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Charitable trusts show commitment to supporting charities 17/08/09
 

Charitable trusts and foundations realise now is not the time to turn off the tap of support for Britain’s charities, according to new research published today by the Charity Commission.

Firm Foundations, a snapshot of how trusts and foundations are responding to the economic downturn, shows that despite the recession, charitable trusts and foundations are committed to supporting Britain’s charities at a time when they need it most.

There was a clear indication from these trusts that levels of grant-making are, despite the recession, being sustained.

The report also found that trusts and foundations had adopted a sustainable approach which would allow them to offer this vital support not just now, but into the future.

Key findings of the report include:

These trusts showed a strong commitment to supporting charities and their beneficiaries through these tough times and long into the future. They said it was “wrong to reduce funding in the face of increased need.”

The downturn has had a positive effect on governance in the trusts and foundations interviewed. They are taking a strategic and considered approach, with trustees reflecting more on their collective board responsibilities.

Although levels of grant-making are currently being sustained, vigilance would be needed to monitor the full effects of the recession.

Andrew Hind, chief executive, Charity Commission, said: “It’s really good news that these trusts and foundations are showing a clear commitment to charities and those they work with during these difficult times.

"Their historical stewardship of investments has clearly stood them in good stead during the ongoing downturn, leaving them well prepared to continue to support their beneficiaries in what may well be challenging times ahead."

David Emerson, chief executive, Association of Charitable Foundations, added: "I greatly welcome the Commission's findings that also support our own recent research which found that the outlook for grant-making is - thus far – reasonably optimistic.

"Amidst the ongoing atmosphere of speculation in the financial sector, these trusts and foundations have continued to take a calm, measured approach in managing their endowments.

"They have planned ahead to ensure not only that their charitable assets remain secure, but that they will continue to provide an income stream for many operating charities and their beneficiaries at a time when the need for such work is greater than ever.”

The report also identified a number of issues which would merit further discussion and debate, and the Commission is planning a seminar to explore these in the Autumn.

In-depth interviews were conducted for the Commission during April 2009 with nineteen of the largest grant-makers, whose spending makes up the majority of the total contribution (in terms of grant expenditure) of the trusts and foundation sector.

 
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