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Max Rutherford: It’s more vital than ever that foundations strive to be their best selves

With unsuccessful funding bids for charitable foundations on the rise, it is more important than ever that these organisations work to become their best selves, says Max Rutherford from ACF.

More than a decade of austerity and a global pandemic have exacerbated and shone a brighter light on inequality in our communities. This is driving a growing demand for charitable services that has now reached levels rarely seen before. In the past, funding from charitable foundations was more often the icing on the charity sector’s cake. It was “civil society’s risk capital”, more able to fund innovation and new ideas, be experimental and willing to learn from failure.

Foundations are now more likely to be funding bread and butter services as the state withdraws and the number of people giving to charity declines. Previously, it would have been almost unheard of for a foundation to fund core public services such as libraries, food banks or legal representation. For many foundations, this is now becoming the norm.

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