The UK’s top 100 family foundations have defied the economic downturn by giving £1.4 billion to charitable causes in 2008/2009, according to the third annual Family Foundation Giving Trends 2010 report produced by the ESRC Centre for Charitable Giving and Philanthropy at Cass Business School, City University London with Pears Foundation.

The report challenges the UK’s wealthiest individuals to follow the example of family foundations by providing a long term commitment to tackling some of the challenges faced by society in the current climate of austerity. It paints a vivid picture of the commitment, drive and diversity of approach to giving amongst family foundations in the UK, highlighting many thoughtful and imaginative initiatives.

The key findings of the report are:

  • The largest 100 family foundations in the UK gave a total of £1.4 billion to charitable causes in 2008/09 – 9% of all private giving.
  • Between 2005/06 and 2008/09 the amount they gave increased by 40%.
  • In spite of the economic turbulence which saw their asset values fall by a real 12% in 2008/09, family foundation giving fell by just 0.2% in real terms.
  • Between 2005/06 and 2008/09, the value of family foundation giving grew from £998 million to £1.4 billion.

Trevor Pears, Executive Chair of Pears Foundation, said: “Family foundations have proved remarkably resilient at a time when state resources are stretched and other forms of giving are really under pressure. The top 100 Foundations set an example of what passion, commitment and strategic thought can achieve – but it’s not enough. We need hundreds more foundations and many more initiatives which show philanthropy working at its best. We are calling on the wealthiest individuals and families in the UK to be inspired, step up and usher in a new age of long term, committed giving.”