Foundation Practice Rating

What is the

Foundation Practice Rating?

The Foundation Practice Rating (FPR) is a project initiated by diverse UK foundations to enhance their practices in terms of diversity, transparency, and accountability.

Each year, the FPR randomly selects the 100 largest UK foundations, based on their giving-budgets. The project outsources the evaluation to Giving Evidence—an independent research organisation, who have defined the criteria and created the system.

Data collection and analysis, for the assessment, is entirely through publicly accessible information present in their annual reports and websites.

Key Features:

  1. No Opt-out Option: Chosen foundations can neither opt out nor influence the outcome.
  2. Non-comparative Ratings: All foundations are assigned a separate grade (A – the best, through to D) based on the performance in each domain, and are given an overall grade.

The results are published yearly.

A graphic of a rating, smiley faces on the left

FPR Report & Results, 2024 Year 3

The Foundation Practice Rating 2024, Year 3 Report is now available. This year there is a summary report in addition to the full report.

Why we do what we do?

The inception of the FPR stemmed from a specific intention in mind, initiated by Danielle Walker Palmour (Friends Provident Foundation), who recognised the need for improvement in three critical domains: Diversity, Accountability, and Transparency. The FPR initiative aims to foster positive change and enhance practices within the foundation sector.

The UK philanthropic sector, despite displaying strengths in funding adaptability, responsiveness, risk-taking and boldness, remains imbalanced. Predominantly the control of foundations lies with older, white men, appointed through informal networks. The value of lived experience isn’t consistently extended to foundation boards.

The FPR has been developed to increase improvement. Co-funded by Friends Provident Foundation and other UK foundations, it rates foundations based on diversity, accountability, and transparency.

The emphasis is not on the funded projects but how funding is distributed.

What is our philosophy?

The FPR’s objective is to ensure impartiality by refraining from making value judgments or subjective evaluations of what is considered “positive” or “negative.” Existing standards or measurements are utilised whenever feasible.

All funders of this initiative are included in the sample, alongside the five largest foundations in the UK by grants budget plus a randomised and stratified sample of 82 other trusts drawn from the ACF Giving Trends list of the largest 300 foundations and all UK Community Foundations. The criteria are formulated as practical benchmarks for enhancement, acknowledging that each organization possesses strengths and weaknesses.

Our intention is to drive transformation, not foster guilt or shame: The procedure relies on concrete data regarding foundation activities, and we highlight instances of commendable practices to illustrate that any foundation can fulfill our criteria.

Researchers look for information on organisational websites and held by the charity regulator. They spend approximately 90 minutes on each foundations which seems a reasonable approximation of how long applicants might be expected to research a funder.

Uniformity isn’t universal: As the adage goes, “One foundation’s profile does not fit all foundations.” Not every criterion applies to all foundations. For instance, a foundation with just one staff member won’t be expected to disclose pay disparity data. We’re ensuring that foundations aren’t penalised or rewarded based on factors beyond their control.

These principles aim to introduce an inventive approach that encourages openness to fresh dialogues within UK philanthropy—discussions regarding our identity, responsibility for our actions, and the transparency of our decision-making procedures.

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