Time for Charitable Foundations to be ‘Fundamental and Widespread’ in UK

By Pears Foundation, PRNE
Saturday, November 12, 2011

LONDON, November 13, 2011 -

UK family foundations - which have contributed £6.4 billion to charitable causes in the past five years - play a crucial role in addressing social issues in the absence of adequate state funding and amongst increasing economic uncertainty, finds the fourth annual Family Foundation Giving Trends 2011 report.

The report, produced by Pears Foundation and the ESRC Research Centre for Charitable Giving and Philanthropy at Cass Business School, found giving from foundations grew by 27% in the past five years (outpacing corporate and public giving). The report calls for greater support to their establishment, to ensure family foundations can become ‘fundamental and widespread’ in the UK.

The main findings of the report are:

The largest 100 UK family foundations gave a total of £1.3 billion to charitable causes in 2009/10 - representing 7% of all UK giving

  1. Family foundation giving grew by a real 27% in total between 2005/6 and 2009/10, contributing a total of £6.4 billion in that period - this was significantly higher than the 7% growth in real value of corporate giving in the same period and of that in general public giving at -0.4%

  2. However, there is a skew towards a few large organisations - the ten largest family foundations by asset size own over 80% of the assets of the top 100

Commenting on the report findings, Charles Keidan, Director of Pears Foundation, said:  ”In a climate of reduced government spending and weak economic growth, family foundations are providing a consistent and vital form of giving. They have an advantage in addressing social needs over ad hoc giving by wealthy individuals, which is more vulnerable to economic change.

“Many people recognise their increasing obligation to society through philanthropy - the report indicates that establishing a family foundation could be the most beneficial contribution they make. We need to see greater support to helping them do this and to ensuring it is not just seen as the preserve of the super rich.”

Family Foundation Giving Trends 2011 is the fourth in a series of annual reports tracking trends in the giving of the largest 100 UK family foundations, by giving. It includes tables of the 100 largest family foundations in the UK by annual charitable spending, benchmarked against giving trends in the UK and US.

This year’s report also looked at case studies of family foundations of varying size and focus.

A central finding was the wide diversity of starting points for, and influences on, involvement in family philanthropy. It also found that philanthropists face new challenges for which the business world only partly prepares them.

Cathy Pharaoh, author of the report and Professor of Charity Funding and co-director of the ESRC Research Centre for Charitable Giving and Philanthropy, Cass Business School, said:

“We can see that family foundations are a structured vehicle for immense diversity and individuality of giving. Regardless of motivation, most potential philanthropists need to find a route or bridge into philanthropy. There are many people who want to give but are unsure of how to start.

“The report calls on charities, professional advisers and policy makers to develop many more imaginative and supportive ways for potential philanthropists to share experiences and learning to ensure the bridge is crossed and more foundations are established.”

The full report will launch tonight (Monday 14th November) at an event at Cass Business School in central London.

For further information contact Adam Stones:
+44(0)207-403-2230  /  +44(0)7971-250-741


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