Our History


The Garfield Weston Foundation was established in 1958 by Willard Garfield Weston, a Canadian businessman who moved to the UK with his family in 1932. He was the creator of Associated British Foods and the Foundation was endowed with the donation of family-owned company shares. As a result, the Foundation is still the ultimate controller of the company today.

Garfield Weston Snr. was succeeded as chairman of both Associated British Foods and the Garfield Weston Foundation by one of his sons, Garfield Howard Weston (Garry), who in the second half of the 20th century successfully developed the company into a major international organisation and at the same time became one of the UK’s most well regarded philanthropists. During Garry’s time as chairman (over nearly 25 years) the annual donations grew from less than £1 million to over £30 million and he made a positive impact on numerous projects, both large and small, throughout the United Kingdom.

The Trustees today are all lineal descendents of the founder and they remain committed to continuing the family's philanthropic ethos that has made the Foundation one of the largest and most respected charitable institutions in the country. It gives them as much pleasure to help a small local community project as a major national organisation.  The Trustees are actively involved and highly engaged in the work of the Foundation and give a significant amount of their time to review applications, visit charities and to meet people across the third sector.  They also have additional philanthropic interests and non-Executive roles independent of their work through the Foundation.

Each year the Foundation spends all of the income it receives and donations have continued to grow since the Foundation was established over 50 years ago.  To date, the Foundation has donated more than £785 million.