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Fourth year of growth sees foundation giving reach £3.3bn

Fourth year of growth sees foundation giving reach £3.3bn

Foundation giving reached £3.3 billion in the last financial year – an 11% increase on the previous year, according to research from the (ACF).

Assets also reached a new high of £65 billion while income hit £3.7 billion.

The ACF‘s Foundation Giving Trends 2018 looks at the finances and funding of the top 300 UK independent charitable foundations by grant-making. The annual research is carried out by Cathy Pharoah, Visiting Professor at the Centre for Charitable Giving at Cass Business School, and Dr Catherine Walker of The Researchery, and supported by Pears Foundation.

According to the report, 63% of foundations increased their grant-making in real terms in 2016/17 on the back of growth in income and/or assets. Income from donations and investments both grew by around 10%, while average asset growth of 5% shrank to 2.5% after excluding the Wellcome Trust. The report also details trends among family foundations and corporate foundations. Family foundation giving totalled more than £2bn, while corporate foundation giving shrank slightly this year to £228m.

The report also includes a special feature on place-based giving initiatives, showing the range of approaches being taken by foundations of all sizes.



ACF Chief Executive Carol Mack said:

“This year’s research once again demonstrates the strength and resilience of the foundation model, achieving record levels of giving despite a challenging social and economic environment.

“Foundation Giving Trends is a hugely valuable source of data for foundations, policy-makers, and academics alike, providing an evidence base that year-on-year tracks the vital contribution that the sector makes to the health and pluralism of civil society.”

Professor Cathy Pharoah added:

“This latest research in the Foundation Giving Trends series shows a vibrant and diverse sector which is continuing to grow, and that foundations are swiftly passing on income or asset gains to beneficiaries.

“In the tenth year that Pears Foundation has funded research measuring the contribution of family foundations, the finding that giving from this group has now surpassed £2bn demonstrates the growth that has taken place.”




Melanie May is a journalist and copywriter specialising in writing both for and about the charity and marketing services sectors since 2001. She can be reached via

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