Family foundations, Trusts and Grant Makers

We work with grant-giving bodies to offer independent, cost-effective support to the voluntary sector

"Our partners are always telling us how challenging it is to raise core funds compared to project specific funding even when full cost recovery is taken into account. Yet core funding is essential for any organisation to be resilient, responsive and to grow. Our funding for The Cranfield Trust is unrestricted so that even more small and medium sized charities can benefit from the expertise of their volunteer consultants.”

Trevor Pears CMG, Executive Chair, Pears Foundation

Open Programmes

Trusts and Foundations offer our service to their grant holders in some or all of their funding programmes. They also refer charities to us when they feel they might benefit from specific external management support.  

The Robertson Trust, Scotland's largest independent funder, says:

"We are pleased to see many charities throughout Scotland benefit from working with The Cranfield Trust on issues such as financial/business planning and governance.  This will hopefully strengthen their capacity and enable them to continue delivering valuable services during difficult economic times."

Transformation Programmes

We offer structured programmes of support to groups of organisations in geographical, functional (eg finance) or sub-sector areas (eg advice agencies). We provide intensive consultancy support, often supplemented by formal training on issues of common interest. Leading academics and subject matter experts have, for example, run sessions on financial scenario planning, governance, marketing and impact/performance. 

In Bedford, we work with the Harpur Trust on a leadership programme for voluntary organisations. A team of local volunteer consultants provides intensive support over two years, and leading academics and practitioners offer complementary workshops and seminars.

We devise specific programmes of support for individual grant makers and the organisations they are funding. We typically add value by helping charities become more effective and sustainable, and by supporting organisations to be 'investment ready' for enterprise programmes or commissioning.


Lloyds Bank Foundation for England & Wales has been referring charities to work with the Cranfield Trust for the last two years, so far they have helped 50 charities to strengthen their governance and impact so that they can better support disadvantaged people through difficult times in their lives. The Cranfield Trust is one of the Foundation’s partners under the Enhance grants plus programme.

For further information, please contact Amanda Tincknell or telephone 01794 830338.

We are grateful to all the foundations and grant makers who have supported us.