More than a quarter of foundations are failing on accountability, transparency and diversity practices, according to new research.
Twenty-eight of the 100 foundations assessed for the first Foundation Practice Rating were awarded a D grade overall, the lowest score available. Just three were awarded an A grade.
The assessment was carried out by the consultancy and research firm Giving Evidence, using publicly available data and without the involvement of the foundations themselves. The full report will be published next week.
Foundations scored especially poorly on diversity, the research found, with the majority publishing so little relevant information that it was impossible to make any assessment at all, researchers said.
The research also raised concerns about how few foundations had mechanisms in place for communicating with people living with visual or hearing impairments.
Wellcome, the Blagrave Trust and the County Durham Community Foundation all scored A grades, while community foundations were generally awarded higher average scores than other funders.
Rosemary Macdonald, chief executive of United Kingdom Community Foundations, said: “UKCF welcomes any initiative that seeks to improve the accountability, transparency and diversity of our sector.
"We are obviously pleased that the community foundations included in this first sample have been rated comparatively highly and identified as exemplars of best practice.”
The FPR project is funded by 10 foundations, including Friends Provident Foundation, Barrow Cadbury Trust and the Paul Hamlyn Foundation.
The 100 foundations assessed in the study include all 10 funders, plus the five biggest foundations in the UK by grant budget and a sample from large and community foundations.