Top 10 Grantmaking Charities and Trusts in the UK

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According to the European Foundation Centre, the UK has approximately  8,800 public-beneft foundations whose total expenditure is  £2.1 billion. The following is a list of the top ten UK charities and trusts providing grants to NGOs in the UK and internationally. The following entries are ranked based on the size of the Foundation’s total annual grantmaking:

  1. Big Lottery Fund: The Fund is responsible for allocating charitable funds raised by the National Lottery, amounting to nearly £600 million each year towards programmes in health, education, and environment. Big Lottery Fund’s International Communities programme has a budget of up £80 million available to UK charities working with disadvantaged communities overseas.
  2. The Wellcome Trust: was established in 1936 as an independent charity funding research to improve human and animal health. It has an endowment of around £14.5 billion. Now in its 77th year, the aim of the Trust is to “achieve extraordinary improvements in health by supporting the brightest minds”, and in addition to funding biomedical research it supports the public understanding of science
  3. The Sainsbury Family Charitable Trusts: Established by three generations of Sainsbury family members, the 18 grant-making trusts of the Sainsbury Family Charitable Trusts collectively provide over £114 million in grants annually. While all 18 trusts are administered through a single office, each trust has its own board of trustees and clearly defined areas of interests. The top Sainsbury Family Charitable Trusts by total annual grantmaking are: the Gatsby Charitable Foundation, Monument Trust, and Linbury Trust.
  4. The Wolfson Foundation: founded in 1935, the Foundation has awarded over £750 million in grants, supporting over 10,000 projects. The Foundation makes grants through both open and closed programs, primarily for capital infrastructure to support excellence in the fields of science & medicine, health, art & humanities and education. The majority of Wolfson Foundation grants are made to organizations in the UK.
  5. The Garfield Weston Foundation was established in 1958 by Willard Garfield Weston, a Canadian businessman who moved to the UK with his family in 1932. as established in 1958 by Willard Garfield Weston, a Canadian businessman who moved to the UK with his family in 1932. The Foundation is reported to have an endowment of at least $6.5 billion. he Foundation aims to be responsive to where need is greatest, supporting a wide range of charitable activity rather than having specific priorities for funding. The Foundation currently only support organisations and projects based in the United Kingdom.
  6. Comic Relief: this charity was created in 1985 and has since raised over £900 million to fight poverty and social injustice in the UK and the world’s poorest countries. Comic Relif’s International Grants programme focuses on seven goals, with most of its funding going to sub-Saharan Africa: improved health for women and children; access to education; social inclusion of women and girls; improved quality of life for slum dwellers; opportunities for children and youth at risk; improved quality of life for people affected by HIV; and income improvement through trade, enterprise and employment.
  7. Vodafone Foundation: the Foundation invests in the communities where the company operates through 28 local foundations and social investment programmes. The vision of the Foundation is  to use their innovative mobile technology in mobilising social change and improving people’s lives. Vodafone Foundation is committed to projects in disaster relief and preparation.
  8.  Tearfund: an Evangelical Christian grantmaking organization committed to poverty relief; overseas development; and overcoming climate change, HIV, injustice, disasters, and conflict. The Fund works in the UK, Africa, Latin America & the Caribbean, and Asia, providing grants of up to £22 million
  9. Sigrid Rausing Trust: a UK grant making foundation, founded in 1995 by Sigrid Rausing to support human rights globally. Since then, the Trust has given away approximately £191.9 million to human rights organisations all over the world. The 2013 Trust budget is £22.5 million.
  10. Arcadia Fund: formerly the Lisbet Rausing Charitable Fund, this grantmaking fund has awarded over $243 million in grants since its establishment in 2001. The primary vision of the Fund is to protect endangered nature and culture, including near extinct languages, rare historical archives and museum quality artifacts, and endangered species and ecosystems.

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  1. Good day,

    Please how can we access funds in Nigeria? My NGO- Lead Inspire Transform works primarily with young people in Cross River state with a focus to raise change agents within communities, inspire leaders to influence and build better societies. Our projects and activities focuses on young people, aimed at developing leaders who will be agents of change within communities.

    • Gamala Luitel says:

      You should apply for relevant funding opportunity. Be sure your project proposal/concept note is impressive.
      Thank you!

  2. simon ngunjiri gathoni says:

    kindly assist us with fundind for our small OPHARNS