Family Foundation Giving Trends 2014

May 7, 2014 | Category: CGAP News

The first of a new series of annual research reports has just been launched. Foundation Giving Trends, led by Professor Cathy Pharoah of the Centre for Giving and Philanthropy at the Cass Business School, is published by the Association of Charitable Foundations, and substantially supported by the Pears Foundation.

The report reveals that foundation giving to charitable causes grew by £271 million, or 10%, whilst income fell by the same amount. This “unprecedented finding” highlights the importance of foundation assets, which have enabled several larger foundations to fund ‘counter-cyclically’ through a time of elevated need and reduced government expenditure. However, such spending decisions have been made at a time of low investment returns, intensifying the pressure on trustees to balance today’s pressing issues with maintaining their spending power for future generations.

As well as ranking the top 300 Foundations by the value of their grant-making, the report also provides fresh insight into the size, shape and nature of foundations’ contribution to UK civil society. The picture that emerges is of a deeply diverse sector, using its independence in order to respond flexibly to need, make bold interventions in line with its charitable purposes, and support advocacy.

Discussing the value of the report, which also draws on findings from a new ACF Member Survey and features a range of guest commentators, ACF Policy Advisor Richard Jenkins, said:

“Over the coming years this programme of research will track key indicators of the health of the foundation sector:  its giving, its income and the value of its assets. This vital research will help us see the patterns of change in order for philanthropists, practitioners and policymakers to make better decisions based on an understanding of the factors that drive the sector. “

Professor Cathy Pharoah, said:

“Better data on philanthropy is increasingly vital. It helps provide a realistic context for assessing the feasibility of political aspirations for the role of private philanthropy in public welfare provision. We also need to know whether philanthropy is growing at a time of increasing private wealth, but continuing social inequality.”

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