Charitable giving by top UK family foundations fell in 2009/10

The 100 largest UK family foundations gave £1.29bn to charities in 2009/10, compared with £1.41bn in 2008/09

Report co-author Cathy Pharoah
Report co-author Cathy Pharoah

The UK’s top 100 family foundations gave 8.7 per cent less to charities in 2009/10 than in the previous year, according to a new report by the Centre for Charitable Giving and Philanthropy and the Pears Foundation.

Family Foundation Giving Trends 2011, which will be launched this evening, tracks the annual trends in the charitable giving of the largest 100 UK family foundations.

It says that they gave a total of £1.29bn – about 7 per cent of all UK private giving – to charities in 2009/10, a fall of 8.7 per cent on the previous year’s total of £1.41bn.

The report, co-authored by Cathy Pharoah of Cass Business School, Charles Keidan, director of the Pears Foundation, and Jillian Gordon, a lecturer at the Hunter Centre for Entrepreneurship, says falling asset values in 2008/09 were the reason for the decline.

The value of the foundations’ assets increased by 7.8 per cent in 2009/10, which the report says "raises hopes that family foundation giving will increase next year".

When looking at the giving of family foundations over the past five years, the report says they are "one of the most robust sources of philanthropy", because their giving grew by 27 per cent over the period.

"This increase… reflected stronger growth than corporate giving at 7 per cent, and general public giving at -0.4 per cent, during the same period," it says.

The report includes eight case studies of foundations of various sizes and ages. It says that one of the key messages to emerge from the case studies is that "charities, professional advisers and policymakers need to deepen their understanding of the diversity within philanthropy, and develop many more imaginative and supportive ways for potential philanthropists to share experiences and learning".

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