In 1967 David Sainsbury set up the Gatsby Charitable Foundation and agreed its first grant – £50 to the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine.
David Sainsbury (now Lord Sainsbury of Turville) has since given Gatsby more than £1 billion to distribute to charitable causes.
Gatsby works in areas that David Sainsbury and the Trustees are particularly passionate about and where they believe charitable funding can make a real difference. Gatsby is currently active in:
Gatsby Charitable Foundation has also supported significant programmes in mental health - in particular through the founding of the Centre for Mental Health - although they are no longer focusing on this area.
Across all areas, they aim to be more than a funder. Gatsby Charitable Foundation acts as an enabler for projects, designing, developing, overseeing and, in some cases, delivering activities.
They are proactive in putting together projects to achieve the aims. Rather than wait for third-party proposals, they identify areas of need, commission research and design interventions in partnership with sector and industry experts.
Gatsby Charitable Foundation take a long-term view as they do not think much can be achieved by short, one-off projects. Gatsby Charitable Foundation builds long relationships with the organisations they support, allowing both them and us to learn from successes and failures and to develop sustainable change.
They are particularly enthusiastic about supporting innovation. David Sainsbury has long believed that private foundations have an important role to play in testing imaginative models and new ideas that governments may see as too risky for public funding, even when they have significant potential to benefit the public if they succeed. Gatsby can incubate such models, giving them the support they need to prove themselves and build the track-records that will encourage others to scale them up.
Gatsby Charitable Foundation is always looking to increase the impact of the limited funds, and are therefore eager to form partnerships with others who share the goals. In Tanzania, Gatsby is partnering with the government to transform the country’s cotton sector, while the multi-million pound partnership with the Wellcome Trust to create the new Sainsbury-Wellcome Centre for Neural Circuits and Behaviour shows what can be achieved by working together.
The Sainsbury-Wellcome Centre is one of several large-scale, capital-intensive projects where Gatsby has helped build institutions from the ground up. Other notable examples include the National STEM Centre, the Institute for Government, and the Sainsbury Laboratory Cambridge University – a landmark plant science research facility which opened in 2011.
But Gatsby also continues to support smaller activities that are quietly equally transformative, such as commissioning reviews of the use of practical science in schools, and running summer schools to encourage undergraduates to study plant science further.
Gatsby Charitable Foundation will continue to support and undertake both large- and small-scale work, employing different methods and models depending on the different challenges, but always ultimately looking to deliver long-term, sustainable change.
Where is Gatsby Charitable Foundation