Figures show the biggest foundations bolstered voluntary action
New research shows 57% of the country’s top 300 foundations increased their grant-making in 2020–21 in real-terms as a response to the covid pandemic.
Total grants from the top 300 rose from £3.27bn to £3.7bn in this period.
The Association of Charitable Foundations undertook the research.
The 300 organisations in the study represent 90% of all charitable foundations and are responsible for about 40% of all grant-making each year, the researchers say.
The grants included £430m which was spent directly and indirectly on the Covid-19 crisis, including for scientific research, paying for protective equipment and to help people adjust to lockdown.
But the paper also warns: “Despite the evidence of an increase in levels of grant-making, some programmes had to be paused, redirected or repurposed towards Covid relief.
“In the ‘new normal’ foundations face a number of tough choices and may feel that the charity sector is relying on them to be a consistent, independent and flexible partner when other forms of emergency funding dry up.”
Carol Mack, chief executive of ACF, said: “This year’s research shows how foundations stepped up during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“They increased their spend on grant-making, making over £430m in Covid-related grants to charities from 2019-21.
“Simultaneously foundations responded by adapting their grant-making practices, collaborating with other funders, pooling funds and flexing their grant-making, all while keeping their own costs stable.”