Below are some of the frequently asked questions that we are asked. Please click on a question to reveal the answer.
- Do we have do be a registered charity in order to apply?
The Foundation is only able to support UK registered charities unless the organisation has 'exempt' status - this is restricted to churches, hospitals, educational establishments and housing corporations. If your organisation is not one of these then unfortunately you are not eligible to apply to us. See our Links page for suggestions as to where else you may look for funds.
- Is there a limit on the size of grants?
Every application is considered on its own merits as the organisations we support vary hugely in size and scope. The Foundation expects applicants to have secured the majority of funds required before an application will be considered by our Trustees. The Foundation makes grants from £1,000 upwards. If you are considering applying for £100,000 and above, please note that it is advisable to send a short, preliminary letter to our Director, Philippa Charles, introducing your organisation and summarising the project and fundraising plans. This is especially important if you have not received a grant from us in the past. We will then contact you and explore this further.
- How much can we apply for?
Whilst you are welcome to specify an amount, it is not necessary. Our experienced Trustees will make a judgement on how much to award – please ensure that you have included a project/organisational budget and what funding is already secured so our Trustees can see what your shortfall is. Please note that typically our Trustees are not able to consider more than 10% of an organisation’s total budget – this is to ensure that your organisation has a broad base of funding and is not overly reliant on any one source.
- What kind of grants does the Foundation make?
We will consider requests for specific activities or programmes, for Capital projects (i.e. buildings and equipment) and also towards an organisation’s core costs. See our About Us section for a few examples of different grants in the categories we support.
- Should we apply for core costs or a specific project?
The Foundation aims to be responsive to the area of greatest need – therefore the decision on what to apply for will depend on the priorities of your organisation – i.e. what would make the most difference? If your answer to this is help with core costs, then this is what you should apply for – similarly this is the case if you have a shortfall in funding for a particular project.
- Do you make matched funding grants?
The Foundation does not ‘match funds’ per se. If you already have funds promised then please include these in your budget and fundraising plan and they will be taken into consideration along with the details of the work that you are applying for.
- We are a small charity in a rural area. Presumably you prefer applications from charities based in large towns and cities?
On the contrary! We welcome applications from across the UK and our aim is to help where need is greatest. We support a large number of small organisations and groups that are devoted to the welfare of their local community. If your organisation is addressing a need then please check our Simple Guide To Making an Application to see if you are eligible to apply. If in doubt, please contact us.
- Do you have application deadlines?
We don’t have deadlines that you need to meet and we accept applications all year round.
- How long does the whole process take?
You will receive an acknowledgement that we have received your application within four weeks of it being submitted. You should allow approximately 12 weeks for a final outcome due to the volume of applications we receive and because we take great care in reviewing each one individually.
- Our application is urgent - what should I do?
The Foundation reviews applications in order of receipt in order to be fair – you should allow up to 12 weeks from the date of your acknowledgement letter as we receive thousands of requests ever year. In exceptional circumstances it is possible for our Trustees to review an application more quickly, however it is important that there is a clear reason why this might be the case – we aim to be fair and are therefore not able to ‘queue-jump’ everyone!
- My application was rejected - why?
The trustees take a range of considerations into account, including such factors as previous grants, costs, available resources, sustainability of the project, and the viability of the fundraising plan. These factors are examples and are not exhaustive and while the Trustees aim to support as many good projects and organisations as possible, it is unfortunately not possible to provide funding to all.
The Trustees have a preference for charities which benefit as many people as possible and may decide against supporting an organisation that deals with a very narrow group. They also favour organisations that are fully inclusive.
- If my application is rejected, will I receive any feedback?
Whilst we would like to, it is simply impossible for us to provide individual feedback as we receive approximately 4,000 applications a year.
- If we apply for too much funding, will we get nothing?
The trustees evaluate all applications on their individual merits and award accordingly. Requests for specific amounts will be considered for smaller amounts if the requested sum is larger than the Trustees are able to grant. In some cases provisional grants may be made on a pledge basis and subject to particular conditions, such as alternative funding sources being identified for any shortfall.
- How long will we have to wait before we can apply again?
12 months after the outcome of a previous application, whether or not you received a grant.
- Our project has already finished but we still have a major funding gap - can we still apply?
This depends on the nature of your project. If you are raising funds for a major Capital project and the work has already started, then it may be possible to apply. If however you are running a programme of activity that has already completed, the Foundation is unable to support this after the project has finished. If in doubt, please contact us to discuss a potential application.
- What kind of reporting does the Foundation require if we receive a grant?
- Where does the Foundation's money come from?
The Foundation owns the majority of shares in Wittington Investments Limited – a privately-owned holding company registered in England. Wittington Investments is the ultimate holding company of Associated British Foods plc, which is listed on the International Stock Exchange, and Fortnum and Mason plc.
- How does the Foundation determine how much money it can give away?
The charitable donations made through the Foundation are related to the success of the investments held by Wittington – the business has continued to grow and therefore the donations to charity have also grown. The Foundation spends the income it receives every year.
- What happens to my application?
When we receive your application we check to see that all the information we need has been included - if so, it is logged onto our database and you are sent an acknowledgement letter within 4 weeks. If your application is not complete then we contact you to ask for additional details.
Once you have received an acknowledgement letter there will be no further contact until we write to you with a decision (unless we have additional questions for clarification, in which case we will let you know). Please allow up to 12 weeks from the date of your acknowledgement letter to receiving notice of an outcome, this is because we receive thousands of applications a year and they are reviewed in order of receipt in order to be fair to everyone. Although it will "go quiet" at this stage, you are not forgotten!
- Is there an actual Garfield Weston?
Yes! Willard Garfield Weston was a Canadian businessman who moved to the UK with his family in 1932. He was the creator of Associated British Foods and established the Foundation in 1958 with an endowment – a donation of family-owned company shares. As a result, the Foundation is still the ultimate controller of Associated British Foods today. See About Us for further information.
- You request our annual accounts but our charity's annual income is so small that we are not required to produce audited accounts. What shall we send you?
If your charity is registered but your income is less than £10,000 you are still required to tell the Charity Commission what your income and expenditure is and any changes to your charity’s details. Please send us a copy of the summary that you have submitted to the Charity Commission. Please also send us a copy of your organisation's most recent bank statement.
- Who are the Trustees?
The Trustees are all lineal descendants of the founder – click here for further information.
- How often do the Trustees meet?
The Trustees meet on a regular basis however this is not linked to our application process. We do not have any formal deadlines for submitting applications and you are welcome to apply at any time. The Foundation has a rolling programme and deals with applications in order of receipt. Every application is reviewed by at least one Trustee. If you are applying for £100,000 or more, your application will be discussed at a Trustee meeting and the Foundation will work with you to arrange the timings of this and aim to let you know the outcome as soon as possible.
- Are you connected to the Canadian charity WestonFoundation.org?
WestonFoundation.org is a Canadian charity that provides funding to educational and conservation projects. Whilst there is some overlap in terms of Trustee membership, the two organisations are managed separately and do not work collaboratively.
- What do you mean by 'core costs'? Does that include salaries?
Securing core costs (i.e. central overheads) is important for the health of charities and the Foundation accepts applications towards and organisation's general operating expenses which may also include key staff salaries. A grant towards core costs tends to be unrestricted in order to provide maximum flexibility. Typically grants are made for a single year although the Trustees may make a grant spread over a number of years at their discretion.