ACF's review of 2022

16 December 2022

An end of year message to ACF members from chief executive Carol Mack OBE.

As 2022 draws to a close, I wanted to thank you for your contribution to the ACF community this past year. 

We hope you've had opportunities to connect, learn and share your experiences to help you in your work and to shape the context for our sector as a whole. 

This year we’re pleased to have welcomed, or welcomed back, 50 members, so that we’re now a community of more than 440 organisations. Indeed, around 100 of our members have been with us for over 20 years.

We never take your support for granted. As the leading membership association that brings UK foundations and grant-making charities together, your needs drive all our work and each member helps strengthen our diversity, effectiveness and ambitions.

Providing opportunities to connect

Our 14 member-led networks have once again brought together renowned experts in their fields to share learning and exchange timely insights. We couldn’t offer these without our network convenors, members who so generously give of their time. Thank you so much to them and in particular those who are stepping down or who have come to the end of their terms this year:

  • Asylum, refugee and migration network – Juliana Bell, Metropolitan Migration Foundation
  • Corporate foundations network – Andrew Button-Stephens, Barratt Foundation and Kay Cameron, Lloyds Bank Foundation
  • Paddy Sloan, BBC Children in Need
  • Smaller funders' network – Danielle Howes, The Bishop Radford Trust
  • Violence against women and girls network  – Anna Jarvis, Rosa.

In 2023, we’ll be seeking new convenors to continue the high standard of vibrant, thought-provoking and engaging discussions – and establishing a new network, for family foundations.

Your concerns for 2023 and beyond

We have created spaces for foundations to come together to share your challenges and learning in response to the cost of living crisis.

Based on your feedback, we responded to a consultation by the Charity Commission of England and Wales on updating its guidance on managing charity investments and to a government consultation on using dormant assets for social good. And we continued to represent foundations on the SORP Committee which sets the charity accounting framework in the UK.

We also held a series of seminars on diversity, equity and inclusion, with around 200 people attending over the four sessions. 

Our recent conference highlighted some of the challenges ahead. We’ve summarised some of the key points that emerged here and will be taking this conversation about courageous leadership, the theme of this year’s conversation, forward during 2023. 

Sharing views and expertise

You are also helping us understand better how we can build on our annual Foundation Giving Trends research to support the sector with data about its size, impact and expertise. We will continue this conversation with you, working with partners, to ensure we all have access to evidence about the role and importance of foundations, both individually and collectively.

In an important year for climate discussions, you’ve helped encourage more organisations to sign up to our UK Funder Commitment on Climate Change that’s seeing foundations pledge to take six concrete steps. We’re delighted that we’ve ended the year with close to 100 signatories to the Commitment.

On a similarly positive note, our Funders Collaborative Hub – initially a product of the pandemic – now connects with over 115 collaborations. It is fast becoming indispensable as a resource for enabling a diverse range of grant-makers concerned about similar issues to connect easily and quickly.

We’re glad our Stronger Foundations self assessment tool and other resources continue to help you shape your thinking, with our 2022 Salaries survey providing a benchmark for salaries and benefits across our sector.

With our Official Partners – Ruffer, Mercer, CCLA and Cazenove – we have run four investment learning days to empower staff and trustees to feel better informed about rising to financial challenges in line with your missions and values.

2023 and beyond

It’s also been a year of reflection and questioning for ACF as we’ve asked you about our next five year strategy for 2023-27. Thank you for the rich and generous insights you’ve offered. You can read more about our strategic review journey in the winter issue of Trust & Foundation News, out shortly, and we’ll be going live with the strategy in January.

To lead us, we’ve now appointed a chair of our board of trustees: Jessica Brown of Trusthouse Charitable Foundation, who previously served as our vice chair and interim chair. I very much look forward to working with Jessica and her fellow board members as we embark on delivering our new strategy with, and for, you.

We know the next few years are going to be tough, where need will be high and resources stretched and many of us time poor as a result of how much there is to do.  Through our ambitious programme of events and our new strategy, ACF will continue to support and strengthen you to connect and provide the space, time and opportunity to reflect and learn from each other. My sincere thanks again for being part of our ACF community. 

In the meantime, I hope you can take some much needed time to rest and recharge over the festive season.

Investment seminars

27 and 28 November, central London

Book your place