Top 100 family foundations gave £1.4bn last year, says report

This amounted to nine per cent of all private giving in 2008/09, according to Centre for Charitable Giving and Philanthropy and the Pears Foundation

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

The UK’s top 100 family foundations gave £1.4bn to charity in 2008/09, according to a report by the Centre for Charitable Giving Philanthropy and the Pears Foundation.

Family Foundation Giving Trends 2010 says that the asset value of the foundations fell by 12 per cent in 2008/09 compared with the previous year but the money given to charities went down by only 0.2 per cent.

This was 9 per cent of all private giving in 2008/09, the report says.

It also says that the amount given by the top 100 family foundations rose by 40 per cent from £998m to £1.4bn between 2005/06 and 2008/09, despite the economic uncertainty.

The top three family foundations by charitable spending were the Wellcome Trust, which gave £681m, the Gatsby Charitable Foundation, which gave £50m, and the Leverhulme Trust, which gave £45m.

The report challenges the country’s wealthiest individuals to follow the example of existing family foundations by setting up their own.

Cathy Pharoah, co-author of the report and director of the Centre for Charitable Giving and Philanthropy, said family foundations had been quietly taking an active role in communities for generations.

"We’ve seen a number of new foundations coming into the top 100 recently, and I’d like to see the trend towards creating family foundations grow in terms of scale, scope and ambition to meet the escalating needs of society," she said.

The full report will be launched on 16 November at an event at Cass Business School in London.

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