Charitable giving by family foundations falls slightly in 2010/11, report shows

But Family Foundation Giving Trends, co-written by Cathy Pharoah of the Centre for Charitable Giving and Philanthropy, reveals an overall increase if the largest foundation, the Wellcome Trust, is excluded

Cathy Pharoah
Cathy Pharoah

Giving by the UK’s 100 largest family foundations increased by 6.2 per cent in 2010/11 if the Wellcome Trust, the biggest foundation, is discounted, a new report shows.

The Family Foundation Giving Trends survey, which is in its fifth year and is produced by the Centre for Charitable Giving and Philanthropy and the Pears Foundation, found that there was a 1.8 per cent fall in giving among all the top 100 foundations compared with the previous year.

But if the Wellcome Trust, which has assets worth three times that of the next largest foundation, was excluded there would have been a 6.2 per cent rise in giving over the period, it found. Giving by the Wellcome Trust fell by £38m to £597m in 2010/11.

The value of the top 100 foundations’ assets fell by 3.5 per cent over the course of the year to 2010/11, the report says.

Some foundations significantly increased giving over the course of the year, including Gatsby, one of the Sainsbury Family Charitable Trusts, which increased giving by £34m, Esmée Fairbairn, which gave £10m more than in 2009/10 and Garfield Weston, the second largest foundation, which gave £6.6m more.

More than half of those surveyed said they thought there would be less funding from family foundations over the next few years.

Cathy Pharoah, professor of charity funding at Cass Business School and one of the report’s authors, said: "I think it is quite positive that foundations are still reaping the benefits of fortunes made over the last couple of decades.

"What is less positive is that foundations themselves don’t think they will grow over the next few years. But I think we may not see the same levels of growth going forward."

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