The Researchery
The research surgery for the voluntary sector

Grant makers

Grantmaking Trusts and Foundations


There are some 7,500 - 10,000 registered trusts and foundations in the UK (depending on your definitions). There are a small number of large grantmakers which give out public money - e.g., The Big Lottery is the single largest grant maker in the UK giving out around £650 million each year; while the various Arts Councils in England, Scotland, Wales and N. Ireland distribute around £500 million of Grants-in-Aid from central government money. There are also a large number of "private" grantmakers which may be set up and run by companies, families or individuals.

Cat's research in this area includes 9 years working on Charities Aid Foundation's Charity Trends publication tracking the UK's top grantmakers, and 3 years working on the successor to this: Foundation Giving Trends, as well as assorted other projects.

The Foundation Giving Trends series

‘a must-read for everyone in the charity sector’ 
— Andrew O’Brien, Head of Policy and Public Affairs, Charity Finance Group

The Foundation Giving Trends series is a longitudinal analysis of the top 300 UK grant-making foundations - their giving, income and assets.

Foundation Giving Trends 2018

Foundation Giving Trends 2018 updates the latest headline figures and features a special spread on place-based funding.

Foundation Giving Trends 2017

Foundation Giving Trends 2017.png

A special feature this year demonstrated the innovative ways foundations are working in partnership to drive social benefit.

Foundation Giving Trends 2016

This year the report included a special analysis on "Where the money goes" - an analysis of 16,500 grants showing that education and health top the billing:

The state of capital grant funding

Download the article here

Download the article here

This report, commissioned by The Clothworkers' Foundation in 2015, analyses the state of the UK's capital funding for charities. The main finding was that despite its importance for the future sustainability of the UK charity sector, capital grant funding has taken a particular hit in the current funding climate.


Sector Insight: UK Grantmaking Trusts

In 2015 the Directory of Social Change (DSC) published its contribution to the debate on trust funding and its place in the voluntary sector landscape, authored by Dr Catherine Walker and Tom Traynor.

‘Timely and important … a fascinating insight into the funders’ world... For me the real value of this report is that we can at last begin to understand the distributive impact of grant-making in the UK.’
— Dame Suzi Leather, chair of LankellyChase Foundation and former chair of the Charity Commission

Where do grant-makers give?

Trust funding versus level of need demonstrated by income deprivation (Sector Insight: UK grant-making trusts and foundations, 2015)

Trust funding versus level of need demonstrated by income deprivation (Sector Insight: UK grant-making trusts and foundations, 2015)