Community Matters (Yorkshire)

Charitable Trust Funding

Who Are They?

There are about 7,500 grant-making trusts and foundations in the UK, giving a total of approx ₤2 billion in grants each year to charities. Trusts’ total giving to charities is about the same as the total of grants given to charities by the UK government. Most trusts and foundations derive their income from an endowment, i.e. a capital sum given to them by a rich individual, family or company. The endowment may take the form of cash, stocks, shares, or land. It provides a tax-exempt income which funds their grant-giving. Some trusts and foundations receive their income from other sources: e.g. gifts from a company’s current profits, or a regular appeal on TV and radio. Some trusts act as a broker for donors and collectors of endowment, either in a local area (a community trust) or in a specialist field (an intermediary trust).


Who Can Apply?

Trust income comes from an endowment i.e. an individual, family or company. The interest made is given out in grants. No tax is paid to the government but in return, trusts can only fund charitable causes. Consequently, they often only give to or via a registered charity or to organisations which are accepted as charitable e.g. churches.


What Do They Fund?

Trusts and foundations like to fund what government does not fund:

  • New methods of tackling problems;
  • Disadvantaged and minority groups that face barriers in accessing services, or which
  • have inadequate access to services;
  • Responses to new or newly discovered needs and problems;
  • Work which is hard to finance through conventional fundraising;
  • One-off purchases or projects;
  • Short and medium-term work which is likely to bring a long-term benefit and/or to attract
  • long-term funding from elsewhere.
  • About 70 per cent of trusts and foundations give in the health and social welfare fields. 30 per cent give to the arts and recreation and 9 per cent give to causes related to religion. About 7 per cent of their funds are given internationally. They might fund a slide for a playgroup or fund a 3 year project to deal with drug addiction amongst young people.



  • Simple procedures
  • Flexible about what they can fund
  • Wide range of interests
  • Often prepared to fund something new and untried
  • Often prepared to fund more unpopular causes



  • Few give large grants (tends to be ₤100s rather than ₤1000s). Most are too small to fund salaries
  • Need research
  • Many don’t meet more than twice a year, so the process can be slow
  • Those that do make large grants are interested in setting-up costs, not long-term running costs


How Do You Apply?

Usually in writing. Find out what they require from you. Some require in depth information. There is information below about how to find trusts that might fund you.


How Much?

Usually small amounts, although there are some larger trusts that provide funding for more than one year.

For more information on Charitable Trusts go to