Below are some of the frequently asked questions that we are asked. Please click on a question to reveal the answer.
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.
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 40-50% 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.
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 for a capital project or core costs and no more than 50% for other projects – this is to ensure that your organisation has a broad base of funding and is not overly reliant on any one source.
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.
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.
The Trustees recognise that securing funding for core costs can be a particular challenge and therefore will accept applications towards the core operational costs of an organisation. They recognise this will often include some employment costs. The Foundation cannot consider requests for specific positions and salaries however, mainly because we only make single-year grants and cannot guarantee funds in subsequent years which would put a position at risk. When the Trustees contribute to core costs, they hope that organisations will ensure that sustainable funds are sourced to retain key people and position. Grants made for core costs tend to be on an unrestricted basis in order to provide maximum flexibility to the charity receiving the grant.
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.
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.
We don’t have deadlines that you need to meet and we accept applications all year round.
If you apply online you will receive an immediate email acknowledgement letting you know that we have received your application . You should then allow up to 4 months for a final outcome - this is due to the volume of applications we receive and because we take great care in reviewing each one individually.
If you apply in the post, you should receive an acknowledgement letter within four weeks, after which it will take up to 4 months to receive a decision.
The Foundation reviews applications in order of receipt in order to be fair – you should allow up to 4 months from the date of your acknowledgement letter / email 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!
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.
Whilst we would like to, it is simply impossible for us to provide individual feedback as we receive approximately 4,000 applications a year.
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.
12 months after the outcome of a previous application, whether or not you received a grant.
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.
Please refer to the Grant Holders section of our website for a full description.
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.
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.
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 email immediately if you applied online or a letter within 4 weeks if your application was submitted via post. 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 4 months from the date of your acknowledgement letter / email 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!
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.
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.
The Trustees are all lineal descendants of the founder – click here for further information.
The Trustees meet 8-9 times a year to review major grant applications. Main grant applications are reviewed more regularly by at least one of the Trustees
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.
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.
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.
This is quick and easy to resolve. Go to the login page and select the ‘forgot my password’ link. You will be asked to enter the email address associated with your account - you will then be emailied a link which will enable you to reset your password and login again. If you are still experiencing problems, please contact us at the Foundation. You will find our telephone number on the 'contact us' page of our website or you can email us direct from that page.
We have only been receiving online applicaiton since 2nd December 2014 so applications made to us prior to that date will have been sent to us in the post and so your organisation will not have an online account. If you are not sure, please call the Foundation so we can check our records.
Currently you are not able to do this unless you are sending in a new application. If you move address or have a new fundraiser/main contact, you should either send us an email via our 'contact us' page on the website or call us. Please have your old address, new address, charity number if applicable and primary contact details ready.
You can save your draft at any stage and, when you are ready to carry on, log back in and your draft will be waiting for you. When you have finished the form and have uploaded all the relevant information, you can send your completed application by clicking 'Submit'. You will recieve and instant email to acknowledge receipt of your application.
Yes you can, however please note that we do not have an app for this and so functionality may be limited on your device.
No, you will receive the outcome of your application in the post with a written letter. This can take approximately 14 weeks.
We require from most organisations their report & accounts, whether they are audited, indipendently examined or management accounts if the organisation's income is too small and are not required to have their accounts examined. We generally only accept bank statments from primary schools who do not keep financial managment records.
We are aware that there is currently a delay with the charitable registration process for organisations in Northern Ireland. If you have applied to be registered with the Charity Commission in Northern Ireland but have yet to receive your registered number, please provide us with a copy of the email from the Charity Commission confirming that they have received your application. This email should have a copy of your registration document attached to it which we will need to see.
If you have not applied for registration or have no plans to do so, then unfortunately your organisation falls outside our guidelines and you are not eligible to apply to the Foundation.
In some instances the Foundation may offer a grant to be paid when specific conditions have been met (for example when your organisation has raised a certain level of funds). In this instance you will receive a Pledge Letter which will outline what the conditions are and a Pledge Release Form.
At the point you believe the conditions have been met, grants should be claimed by filling in this Pledge Release Form which enables you to give us the information we require in a simple format. If you applied, online, please upload this form through your online account. If you submitted a postal application please send us a letter in the post to our usual address. Payment will only be made if the Foundation is satisfied that your organisation is in a position to spend the money and the conditions have been met satisfactorily.