Stone Family Foundation

NPC has worked closely with the Stone Family Foundation (SFF) since the early stages of their giving journey in 2005 and continues to provide advice to the family foundation’s UK based portfolios.

THE CHALLENGE

After making the decision to give away the bulk of their wealth in their lifetime, the Stone family sought expert advice from NPC to help get them started.  The family was aware of the causes they cared about but they faced practical challenges when it came to identifying effective charities to fund and the monitoring and evaluation of the impact of their giving.

OUR APPROACH

Following a strategic review, the Foundation decided to focus on three thematic areas: water and sanitation (WASH) in Africa and Asia, and mental health, and disadvantaged youth in the UK.  We helped SFF identify and learn about charities in these sectors, ran workshops to explore the world of international development, introduced the family to experts in the field and helped the Trustees to build a portfolio of potential grantees for them to visit with a view to funding.

Since 2015, the WASH portfolio is now managed by a dedicated team of 3 specialists in water and sanitation.

NPC continues to work closely with SFF in the management of the UK focused areas: understanding the landscape of mental health and disadvantaged youth; finding and recommending the most effective charities working in these areas; advising and monitoring the foundation’s grants.  This has led to a significant scaling-up of the foundation’s work – and there are now 20 carefully selected grantees in the UK portfolios today.

The family remains hands-on, visiting charities before making funding decisions and working continuously with NPC to think about new ways to give effectively.  As SFF’s giving has progressed, the foundation increasingly looks for impact-focused interventions that address severe needs.

THE RESULTS

The Stone Family Foundation is one of the largest UK-based international grant-makers.  Investing £6m in water and sanitation projects last year.  Grants and investments focus on innovative and ambitious market-based solutions.

Over £1m a year is invested in its UK based disadvantage youth and mental health portfolios.  Grantees within the disadvantaged youth portfolio aim to help level the playing field between disadvantaged young people and their peers.  Grantees within the mental health portfolio work to improve the lives of adults with severe and enduring mental health illnesses.  Most charities supported by the SFF focus on service delivery.  SFF is in line with funder good practice in the UK: grants awarded by the SFF are frequently unrestricted and the foundation is keen that grantees are given the opportunity to develop and improve as well as deliver service.

John Stone, Founder and Beacon Award Winner commented:

The advice that I have received from Coutts Bank Philanthropy Service and New Philanthropy Capital has been absolutely invaluable in terms of establishing the Foundation, helping us find the right path and making sure that we avoid the pitfalls that can trap the well-intentioned, unwary philanthropist.  And achieve the maximum possible impact from our grants.

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