Big Giver: Andrews Charitable Trust

Sian Edwards, director of the trust, says it looks for inspirational founders that have strong ideas

Sian Edwards
Sian Edwards

The Andrews Charitable Trust has a long history of supporting start-up charities - in the 1940s its founder, Cecil Jackson-Cole, helped to turn the Oxford Committee for Famine Relief into Oxfam.

Jackson-Cole, a post-war philanthropist and businessman who also co-founded Action Aid and Help the Aged, established the trust in 1965. He endowed it and two other charitable trusts with all the shares of the property company he founded, Andrews & Partners.

Sian Edwards, director of the Andrews Charitable Trust, says its niche continues to be funding new voluntary organisations. She describes its approach as venture philanthropy.

"We provide core funding for the start-up of the organisation," she says. "We are interested in finding real innovation and sustainable and replicable solutions. We look for inspirational founders that have a great idea."

The trust says it operates from a Christian standpoint, but stresses that it supports work for all faiths and none. Edwards says all applications are considered on their merits.

This year, for the first time, the trustees have posted funding preferences on the trust's website: tackling social barriers to educational achievement and improving employment prospects for young people, especially girls, and care for older people. However, Edwards says the trust will consider ideas in other areas.

The trust is funded by the annual dividends it receives as shareholders of the business and spends between £300,000 and £400,000 on three to five projects a year. Applications are considered quarterly. Edwards says the size of grants ranges between £50,000 and £500,000 and can last up to five years.

It is currently supporting a start-up charity called Carers Worldwide, which aims to provide support for carers in the developing world. An initial grant of £25,000 funded research into whether the founder's idea could make a difference; it has now received an additional £50,000 for a year's core funding and more research.

The trust has also given a charity called Restored £130,000 of core funding over three years. The charity tackles domestic violence worldwide by working with churches.

Edwards says successful applications show how projects address a need. "They identify a problem and how the innovation will tackle it," she says.

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