On this page you will find information about our Stronger Foundations initiative. We will keep this page updated as the initiative develops.

You can also join the conversation on Twitter #StrongerFoundations


Stronger Foundations is a process of inquiry that is challenging and proactive, to identify key principles and aspirations of what it means to be a ‘stronger’ foundation, both now and in order to prepare for a changing world. It aims to answer the question:

‘What is excellence in all areas of foundation practice and how can we achieve it?’

It was launched in December 2017 in response to a call from ACF members to have more challenging discussions about foundation practice, informed by evidence, subject experts and those in other sectors and jurisdictions, to identify principles of excellence and a route to realising them in practice.

It directly involves more than 70 member representatives across 6 working groups, with many more members engaged through consultation and regional events across the UK.

It is an inclusive process that values varied perspectives, and will be relevant both to foundations at an advanced stage of thinking and to those at an early stage of their deliberation.

ACF staff serves each group as secretariat, and are responsible for the drafting process and dissemination, with the executive responsible for sign-off of key products and ACF’s trustee board providing strategic oversight.

A Strategic Reference Group will be convened later in the project, comprised of the group chairs, ACF board members and others, to ensure coherence between the evidence of the working groups, refine and test key recommendations and proposals.

Intended outputs, outcomes and impact

Stronger Foundations is a process, not an event. The process may prove to be the most important product and become a model for a way of working. It aims to ensure that all foundation resources are used in the most effective way possible, that foundations will be robust and legitimate, and that UK foundations will pursue world class practice.

As well as demonstrating a methodology for how foundations may collectively and individually improve practice, Stronger Foundations will produce a range of outputs throughout, including blogs and articles, notes of meetings, selected further reading pages, a practical self-assessment tool, an evidence report, and will inform ACF’s own learning programme and policy work.

Thematic areas

Six key thematic areas have been identified, each of which will be the focus of working groups chaired by and comprised of members, with support from ACF:

  • Equality and diversity
  • Impact and learning
  • Strategy and governance
  • Transparency and engagement
  • Funding practices
  • Intentional investing

All of these groups will go live during 2018. Soon, you will be able to find out more about each group, see updates from the meetings after they take place, and find out how to get involved.

How to get involved

To speak to ACF about how your foundation can be involved in Stronger Foundations, please contact Esther Thompson (Head of Learning and Events) at esther@acf.org.uk. You can find out more about the process and progress of the initiative from Max Rutherford (Head of Policy) at max@acf.org.uk


Page updated 29 June 2018

Learning and Evaluation Officer

Lloyds Bank Foundation for England and Wales

Salary Circa £27,000 + competitive benefits

Application deadline 23 July 2018

Do you want to build evidence for the charities working on Britain’s toughest problems?

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Grants Officer (Maternity Cover)

Bernard Sunley Foundation

Salary £36,000-£40,000pa

Application deadline 10:00, 23 July 2018

The Foundation is seeking a Grants Officer on a 15-month maternity contract to join their team of three. This person works closely with the Director and Finance Officer to ensure the effective and efficient management of the Foundation’s grant making to organisations. The role involves managing a demanding workload from applicant enquiries and applications to assessments and visits, using Salesforce as a database. The role involves liaising with a wide variety of people from many different backgrounds who have varying levels of knowledge and understanding of grant making.

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Grants Programme Manager (Older People & Housing)

The Mercers' Company

Salary Competitive plus a generous benefits package

Application deadline 10:00, 23 July 2018

The Company is looking to recruit Grants Programme Manager to support the development of the Older People and Housing grant programmes which are aligned to the Company’s philanthropic strategic aims.

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Head of Programme, Jerwood Visual Arts

Jerwood Charitable Foundation

Salary £34,000

Application deadline 25 July 2018

Jerwood Charitable Foundation seeks to appoint a maternity cover for the role of Head of Programme, Jerwood Visual Arts. Jerwood Visual Arts is a national programme supporting visual arts practice, through which Jerwood Charitable Foundation provides the necessary curatorial support and well-resourced opportunities for early career artists to make increasingly ambitious new work.

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Grants Officer, West London

Jack Petchey Foundation

Salary £25,000 - £29,000 depending on experience

Application deadline 27 July 2018

Are you interested in working for a Charitable Foundation that makes a difference?


Do you want to work for an organisation that positively promotes young people and celebrates their achievements?


Do you have excellent administrative, organisation and analytical skills?


If so, could you join our dynamic Grants Team as our Grants Officer for the West London area?


About the role


We’re looking for an enthusiastic person to join our dynamic Grants team and help deliver our grants programmes. The primary focus of the role will be to support approx. 400 organisations managing the Achievement Award Scheme, the flagship programme of the Jack Petchey Foundation within the West London area.

The role will also require the post holder to develop membership of the Achievement Award Scheme, promoting it to schools, colleges and eligible youth organisations that are not currently part of the scheme.  The grants officer will also be responsible for promoting, assessing and managing other small grants and programmes, as well as attending a large number of prestigious events hosted by the Jack Petchey Foundation which celebrate the successes of young people


About the person


You will be a team player who can demonstrate strong communication and financial management skills and will have the ability to think creatively and analytically.

You will need to be flexible and be able to work in a fast paced, varied and diverse office.

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Director of Learning and Advocacy


Salary Circa £65,000

Application deadline 29 July 2018

We are looking for someone with considerable experience in leading a research and advocacy function preferably in the social sector. You should be recognised as a thought leader and have a track record of using learning to bring about tangible change. You should be able to make learning practical and relevant and be able to evidence an engaging and exciting written style. If you thrive in working in an environment where you can shape and develop structures and processes, are collaborative and have a passion for supporting charities and social enterprises, we hope you apply.

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Programme Manager (Science and Medicine)

Wolfson Foundation

Salary A competitive remuneration package

Application deadline 2 August 2018

An exciting opportunity exists to join the staff of the Wolfson Foundation as the Programme Manager (Science & Medicine). This role will take responsibility for the Foundation’s wide-ranging funding programmes across science and medicine, including the health and disability funding programme. This role will also have responsibility for grants made by the Wolfson Family Charitable Trust (an endowment of some £40 million, with grant spend of £1.5 million pa). 

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Grants Manager (Maternity cover)

The Henry Smith Charity

Salary £36,000 - £38,000 per annum

Application deadline 2 August 2018

The Henry Smith Charity is one of the largest grant making foundations in the UK distributing around £30m of grants each year. We are delighted to be recruiting for a Grants Manager (one year maternity cover) to join their current team of six.

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Legal Counsel

Guy's and St Thomas' Charity

Salary Competitive

Application deadline 6 August 2018

We are seeking a lawyer to take the role of Legal Counsel and Company Secretary. This new role has been created to respond to the Charity’s increasingly complex portfolio of legal, contractual and regulatory issues. In our programmatic charitable activities, we are providing support to a wider range of third parties through grants, contracts, loans and investments.

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