Share

Northern Rock Foundation CEO calls for more data about foundation giving

Northern Rock Foundation CEO calls for more data about foundation giving
News

Northern Rock Foundation CEO calls for more data about foundation giving

Fundraising | Jenna Pudelek | 1 May 2014

Collecting and analysing more data about foundation giving at a local level is "imperative", the chief executive of the Northern Rock Foundation has said. 

Speaking at the launch of the Association of Charitable Foundation’s (ACF) report on foundation giving trends on Wednesday, Penny Wilkinson, chief executive of the Northern Rock Foundation, said there was a “crucial gap” in the data that needed to be filled.

The Northern Rock Foundation, which announced last week that it was being forced to close after failing to reach a funding agreement with Virgin Money, the new owner of Northern Rock bank, began carrying out local level research on the voluntary sector in the North East and Cumbria, the areas where it funds, in 2007.

Wilkinson said: “There is a set of data not yet available that is a crucial gap that needs to be filled – where foundations are spending their money.”

The ACF’s research includes country level analysis of the percentage of its members funding in England (93 per cent), Wales (40 per cent), Northern Ireland (35 per cent) and Scotland (42 per cent), but not regionally.

It also shows that foundations gave grants of £174m to arts and culture in 2011/12, up 16 per cent on the previous year.

“It is good news for the cultural sector but what does it mean?” Wilkinson said. “Is it good news for all cultural sector organisations or just some? Is it a trend across the UK or is it concentrated in certain parts of the country and in certain types of institutions?”

She said some foundations, including Esmée Fairbairn and Garfield Weston, did report on regional levels of spending, but it was not comprehensive across the sector.

“The funding landscape is so challenging,” she said. “It is imperative now, especially if the government sees the foundation sector as a means of achieving national policy objectives.
 
“If it is concentrated somewhere, people tend to think it is down south, but we might be wrong, it is important for the capacity and sustainability of the voluntary sector outside those areas, it is essential for foundations to report on where as well as what they fund.”

Wilkinson also made a case for the need to “drill down” into what is funded within wide categories such as ‘older people’ and ‘social welfare’.

Top causes are health and social welfare

The ACF’s report, which was produced with the Centre for Giving and Philanthropy at Cass Business School and supported by the Pears Foundation, shows the top funding areas are health and social welfare, which are funded by 38.5 per cent of ACF members.  

“I wanted to know more about the breakdown within those categories. How much is going to supporting the most vulnerable such as victims of domestic and sexual violence, refugees and asylum seekers,” she said.

As the report points out, foundations have the independence to fund neglected or unpopular causes, the projects that government agencies cannot or will not support and to challenge received wisdom. But Wilkinson questioned whether the sector knew that was happening.

Wilkinson said the individual experience of Northern Rock Foundation, which is number 48 in the top 300 UK foundations, giving £8.7m in the year to December 2012, was reflected in the trends revealed by the report.

The report shows grantmaking is up but total income has fallen. “We were faced a major reduction in income in 2011 and 2012 and decided it was important to spend capital to continue to make grants rather than reduce support,” she said. “Our trustees felt it was the right decision given the funding challenges faced by the voluntary sector and the rising need.”

Comments

[Cancel] | Reply to:

Close »

Community Standards

The civilsociety.co.uk community and comments board is intended as a platform for informed and civilised debate.

We hope to encourage a broad range of views, however, there are standards that we expect commentators to uphold. We reserve the right to delete or amend any comments that do not adhere to these standards.

We welcome:

  • Robust but respectful debate
  • Strongly held opinions
  • Intelligent relevant discussion
  • The sharing of relevant experiences
  • New participants

We will not publish:

  • Rude, threatening, offensive, obscene or abusive language, or links to such material
  • Links to commercial organisations or spam postings. The comments board is not an advertising platform
  • The posting of contact details for yourself or others
  • Comments intended for malicious purpose or mindless abuse
  • Comments purporting to be from another person or organisation under false pretences
  • Gratuitous criticism, commentary or self-promotion
  • Any material which breaches copyright or privacy laws, or could be considered libellous
  • The use of the comments board for the pursuit or extension of personal disputes

Be aware:

  • Views expressed on the comments board are left at users’ discretion and are in no way views held or supported by Civil Society Media
  • Comments left by others may not be accurate, do not rely on them as fact
  • You may be misunderstood - sarcasm and humour can easily be taken out of context, try to be clear

Please:

  • Enjoy the opportunity to express your opinion and respect the right of others to express theirs
  • Confine your remarks to issues rather than personalities

Together we can keep our community a polite, respectful and intelligent platform for discussion.

Free eNews

Sector must address gap between public perception of charities and the truth, says Sir Stuart Etherington

28 Jan 2015

Public perception of what charities do can be very different to the truth and an "intelligent engagement...

Caron Bradshaw: ‘I think we took on too much too quickly’

28 Jan 2015

The chief executive of the Charity Finance Group, Caron Bradshaw, said yesterday that her charity took...

WWF UK’s total income rose seven per cent in 2014 financial year

27 Jan 2015

WWF UK's total income for the year ending June 2014 rose to £62.2m, an increase of £3.8m, or seven per...

Northern Ireland charity regulator opens consultation on draft equality guidance

28 Jan 2015

The Charity Commission for Northern Ireland is appealing for the public to take part in a consultation...

Staff continue to work without pay for six weeks as homelessness charity enters administration

27 Jan 2015

Swansea charity Cyrenians Cymru formally entered administration yesterday as it is revealed that staff...

New four-year NCS programme planned for Northern Ireland

26 Jan 2015

The Northern Ireland government is currently finalising plans to unveil a renewed, four year programme...

NGO domain pages will launch in May

28 Jan 2015

The Public Interest Registry will make the .ngo generic top-level domain name generally available from...

Comparison website for special needs services launched by charity consortium

23 Jan 2015

A coalition of social care charities has launched a TripAdvisor-style website, designed to help families...

CRUK debuts contactless giving through shop windows

21 Jan 2015

Cancer Research UK has announced a collaboration with outdoor media owner Clear Channel to bring contactless...

Join the discussion

Twitter button

@CSFundraising