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Grantmaking by largest foundations up 10 per cent despite fall in income

10 Oct 2019 News

The largest 300 charitable foundations excluding the Wellcome Trust have increased the amount they hand out in grants by 9.9 per cent, according the latest trends report from the Association of Charitable Foundations. 

Foundation Giving Trends 2019 has been published today with in-depth analysis of the giving and income trends at the largest 300 foundations in the UK.

The Wellcome Trust is by far the largest grantmaker in the UK, handing out £349m in the year to September 2018. However, this was significantly down on last year’s figure of £844m, with the report saying this is expected to increase again next year. 

Total giving for the top 300 foundations, which includes the 150 largest family foundations and top 50 corporate foundations, was £2.9bn. 

Fall in foundation income 

There was a 1.7 per cent fall in total income to £3.7bn, compared to “robust growth” the previous year, the report said. 

This is because income from investments has fallen by nearly 6 per cent to £1.4bn. 

The research is carried out by Cathy Pharoah, visiting professor at the Centre for Charitable Giving at Cass Business School, and Dr Catherine Walker of The Researchery. The research is supported by Pears Foundation. 

Pharoah said: “This year’s findings demonstrate how individual foundations address the challenges of an increasingly complex funding environment, and demonstrate the importance of digging deeper into the headline trends to see the stories that lie beneath. 

“Although overall giving continues to increase, it is notable that many foundations saw reductions in their income or assets which may be a driver for decision-making in future years.” 

Top 20

The top 20 foundations by grantmaking are: 

  1. Wellcome Trust - £349m 
  2. Children’s Investment Fund Foundation - £162.4m 
  3. Leverhulme Trust - £106.2m 
  4. Comic Relief - £72.8m 
  5. BBC Children in Need - £70m 
  6. Garfield Weston Foundation - £67.7m 
  7. BHP Billiton Sustainable Communities - £53.2m 
  8. Football Foundation - £49.7m 
  9. Lempriere Pringle 2015 - £46.2m 
  10. Grace Trust - £41.4m 
  11. Esmée Fairbairn Foundation - £40.5m 
  12. The Health Foundation - £36.7m 
  13. Arcadia Fund - £31.7m 
  14. Wolfson Foundation - £31.7m 
  15. Henry Smith Charity - £30.9m
  16. Monument Trust - £27.3m 
  17. Bridge House Estates - £25.6m 
  18. Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat International - £24.4m 
  19. Paul Hamlyn Foundation - £24.3m 
  20. The Pears Family Charitable Foundation - £24m