Community foundations have risen to a challenge set by the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation by turning an initial investment of £1m into £19.5m in just five years.
Time for Growth was a challenge established by means of a grant from the foundation to the Community Foundation Network in 2000. Five years on, seven of the 10 community foundations that each received a grant of £100,000 achieved their £2m target.
The money was used by the foundations to strengthen their staffing with the aim of generating a combined total of £20m over a three-year period.
Time for Growth aimed to temporarily relieve the foundations of the pressure to secure core costs to support their own grant-giving, enabling them to concentrate on building their endowments and securing long-term sustainability.
Progress made by the foundations has also provided lessons about the techniques each of them used to reach their targets.
Margaret Hyde, director of the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation, said: "The learning in this evaluation will be useful not only to other community foundations, but to all fundraising charities that seek to build their endowments."
The evaluation of the challenge showed a number of changes had contributed to the success, including the employment of specialist fund development staff.