Trusts and foundations

These are organisations specifically set up to distribute grants, usually for a specified charitable purpose. It is a relationship whereby an individual or group (trustees) holds and manages property/money for the benefit of one or more others (beneficiaries). They do this on a not for profit basis and have to act ‘in good faith’, i.e., in the interests of the trust. A trust's purposes and rules are set out in its governing documents.

Names of some trusts and their criteria can be found using research tools. This particularly applies where there is a legal requirement to register the trust, but the information available varies enormously between countries. Check the requirements in your own country and do some basic searching on the internet to see what you can find.  Some free research tools are listed below:

Trusts are extremely varied in the way they operate and care should be taken to meet their needs. If they have their own application form, then use it. If they set word limits, stick to them. Above all, though, save everyone’s time and resources (including your own) by studying the criteria, past recipients of grants, amount they can give and other crucial factors and then pitch your ask in the right way.

It is a competitive environment, especially in places where such set ups are common, such as the UK and USA. By way of example, there are around 9,000 grant making trusts in the UK and over 200,000 charities. Chances of funding are not high, but will be reduced if the application is not totally right.

That said, once a trust has decided you meet the criteria and they make a grant, this relationship can be extremely valuable. The money may start low and then increase as you build their confidence in your organisation. If this is done in the right way, a trust may decide to remain giving to your organisation for many years to come.

Examples of trusts that give grants for seafarers' welfare include The ITF Seafarers' Trust and The TK Foundation.

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