Grantmaking by top 300 foundations rises to ‘record high’ of £2.9bn

26 Sep 2017 News

Large foundations made a record £2.9bn of grants in the last financial year - a growth of 12 per cent on the previous year - according to a report from the Association of Charitable Foundations. 

Giving Trends 2017 was published this morning. It tracks the activity of the top 300 grantmakers, which between them contribute around two-fifths of the total grant spending by charitable foundations. Figures are taken from the most recent year for which there are accounts.

It found that grantmaking by the top foundations reached £2.9bn – an increase of 12 per cent on the previous year – which the ACF said indicated that foundations were translating their own growth in income into more grants for charities. 

According to the report there was a 5.5 per cent growth in foundations’ investment income and a 1.9 per cent growth in voluntary income. Foundations saw their assets grow by 9.8 per cent to reach a high of £60bn. 

The research is led by professor Cathy Pharoah, of the Centre for Giving and Philanthropy at the Cass Business School, and Dr Catherine Walker of The Researchery. It is published by the Association of Charitable Foundations (ACF), and substantially supported by the Pears Foundation. 

Keiran Goddard, head of external affairs at the ACF, said: “This year’s findings once again demonstrate the flexibility, robustness and effectiveness of the foundation model.”

Top 20 grantmakers 

The report ranks the foundations by the value of their grantmaking as well as providing commentary on the current state of the sector. 

For the most part the top 10 remained unchanged from the previous year, with the Wellcome Trust by far the largest grantmaker. 

The Westminster Foundation has risen to seventh in the rankings from 125 last year after a one-off gift of £40m for the Defence and National Rehabilitation Centre for armed forces personnel. 

Meanwhile the Gatsby Charitable Foundation rose from 18th position to eighth and the Lloyd's Register Foundation rose from 42nd to tenth. 

The top 20 foundations by grantmaking are: 

  1. Wellcome Trust - £711.7m 
  2. Children’s Investment Fund Foundation - £148.9m 
  3. Leverhulme Trust - £107.2m 
  4. Comic Relief - £102.4m 
  5. Garfield Weston Foundation - £58.4m 
  6. BBC Children in Need Appeal - £53.7m 
  7. Westminster Foundation - £41.9m 
  8. Gatsby Charitable Foundation - £41.5m 
  9. Esmée Fairbairn Foundation - £34.8m 
  10. Lloyd's Register Foundation - £31.9m 
  11. Monument Trust - £30.1m 
  12. Grace Trust - £29.7m
  13. Henry Smith Charity - £28.7m 
  14. British Gas Energy Trust - £28.6m
  15. Wolfson Foundation - £27.5 m
  16. Sigrid Rausing Trust - £26.6m 
  17. Arcadia - £25.3m 
  18. Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat International - £23.9m 
  19. Goldman Sachs Gives (UK) - £22.79m
  20. BHP Billiton Sustainable Communities - £22.49m 


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