New funders must think about what areas to fund, what kind of grants to give, and how to structure and deliver their funding. There are no standard answers to these questions—each funder is shaped by their own situation and by external opportunities and needs. This report follows the journey of one foundation from its inception to the present day. We hope to highlight the work of an effective funder, and share lessons that can be applied to funding more widely.
The Stone Family Foundation was set up in 2005, with an endowment of £50m, and asked NPC to help develop its strategy and manage its grant-giving. Since then, NPC has helped identify the areas the family want to support and how they want to fund, which has led to significant scaling-up of the foundation’s funding to a target of £5m each year and a strategic focus on market-based solutions in the water and sanitation sector.
While this exact journey may be specific to the Stone Family Foundation, the general process—starting out, planning, delivering, learning and then adapting—will be relevant to other funders grappling with the same questions about how to become an effective funder.
The foundation’s journey is still very much ongoing, and it is not a template for everyone, but by sharing experiences and setting out some of the challenges we have addressed, we hope to help more people think strategically about their giving and the impact they can have.
The foundation’s journey is ongoing, but by sharing experiences and setting out some of the challenges we have addressed, we hope to help more people think strategically about their giving.