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
  • adds value through our knowledge and networks
  • 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

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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. Rank 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, placed 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-focussed field executive: working proactively, intelligence driven, relational, enterprising and supportive.

Engaged Philanthropy

[1] 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”.

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 inquiries please complete the contact form below.