Trusts and foundations, Funding sources, Fundraising

Great Grant Making Series: Garfield Weston Foundation

The Garfield Weston Foundation is one of the largest grant-makers in the UK, awarding millions in grants each year to organisations working in the fields of youth, community, welfare, arts, environment, education, religion and health. The foundation funds a wide variety of organisations across the UK, with grants ranging from just £1,000 to over £1 million.

In 2013 the foundation launched its Weston Charter, which sets out its commitments to applicants – including promises to acknowledge every application received, to keep monitoring guidelines as clear as possible and to ensure that applications receive equal consideration at any time of year. The foundation also provides comprehensive guidelines and FAQs on its website to make the application process as smooth as possible.

Fundraising tip – information is everything

The Garfield Weston Foundation provides plenty of easily accessible information to applicants on its website. Whoever you are applying to, it is well worth investing a little extra time to seek out and take on board all the information you can about the grant-maker, its ethos and priorities.

As well as the essential information, such as the grant-making policy, you can gain real insight into a funders approach from other, less obvious details. Who has it funded in the past? What is its history? Who are the trustees? If you take the time to really do your research, you’ll be better equipped to tailor your application and show that you have a perceptive understanding of what the funder is looking for.

Finding information

The Garfield Weston Foundation provides downloadable guidance notes for its grants programmes, which is of course the best place to start. But it’s worth searching a bit further too – for example, scrolling down the homepage of the foundation’s website reveals that it currently has a particular focus on core and project costs for charities delivering welfare, youth and community services in areas of economic  disadvantage. There is also a helpful FAQs page and case studies of previous beneficiaries, all of which can help to build up a picture of the foundation’s approach and priorities.

Of course, the Garfield Weston Foundation is an exceptionally large grant-maker, and has a very detailed website; however, you can gain a lot by looking closely at even the smallest amount of information you have about a grant-maker – maybe just a sentence in its annual report – and thinking carefully about how you can reflect the funder’s approach in your application. Many also welcome contact from potential applicants – a phone call or email can be really valuable in eliciting that key information that enables you to tailor your application and achieve success.


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