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Top 100 family foundations gave £1.4 billion in 2008/09

Top 100 family foundations gave £1.4 billion in 2008/09

The UK’s largest 100 family foundations donated £1.4 billion to charitable causes in 2008/2009, according to the third annual Family Foundation Giving Trends 2010 report produced by the ESRC Centre for Charitable Giving and Philanthropy and the Pears Foundation.

These 100 foundations accounted for 9% of all private giving to charities during that year.

The amount they gave increased by 40% from 2005/06 to 2008/09; and even though their asset values fell by 12% in that final year, their charitable giving dropped by just 0.2%.

The top 5 family foundations by charitable expenditure were the Wellcome Trust (£681 million), the Gatsby Charitable Foundation (£50 million), the Leverhulme Trust (£45 million), the Wolfson Foundation (£39 million) and the Monument Trust (£35 million)
Between 2005/06 and 2008/09, the value of family foundation giving grew from £998 million to £1.4 billion.

Commenting on the report findings, Trevor Pears, Executive Chair of Pears Foundation, said: “Family foundations have proved remarkably resilient at a time when state resources are stretched and other forms of giving are under pressure. The top 100 Foundations set an example of what passion, commitment and strategic thought can achieve – but it’s not enough. We need hundreds more foundations and many more initiatives which show philanthropy working at its best”.

He called on other wealthy individuals and families to “be inspired, step up and usher in a new age of long term, committed giving.”

Cathy Pharoah, co-author of the report and Professor of Charity and Co-Director of the ESRC Research Centre for Charitable Giving and Philanthropy, Cass Business School, echoed his call, saying: “We’ve seen a number of new foundations coming into the top 100 recently, and I’d like to see the trend towards creating family foundations grow in terms of scale, scope and ambition to meet the escalating needs of society.”

Family Foundation Giving Trends 2010 is the third in a series of annual reports tracking trends in the giving of the largest 100 UK family foundations (by giving). It includes tables of the 100 largest family foundations in the UK by annual charitable spending, benchmarked against giving trends in the UK and US.

The full report will be launched on 16 November at an event at Cass Business School in central London with representatives from some of the UK’s largest foundations.

Howard Lake is a digital fundraising entrepreneur. Publisher of UK Fundraising, the world's first web resource for professional fundraisers, since 1994. Trainer and consultant in digital fundraising. Founder of Fundraising Camp.

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