Stronger Foundations is a flagship ACF project that aims to help grant-making charitable foundations identify and pursue ambitious practice.
Pursuit of the 40 'pillars of practice' will enable foundations to be ambitious, effective and expert, so that their resources are allocated for social good, maximising the potential benefit to the people, communities and societies they support.
Members can now assess themselves against the pillars of stronger foundation practice. Click here to find out more
Report launch webinar recordings
Stronger Foundations is the largest foundation engagement initiative globally to date. ACF members have been involved through six working groups, with many more involved through regular communications, regional events across the nations of the UK (in collaboration with existing funder networks), and member surveys on particular issues.
More than 100 foundation representatives were directly involved through one of six working groups between May 2018 and May 2020, each of which focussed on a different thematic area (see below). The working groups' main task was to examine, discuss and debate a series of challenging questions about foundation practice related to its theme. They were comprised of senior foundation representatives drawn from across ACF's membership, including a member of ACF’s board.
Each group met 7 times over an 18 month period. Meetings varied in format depending on the topic and desired content, including more than 50 presentations of evidence (by internal and external experts), small group discussions, whole group exercises and visits. You can find out more about each of the working groups by clicking on the thematic areas below.
After all six working groups concluded their work, ACF published a series of reports on the 'pillars of stronger foundation practice' for each thematic area. These are available at the top of this page. ACF is now supporting its members and the wider foundation sector to implement the recommendations and pursue stronger practice.
Central to the initiative are six thematic areas, which were identified through consultation with ACF members and others. To read about the progress of the six Stronger Foundation working groups, please click on the links below:
- Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
- Impact and Learning
- Transparency and engagement
- Strategy and governance
- Funding practices
Charitable foundations are an integral part of civil society, and major supporters of it. Stronger Foundations provided ACF with an opportunity to engage members and enable conversations across the foundation sector, but it was essential that the initiative enabled contributions from those beyond the foundation community. External contributors were involved throughout, including critical friends, sector colleagues, funding recipients, academics and policy-makers. You can read snapshots of all 42 working group meetings on the relevant thematic pages.
Blogs and social media
ACF published a range of materials throughout, including articles and blogs, webinars and via social media using the hashtag #StrongerFoundations. You can find many of these on the individual Working Group pages, including a snapshot of every working group session. Below is a list of blogs on the initative's themes:
- Why we need to stop talking about equality! from Fozia Irfan, member of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion working group
- Trusts and foundations have a diversity deficit from James Fitzpatrick, member of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion working group
- Charities and public benefit: the ends reall don't justify the means from Jonathan Freeman, member of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion working group
- Choosing the right funding tool from Anthony Tomei, member of the Funding Practices working group
- Strategic litigation - a risk worth taking? from Max Rutherford, ACF's Head of Policy
- Transparency, the feedback loop, and user research and design from Anna de Pulford, member of Transparency and Engagement working group
- Is intentional investing beyond returns becoming a moral, social and financial imperative? from Max Rutherford, ACF's Head of Policy
- Thinking big, acting small from Rhiannon Bearne, member of the Funding Practices working group
- Foundations and the art of the soluble from Anthony Tomei, member of the Funding Practices working group
How to get involved
To speak to ACF about how your foundation can be involved in Stronger Foundations, or find out more about the progress to date of the initiative, please contact our Head of Policy, Max Rutherford, at Max@acf.org.uk
You can join the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #StrongerFoundations
Page last updated 22 December 2020