The Westminster Foundation is the organisation created to direct the charitable giving of the Grosvenor family and businesses.
Our history begins in 1974, when the Foundation was established by the Fifth Duke of Westminster (Robert George Grosvenor). The history of charitable activity within the Grosvenor Estate, however, is much longer.
The Grosvenor family motto, Virtus non Stemma, translates as ‘virtue not ancestry’.
This motto, which is really a modus operandi, underpins Grosvenor’s heritage as visionary, inspired and charitable landlords. In the late 1890s a major Grosvenor project to provide housing for 4,000 people on low incomes resulted in the development of nine dedicated buildings in Mayfair and Belgravia.
The Grosvenor Estate has housed arguably the most famous charity-worker of all time, Florence Nightingale, who lived on South Audley Street, on the Mayfair Estate and corresponded with the First Duke of Westminster (Hugh Lupus Grosvenor), her landlord and whom she met through his work with the Queen’s Jubilee Nursing Fund.
The heritage of Hugh Lupus who was recognised as a leading philanthropist of the age, has lived on in the family and the Estate ever since.
More organised giving began when, in 1964, the 6th Duke’s uncle (Gerald Hugh Grosvenor) founded the Gerald Grosvenor Foundation. Also a grant-making body, this charitable trust co-existed with the Westminster Foundation from 1974 to 1987, when the two were merged.
The Westminster Foundation’s first grant was awarded at the inaugural Trustees Meeting (17th April 1974): a £9,000 (£3,000 p.a. for three years) donation to the Maritime Trust.
Since that time, we have supported over 1,500 charitable organisations – awarding over £40m in grants.
Over the last four decades, we have followed a similar development to many charitable foundations, becoming increasingly focused in our grant-making.
For more information about this strategy, see our Funding programme.