Research publications


Cathy Pharoah, Richard Jenkins and Keiran Goddard

Publication date

May 2014



Hardcopy Price

Members: £25
Non-members: £25

This publication, detailing the size, shape and trajectory of foundation giving, was funded by Pears Foundation and produced by ACF in collaboration with the Centre for Charitable Giving and Cass Business School, and builds on Professor Cathy Pharoah’s established work on financial trends among foundations and includes ACF member perspectives.

The report is a discussion of key findings and a practitioner perspective and is the first edition of a new series of research briefings. Building on the track record of its companion ‘Family Foundation Giving Trends’ the briefings reveal key data about the vast majority of trust and foundation giving in the UK. Although there are roughly 10,000 foundations in the UK the top 300 account for 90% of the value of all their giving.

The report reveals that foundation giving to charitable causes grew by £271 million, or 10%, whilst income fell by the same amount. This “unprecedented finding” highlights the importance of foundation assets, which have enabled several larger foundations to fund ‘counter-cyclically’ through a time of elevated need and reduced government expenditure. However, such spending decisions have been made at a time of low investment returns, intensifying the pressure on trustees to balance today’s pressing issues with maintaining their spending power for future generations.

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