Community foundations score well in Foundation Practice Rating

Five community foundations were part of the Foundation Practice Rating.

The findings of the Foundation Practice Rating have now been published. The Rating examines grant-makers’ performance on their approach to transparency, accountability, and staff and trustee diversity. It is the first study of its kind to have taken place in the grant-making sector. 

The project was led by Friends Provident Foundation with Giving Evidence carrying out the research. It was funded by 10 foundations who each gave £45,000. The express aim of the project is to improve practice across the three key areas of transparency, accountability, and diversity.  

Who was assessed? 

100 grant-making foundations were assessed as part of the study. This included the five largest grant-making foundations in the UK and the 10 foundations that funded the study. The rest of the participants were picked at random from Association of Charitable Foundation’s Giving Trends report which was published in 2019. Each foundation that was assessed was given a grade between ‘A’ and ‘D’. More information, including the full report, can be found here. 

Community foundations and the Rating 

Rather than being assessed as a collective, a representative sample of five community foundations were taken from our network of 47. These were: 

  • County Durham Community Foundation 
  • Berkshire Community Foundation 
  • Cumbria Community Foundation 
  • Northamptonshire Community Foundation 
  • Foundation Derbyshire 

Community foundations scored better than average across the study. County Durham Community Foundation was one of only three foundations in the study to score an ‘A’. The other four community foundations that were assessed all scored ‘B’. Cumbria’s website accessibility and County Durham’s appeals process for rejected applicants were both highlighted as ‘examples of excellent practice’.  


“UKCF welcomes any initiative that seeks to improve the accountability, transparency and diversity of our sector. We are obviously pleased that the community foundations included in this first sample have been rated comparatively highly and identified as exemplars of best practice. As a network we are committed to working to improve our practice with regard to diversity and Equity, Diversity and Inclusion is one of three key themes underpinning UKCF's new strategy.” 

Rosemary Macdonald, CEO, UK Community Foundations 


UKCF Quality Accreditation Programme 

Community foundations recently underwent the UKCF Quality Accreditation Programme over 2020-2021. The assessment, which was carried out independently by Ideas to Impact, evaluated the ongoing practices and development trajectory of each community foundation within core standards of governance, finance, philanthropy, grant making, community participation and organisational development. The assessment is unique to community foundations and, as far as we know, the only of its kind amongst grant-making foundations in the UK.   

More information about the most recent round of our Quality Accreditation Programme can be found here. 

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