50th Birthday Gifts

The Foundation was established in 1961, and in 2011 we celebrated our 50th birthday.  In recognition of our funding history and looking to the future we gave 15 organisations birthday gifts totalling nearly £5 million.

Also see our 50th Birthday Film and Timeline.

Art Fund (£600,000)

The Art Fund has helped more than 500 museums and galleries across the country to buy works of art of all ages and types. It supports museums to show art, campaigns on their behalf and invests in curatorial skills.  The Foundation’s gift will support the RENEW initiative to help build collections in six UK museums. RENEW aims to create new collections or replenish and develop existing holdings, building centres of excellence. It also hopes to share knowledge and resources between departments and institutions and help museums and galleries connect with their communities in new ways. The organisations benefitting from the gift are Cambridge Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, University of Durham Oriental Museum, Glasgow Museums, Wolverhampton Art Gallery, York Art Gallery and University of Dundee Museums Collections. The wide range of collections that RENEW will help develop includes works of contemporary Japanese art, South Asian art and a collection about conflict in Israel and Palestine and the implications of this conflict in the wider Middle East.

Barton Hill Settlement  (£200,000)

Barton Hill Settlement, a multi-purpose community organisation in a deprived part of Bristol, is often regarded as a leader of best practice in the community sector. Its impressive range of projects includes drug and alcohol work, community work and activities for parents and children. It aims to help build bridges between communities and cultures. Its vision is for a strong, confident, safe and cohesive community, where people work together to deal with issues affecting their lives, reaching their full potential with the best opportunities in education, employment and family life. Up to 2,000 people use Barton Hill Settlement every week and most staff are drawn from the local community. Our gift contributes towards reserves.

British Film Institute (£200,000)

The British Film Institute, established in 1933, is the UK’s lead film organisation, promoting an understanding and appreciation of film and television heritage and culture.  The BFI National Archive is one of the world's largest collections of film and television material, much of which is the work of British actors and directors. The collections include over 850,000 film and television titles, 10 million stills and 25,000 posters, production and costume designs from the last 100 years.  The Foundation’s gift funded a retrospective of leading British film director Ken Loach at BFI Southbank and an education programme around his films.  The gift will also help the BFI in its work to catalogue, preserve and digitise the collection.

Community Foundation Network (£750,000)

The Network is the national membership body for community foundations.  These are independent grant-making charities that encourage philanthropy by connecting donors with local charities and community organisations. CFN aims to create positive social change and tackle disadvantage and exclusion.

The first community foundations appeared in the UK in the late 1970s.  By 2011 there were 57.  They are one of the biggest non-statutory community grant-makers in the UK, hold nearly £300 million in endowed funds, and give an annual £70 million in grants. Our support will help develop a network of investor philanthropists, enabling CFN to promote and encourage effective philanthropy in communities, reach out to smaller organisations across the UK and connect people with causes.

Dulwich Picture Gallery (£200,000)

England’s first purpose-built public art gallery, Dulwich Picture Gallery was founded in 1811 and houses an exceptional art collection which is of national importance. Based in South London the Gallery’s exhibitions and education programmes fulfil its mission to encourage more people to enjoy the visual arts.  The Foundation's gift contributes towards the gallery's expendable endowment.£200,000 towards the Gallery's endowment fund.

Emmaus UK(£200,000)

Our gift contributes to the development work of this organisation which believes that shelter and food is only the first step to address the needs of the vulnerable and homeless. Emmaus UK's 22 communities offer work as well as a home, supporting people in rebuilding their lives. Companions, as residents in the communities are known, collect, renovate and re-sell donated furniture. The work enables communities to be financially self-sustaining and Companions to learn skills and rebuild self-respect.

MyBnk (£200,000)

This social enterprise helps 11-25 year olds manage their money and develop positive financial habits like saving through fun, interactive education programmes. Finance and enterprise are brought to life in schools and youth groups with workshops, enterprise experiences and onsite/online banks using real money and interest-free loans.  With personal debt soaring, MyBnk are reaching out to the most disadvantaged and financially vulnerable, boosting young people’s financial skills, entrepreneurialism and personal development.  In four years they have helped 38,000 young people in 180 organisations. The work is being rolled out nationally and internationally and the Foundation's gift will go towards core costs and reserves.


