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Foundation giving rises by 10% despite fall in income

ACF has today launched a new research publication detailing the size, shape and trajectory of foundation giving in the UK. Foundation Giving Trends 2014, funded by Pears Foundation and produced by ACF in collaboration with the Centre for Charitable Giving and Philanthropy at Cass Business School, will build on Professor Cathy Pharoah’s established work on financial trends among foundations and includes ACF member perspectives.


The report was launched with 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 will 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.