Local community organisations: support them or lose them, warns major UK funder


Andrew Milner and Charles Keidan


Small community organisations, which provide vital services in local areas, risk closure without more support from philanthropy. That’s the view of the Garfield Weston Foundation, one the UK’s largest foundations which has launched the Weston Anniversary Fund to mark its 60th anniversary.

The £5 million fund will award grants in the range of £30,000 to £150,000 to help community charities improve their existing facilities or provide new ones.

The Fund’s focus on community charities comes as a result of a recent survey by the foundation in which 66 per cent of small charities said they expect their income to stay the same or decline in the next 12 months, while 55 per cent expect to be delivering more services. Getting help with refurbishments or a new building was highlighted by charities as an important means of providing new sources of income. ‘At a time when communities are struggling to support those in need, we felt it was important to launch a fund that would help bring local communities together,’ says foundation director, Philippa Charles.

The announcement itself is noteworthy as the Garfield Weston Foundation’s work is relatively un-publicised, despite being one of the UK’s largest foundations. In 2015-16, the foundation’s assets were £12.75 billion according to the Association of Charitable Foundation’s 2017 Foundation Giving Trends report, second only to the Wellcome Trust. The foundation also made grants of £58.4 million in the same year, the fifth largest amount in the UK.

The Garfield Weston Foundation was set up by Willard Garfield Weston, the creator of Associated British Foods in 1958 with a donation from the company. The foundation is still the ultimate controller of the company, in an arrangement more reminiscent of the Bosch or Bertelsmann Foundations in Germany, than of those governing most UK foundations.

For more information about the anniversary fund, see https://garfieldweston.org/launch-60th-anniversary-year

Andrew Milner is associate editor of Alliance. Email andrew@alliancemagazine.org.
Charles Keidan is editor of Alliance. Email charles@alliancemagazine.org.

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