National Museum Wales (£600,000)

This funding will enable the digitisation of a significant number of the Museum's historic photographs. Amgueddfa Cymru (National Museum Wales) runs seven museums and holds photographs across disciplines ranging from natural science to social and industrial history. The project boosts the accessibility of images by unknown as well as famous photographers such as the Welsh photography pioneer John Dillwyn Llewelyn. The 1850s Dillwyn Llewelyn prints include the earliest surviving photograph of a Guy Fawkes bonfire.£600,000 towards digitising and displaying historic photography collections.

National Trust (£300,000)

Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire was the first nature reserve to be owned by the National Trust, one of Europe’s leading conservation charities, when it made its first land purchase in 1899. Today, Wicken Fen is one of Europe’s most important wetlands. As with the Wildlife Trust’s work at Great Fen, the Foundation has supported the purchase of land at these fenland sites to create new wildlife habitats, improve biodiversity and enhance public access to the countryside.

The National Trust’s vision is ambitious; it wants to create a new reserve covering 53 square kilometres, this is the biggest lowland project of its kind in England and will take up to a century to complete. Our support will help the National Trust expand its holdings at Wicken Fen, protecting the area for local people, wildlife and visitors.

Profound and Multiple Impairment Service (PAMIS) (200,000)

PAMIS is the only organisation in Scotland providing support to those caring for children and adults with profound and multiple learning disabilities. It provides help, advice and training to 500 families and 150 professionals every year. A centre of expertise, PAMIS lobbies government on policy and practice.  Our gift contributes to their reserves.

Royal Botanic Gardens Kew (£750,000)

The internationally-renowned institution increases knowledge and public awareness of plant diversity. The Foundation’s gift is towards seed production and storage facilities and related work on lowland meadow plants at Kew’s UK Native Seed Hub, located at the Millennium Seed Bank, Wakehurst Place. The Millennium Seed Bank is a global initiative which aims to collect and conserve 25% of the world’s wild plant species by 2020. The work of the UK Native Seed Hub, however, is UK-focused and will support our native seed industry, conservation groups and other organisations working to restore native plants to our countryside. The gift will contribute to seed production facilities that will be open to the general public and staff who will disseminate best practice in seed production and handling for restoration and reintroduction. The preservation of rare UK plants as seeds not only ensures they are not lost, but also that they are available for re-introduction and use by conservation organisations.

Sutton Borough Citizens Advice Bureaux (£20,340)

A gift made to reflect Esmée Fairbairn's personal connection with this Citizens Advice Bureau and the wider movement.  The gift will fund a supervisor to support volunteers to give more help and advice to members of the public.

The Wildlife Trust for Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire (£300,000)

The Foundation’s gift to the Trust will help towards land purchase and other work at the Great Fen project – large-scale habitat restoration work to create a 3,700 hectare wetland between Huntingdon and Peterborough. The initiative is linked to that of the National Trust (see below), allowing the Foundation to support links between these two major conservation charities.

The Who Cares? Trust (£200,000)

Championing some of the most vulnerable children in society, The Who Cares? Trust aims to create a care system that responds to the needs of looked-after children. The funding will develop and strengthen the influential charity’s policy work, ensuring that the Trust’s growth continues and that the views and opinions of the 75,000 children currently in foster or residential care are heard by government and more widely.

Wordsworth Trust (£200,000)

Founded in memory of the poet William Wordsworth and his circle, the Trust looks after the heritage site Dove Cottage in Cumbria, where Wordsworth and his sister Dorothy lived and wrote.  It also runs the Wordsworth Museum, which displays its internationally significant collection of manuscripts and fine art, and a research centre for the study of the literature and culture of the Romantic period. The Trust delivers a range of learning programmes for all ages and interests.  Through poetry residencies and readings it links the creativity of the past with that of the present. The gift is towards the Trust’s strategic development.