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Four Acre Trust (U.K.) (1995–projected: 2015)

Total Assets (2013): £4,470,421

Total Assets (2008): £9,700,000[1]

Total Giving (2013):  £1,486,067[2]

Total Giving (2008): £2,300,000

Prominent Grants: Room to Read (£105,000); Visions for the Future (£77,000); International Childcare Trust (£71,000); Essex Assn Boys Club (£60,000); Tarabai Hospital (£53,000); Sight Savers (£48,000); Fostering Network (£33,000); Centre 63 Church of England Youth (£29,000); Whitehaven Harbour Project (£25,000); Let Us Play schemes (19,000); John Fawcett Foundation (£10,000); and Belfast Activity Centre (£7,500).

Reports: The Power of Now: Spend Out Trusts and Foundations in the UK, Institute for Philanthropy: February 2010

Summary: Four Acre Trust was founded in 1995 by John Bothamley with profits from the building industry. The current programs support schools’ extra curricula projects, early intervention work, as well as international eye and water projects. Most grants are between £10,000 and £20,000, and the Trust prefers to support organizations that work to prevent problems occurring, rather than trying to cure them. Giving is primarily limited to Great Britain and Ireland, although approximately one-quarter of funding has supported charities working in the developing world. Most grants have supported revenue expenses, and much funding has been the support of salary costs. Projects have included water, sanitation, eye and educational projects. In 2010, the fund closed to new applicants.

Around ten years into the Trust’s life, Founder Trustee John Bothamley began to become concerned about the amount of Four Acre’s income that was being spent on investment management fees. He calculated that the Trust was spending 20% of the Trust’s income on fees. “It just seemed to me,” says John, “that this was a big chunk of income that wasn’t actually doing any good. Then we realized we could spend four times as much annually if we spent out our entire capital over the next ten years.” At the time the decision to spend out was made, the Four Acre Trust was spending around £750,000 a year[3].