Policy update - October 2019
Read our round-up of Foundation Giving Trends 2019, guidance for charities ahead of a possible general election – and some of the key Press coverage in recent months.
Foundation Giving Trends
The Association of Charitable Foundations has published Foundation Giving Trends 2019 which includes research on giving, income and assets among the top 300 largest foundations for the financial year 2017-18.
It found the following:
- grant making increased in real terms (excluding Wellcome Trust)
- assets of the top 300 Foundations increased to £67 billion, but growth slowed
- investment income was down and asset values were volatile
- ownership of assets is skewed with the top 7 foundations owning 62% of the assets – each with over £1 billion. Wellcome Trust is the largest Foundation in the UK, with assets of £24 billion.
- most foundations hold a majority in listed investments, although there are some significant holdings of unlisted investments – for example through a single private company or including private equity investments
- there has been a 23% year-on-year increase in the amount of programme related/social/impact investments with a total amount of £146 million in the accounts of the top 300 foundations
- the report identifies six key trends: participatory grant making (involving beneficiaries/communities in grant making choices), transparency, diversity, divestment, technology and climate.
You can download the full report on the ACF website here. We are proud to be an official partner of ACF.
With expectations growing of a general election in the near term, the Charity Commission has reminded charities of their responsibilities and of their guidance around political activity.
The Electoral Commission has also published new guidance for charities about campaigning in the run up to an election.
Was the Charity Commission response to the Oxfam scandal fair?
Andrew Hind, former Chief Executive of the Charity Commission thinks that the facts of the case do not justify the vilification of the organisation and its former leaders. He states his case here.
Yet more negative Press coverage for the sector with Chief Executive pay being the topic of a Daily Mail article in August and the Royal Society getting unwanted attention for its fossil fuel investments in The Times this month. This comes after the National Trust announced in July that it will divest from all fossil fuel investments over the next three years in its £1 billion portfolio, following a news article in the Guardian in November last year highlighted their exposure.
Head of Sustainability | Co-Head of Charities
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