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Gulbenkian Foundation to give more to fewer charities

Howard Lake | 20 January 2009 | News

The Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation is to change the way in which it makes grants, according to its 2009 strategic plan.
The Foundation will be supporting fewer organisations but with larger sums of money, with the aim of achieving greater impact. It will also focus more on identifying potential partners rather than seeking applications for funding. Such partnerships will receive support from one to four years.
Consequently only one strand of funding, the Innovation Programme, will be open to applications. This will support “genuinely innovative ideas and unusual partnerships across the Foundation’s cultural, educational and social interests”.
The Foundation will focus on three key issues:
· cultural understanding – encouraging understanding between people of different cultures;
· fulfilling potential – assisting individuals, especially the vulnerable, to fulfil their potential and contribute to society;
· environment – protecting and caring for the environment.
Launching the 2009 Strategic Plan, the Foundation’s Director Andrew Barnett, acknowledged the economic downturn had had an impact on the new strategy. “The economic downturn makes the challenges we face even more acute and more than ever we need to ensure that our funding is effective”, he said.
The Foundation has headquarters in Lisbon, Portugal, and a presence in the UK, Ireland and France. Its UK office will be moving to new premises in Hoxton, East London, later in 2009.
Barnett commented: “We will continue to support projects outside London in preference to those based in the capital. But we also want to act locally by supporting a limited number of Hoxton-based projects.
“Whether we offer funding at national, regional or local levels, however, we want to ensure that we always support projects that have a benefit beyond the locality in which they are situated.”