Our Mission

Our mission is to improve the lives of people and their communities, across the UK, and we look to do this by:

  • Encouraging and developing leadership
  • Promoting enterprise and innovation
  • Caring for the disadvantaged and the marginalised
  • Promoting the understanding of the values, traditions and practices of the Christian faith, from a perspective that respects those of all faiths and those of none

Our Approach

We want to be an organisation:

  • That is distinctive and transparent
  • Proud of our past but focussed on the future
  • That adds value through our knowledge and networks
  • That seeks to increase impact of our work through our ‘engaged’ approach

With an approach that:

  • Reflects our independence and long term perspective
  • Actively nurtures and encourages partnerships and collaboration
  • Values learning and sharing
  • Balances the needs of current and future generations


about us 2

Strategic Aims:

To develop our grant-making in line with our spending and policy priorities:

  • Operate a focussed, engaged, value added approach to our grant making
  • Demonstrate a capacity and willingness to respond to new and emerging needs
  • Ensure a balanced grant making model taking into account geographical and functional need across the UK, establishing clear priorities and areas of interest

To increase the impact of our work:

  • Develop our profile as a Foundation including strengthening our networks and communications
  • Build an internal framework for reviewing performance, monitoring, reporting and sharing knowledge and learning across all our work
  • Better use of media and website: highlight exemplar models, promulgate lessons learned and share our experiences with the wider sector

To manage our resources in support of our objectives:

  • Continue to develop a strong and cohesive management team, with greater opportunities for engagement and internal collaboration
  • Maintain and develop an effective system of governance that fully supports all aspects of our work
  • Develop an improved web and technology presence that demonstrates and supports our wider aims towards greater sharing of knowledge and lessons learned

Engaged Philanthropy

Engaged Philanthropy – What does it mean to The Rank Foundation?

Engaged Philanthropy is nothing new. The term evolved from the model of Venture Philanthropy but we believe this is distinct from the ‘venture’ approach in that business expertise is not the exclusive domain of the financial or investment sector. In many regards, foundations like Rank have been operating a high engaged approach for many years.

  • Financial Capital. The Rank Foundation offer long term support with flexibility in funding including options for repayable grants.
  • Intellectual Capital.   This embraces everything from Sharing Good Practice, Time to Shine, GAP apprenticeships, advice and guidance, access to bursaries, place based steering group meetings, evaluation and review.  This goes well beyond ‘grants plus’ .These are not add-ons: this is integral to the way we do business.
  • Social Capital.   Access to networks from Fellowship to RankNet, the wider Rank network, leveraging additional support from pro bono advice to the creation of ‘added value’ sits at the very core of our engaged approach both within a place based context and beyond.

Implicit to this is the employment of a mission-focused field executive: working proactively, intelligence driven, relational, enterprising and supportive.













All in the same boat, an introduction to Engaged Philanthropy, NESsT Publication, 2005, USA.

Our History

The Rank Foundation continues as the major charitable legacy of (James) Arthur Rank, Baron Rank (1888-1972), flour miller, film maker and philanthropist. What became the Foundation was established as the J Arthur Rank Group Charity in 1953, with its work continuing under the Chairmanship of Arthur’s son-in-law, Robin Cowen, his grandson, Fred Packard, and, currently, another grandson, Joey Newton.


J Arthur Rank’s remarkable success in the fields of flour and film stemmed from his personal qualities of integrity, hard work, decisiveness and a strong strategic sense.  Joseph, his father, had started work as a miller in Hull at the age of fourteen and had built a very significant business through astute introduction of new mechanisation and marketing techniques. Arthur worked in many areas of his father’s company before his ambulance and signalling service on the Western Front in the First World War: after the War, he took on senior roles and became joint managing director in 1933. In the same year, he began the other great strand of his working life when he founded the Religious Films Society. Early conflicts with film distributors convinced him that he must become his own exhibitor as well as producer.  By 1946, J Arthur Rank’s film operation owned five studios, two newsreels and 650 cinemas, employing 31,000 people and with a turnover of £45 million.  The wealth from Arthur’s film companies provided the basis for the endowment which has enabled the Foundation to make charitable grants for over sixty years.

Arthur Rank’s strong simple faith echoed that of his father, who was a committed Methodist. He walked round his garden every morning of his life, saying his prayers, and he declared “I am in films because of the Holy Spirit”.  His daughter, Shelagh, wrote of “one of the clearest memories of my father, during the War, seeing him set forth, come rain or shine, his overcoat streaming behind him as he bicycled to Sunday School in Reigate Methodist Church School”.  His faith lay behind his concern to help others, especially young people, whom he regarded as “the seed corn of the future and the leaders of tomorrow”.

