Number of new grantmaking trusts and foundations hit eight-year high in 2020

01 Feb 2021 News

More than 1,700 grant-giving charitable trusts and foundations were registered with the Charity Commission in 2020, the most for eight years.

Commission data shows a total of 1,731 foundations and trusts were registered during the course of 2020 with the primary purpose of serving as a grant-making institution according to the New Grant-Makers 2020 review published by consultancy Cape Partnership and

Inequalities exacerbated by Covid-19 appear to have motivated some registrations. Matt Moulding, who founded the Moulding Foundation in 2020, said: “It is essential that those who are able to help out, do so.”

The Hut Group (THG) is an online beauty and nutrition business that has made Moulding one of Britain’s wealthiest business people.

The company committed to giving £1m to charity at the beginning of the pandemic, as well as making and distributing £1m of hand sanitiser. Moulding is also to donate £300,000 to the Times appeal, split equally between the three beneficiary charities, FareShare, Sported and Tusk.

Increase in number of grantmaking foundations after economic crisis 

Last year, 2020, saw the highest number of grantmaking foundations and trusts established since 2012.  

The years 2008 to 2012 saw a significant increase in the number of grantmaking foundations established, coinciding with the aftermath of the last economic crisis. 

Furthermore, 45% of all grantmaking foundations and trusts, 27,863 in total, were established over the past 20 years.  

Of the foundations and trusts established in 2020, the majority have defined UK causes as the primary beneficiaries of their intended grantmaking, while 655 foundations and trusts, 38%, state that their funding is geared towards international causes. 

‘The pandemic of 2020 may be the catalyst for a golden era in British philanthropy’

Andrew Wigley, of Cape Partnership, said: “While the registration of foundations and trusts does not provide any guarantee for the level of future funding, it does reveal an intention of philanthropic endeavour. The number of grantmaking foundations and trusts is the highest since the aftermath of the last economic crisis.  17% of all grantmaking charitable institutions expending over £1m in the last financial year were established between 2008 to 2012.

“If the turbulent economic years of 2008 to 2012 provide insights for the future, the pandemic of 2020 may be the catalyst for a golden era in British philanthropy.”

Association of Charitable Foundations

Carol Mack, chief executive of the Association of Charitable Foundations (ACF), said: “The growth in grantmaking trusts established in the last year is something to be celebrated. It should be a great boost to charities and other groups seeking to meet the needs of their communities as they respond to the pandemic at home and abroad.

“The trust and foundation model in this country is the most transparent and effective way for philanthropists to turn their private wealth into public good. These new charities join a great tradition of British philanthropic giving, and each will have their own priorities, governance and purposes. 

“We know from our Stronger Foundations initiative that there are some key ingredients that support grantmakers to maximise the impact that they can achieve with their precious resources, and we would encourage these new charities to build on the good practice that exists in the foundation sector, think collaboratively, listen to diverse voices and ensure that decision-making is informed by those with direct experience of the issues they are addressing. We warmly welcome these new foundations to our sector, and applaud the generosity of their founders at this most challenging of times.”

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