Over the year, we provided £35.8m in grant funding to 195 remarkable organisations in the UK. We also supported 16 organisations with £6.2m of social investment.
For the organisations we fund, we believe that long term, core, flexible support is essential for the sector’s resilience and effectiveness and so 61% of new grant funding agreed in 2019 was for core or unrestricted costs and 21% was for longer than 3 years. The number of applications we receive has dropped for the fourth year running from 2,755 in 2016 to 1,411 in 2019, meaning fewer organisations are wasting precious resources in preparing unsuccessful applications. Our Grants Plus support awarded £646k to 106 organisations; a record year to date.
Responding to COVID-19
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought into sharp relief our need to be a flexible funder. We have allocated £14m in fast-response grants to be offered to some of the organisations we currently support across all of our sectors. We are also making available £2m for contributions to emergency funding schemes in collaboration with others. This represents £16m of additional spending on top of our 2020 budgeted spend.
Our endowment has performed well in a difficult environment thanks to careful stewardship, our maturing early stage and venture allocation and good diversification into quality managers and we ended the year with a return of 10.4%. We continued our progress in transitioning our investment strategy to incorporate enhanced environmental, social and governance (ESG) impact and the implications of climate change risk across our whole investment portfolio.