Trusts and foundations have lost between 20 and 30 per cent of their value, but there has not been a commensurate drop in grant making, argued the head of a top foundation.
Dawn Austwick, chief executive of the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation, told the Funding the Future conference in London yesterday that her own organisation maintained its grant-making throughout the downturn at around £26m per annum, and this year expects the value of its grants to remain at that level or higher.
“Trusts and foundations are open for business as usual,” she said, adding “but, we are not operating in usual times”.
But while trusts were proving more resilient than widely predicted, Austwick warned that the worst was yet to come for grant applicants as trusts and foundations will not be able to make up for the expected cuts to statutory funding.
More core funding
Austwick called for trusts and foundations to become funders of “free money” to the sector. She said that around half of Esmee Fairbairn Foundation’s grantmaking had been to fund core costs, and challenged other funders to move towards funding core costs over the next two to three years.
She also told charities at the Action Planning event to be prepared to report back more to their funders. “Foundations will increasingly ask ourselves about how effectively our money has been used,” she said.