In 2015, we made 97 grants greater than £20,000.

1    Dundee Social Enterprise     100,000
2    Help The Hospices     100,000
3    Food Train     55,000
4    Clore Social Leadership Programme     50,000
5    Dundee Inspiring Scotland     50,000
6    The Pennies Foundation     50,000
7    Youth Work In Sport      49,499
8    Dundee Rep Theatre Limited     40,000
9    Foundation for Peace     40,000
10    Hull Humbercare     40,000
11    Red Balloon of the air     40,000
12    Serve On     40,000
13    Spark+Mettle     39,930
14    Sign post Gumpton     39,000
15    Hull Centre for restorative practice     38,498
16    Caritas Anchor House     38,000
17    Clydesdale Community Initiative     35,000
18    Columba 1400     35,000
19    Dundee Comic School     35,000
20    LYST     35,000
21    Northern Racing College     34,000
22    AYME     32,000
23    Horseback UK     32,000
24    Maggie’s Cheltenham     31,000
25    Sefton Carers Centre     31,000
26    Foxton Centre     30,400
27    Dundee Advocating Together     30,000
28    Dundee Police Scotland Youth Vol     30,000
29    Dundee V & A Outreach     30,000
30    Exeter Community Initiatives     30,000
31    Hull Minerva     30,000
32    Hull Victim Support Sunflower Project     30,000
33    NRAS     30,000
34    People And Work Unit     30,000
35    The Woodhub CIC     30,000
36    Belfast Activity Centre     29,000
37    Reaching Higher     29,000
38    Walled Garden – Hope to Oban     29,000
39    Create     28,000
40    Frenford Club     28,000
41    Hull Chapter 3     28,000
42    Magdalene Group     28,000
43    Neston youth and community centre     27,000
44    Belfast Community Sports Development Network     26,000
45    Brainstrust     26,000
46    Hull Together Womens Project  Families     26,000
47    Hull Together Womens Project Outreach     26,000
48    Project John     26,000
49    Age Exchange     25,000
50    Choices Islington     25,000


51    Contact a family     25,000
52    Disability Cornwall     25,000
53    Dundee Amina Muslim Women’s Resource Centre     25,000
54    Dundee Discovering Bairns     25,000
55    Dundee Faith in Community     25,000
56    Dundee Food Bank     25,000
57    Dundee Maxwell Community Garden     25,000
58    Dundee Vol Centre Fundraiser     25,000
59    Hop Skip and Jump Foundation     25,000
60    Hull East European Champion     25,000
61    Hull Princes Trust Young Ambassadors     25,000
62    JAGS Foundation     25,000
63    Jamie’s Farm     25,000
64    Kew Gardens     25,000
65    Khulisa     25,000
66    MK Snap     25,000
67    Northern Ireland Alternatives     25,000
68    Reclycling Lives     25,000
69    SeeSaw     25,000
70    SPPOT     25,000
71    Treloar’s     25,000
72    Trinity House Community Res Centre     25,000
73    Venture Trust     25,000
74    Westside School     25,000
75    Willowdene     25,000
76    Zacchaeus 2000 Trust     25,000
77    Community Action Placement     24,926
78    Hope to Oban     24,000
79    North Allerdale Dev. Trust (Mobex)     24,000
80    Dundee Youthlink -Bauer     22,000
81    Archbishop of York Youth Trust     20,000
82    Backbone     20,000
83    Blackburn Cathedral     20,000
84    Club Hampshire     20,000
85    Dundee Aspire     20,000
86    Dundee Food Train – Befriending     20,000
87    Dundee St Mary’s Community Facility     20,000
88    Escaping victimhood     20,000
89    Horatio’s Garden     20,000
90    Hull Vulnerable adults – Age Concern     20,000
91    Interest Link Borders     20,000
92    MIND Camden     20,000
93    Over the Wall     20,000
94    Royal British Legion  Industries     20,000
95    Shannon Trust     20,000
96    The Ark     20,000
97    The space centre     20,000

Want To Know More?

Please note that our executive directors are active in identifying initiatives to support these areas and the majority of funds available for major grants is already committed through our proactive programme. However, we continue to run a small grants programme for unsolicited appeals, known as ‘Pebbles’.

For general enquiries please complete the contact form below.