Our history
Back in 1985…

“It is desired to establish a charitable trust for the benefit of the community in the Royal County of Berkshire. 

The Trustees have subscribed or caused to be subscribed the sum of £500 to be held by them upon the trusts hereinafter declared.”

These words formed the opening of the original deed establishing our Foundation.  From the humble beginnings of the Berkshire Community Trust, back in 1985, has arisen Berkshire Community Foundation, which last year made grants totalling over £900,000 to local charities and community groups and currently manages endowed funds to the value of almost £9 million.  That original £500 was obviously well managed and invested!

The founding trustees, led by the then Vice Lord Lieutenant of Berkshire Major John Ronald Henderson MBE, signed the original trust deed on 11th November 1985, one of the first community foundations to be incorporated in England.  Since then, the vision of those founding trustees has blossomed into an organisation with a mission to inspire local giving to change lives, and a purpose to promote and support local giving for social good, benefit or change in Berkshire.

30 years of charitable giving

  • Berkshire Community Foundation was established as a charitable trust


  • Mars Confectionary, based in Slough, became our first corporate donor


  • 29 local charities and community groups across Berkshire benefited from a total of £12,000 awarded from our first grants


  • Bracknell-based Panasonic UK became our Corporate Patron


  • Our first £1 million endowment target was reached


  • Began delivery of European Social Funding Global Grants


  • First High Sheriff’s Fund launched


  • Ran Grassroots programmes, delivering over £925,000 of funding to groups and £1.6m in endowment funding


  • First community foundation nationally to go live onto Localgiving.com


  • Chosen by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to benefit from the couple’s Royal Wedding Charitable Gift Fund
  • First ‘Surviving Winter’ campaign launched in Berkshire


  • Queen’s Diamond Jubilee garden party held at Henley Business School, raising over £182,000 for the Queen’s Jubilee Fund


  • Business Philanthropy Club launched
  • First ‘Vital Signs’ report, identifying priority issues in Berkshire


  • HRH Princess Beatrice of York became our Royal Patron
  • Berkshire Flood Recovery Fund launched


  • Awarded the highest total of grants in any year of our history

History of Community Foundations


Our peopleOur resourcesGiving to your communityBerkshire case studiesLatest news

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  • “Diligence is always needed, as great projects, indeed great communities, aren't formed overnight."
    Joe McKenna
    Executive Director of BCF, 1993-1998
  • “During my 13 years as Lord Lieutenant, I witnessed what a difference Berkshire Community Foundation's grants made to the lives of so many people in Berkshire.”
    Sir Philip Wroughton KCVO DL
    Honorary Life President, Berkshire Community Foundation
  • "I believe in Berkshire. We all put our own families and homes first but in doing so, we want to ensure the community in which we live is one that we can be proud of."
    Harry Henderson DL
    Vice President, Berkshire Community Foundation
  • “The continuing support for local groups would not have been possible without a myriad of corporate and individual supporters, enthusiastic trustees and staff, the dedication of whom underwrites the success of Berkshire Community."
    Brigadier Robin Draper CVO OBE
    CEO, Berkshire Community Foundation 1998-2008
  • “Since I first became a trustee in 1991, my enthusiasm for BCF has never waned, as is the case it seems for everyone else who gets to know BCF. Particularly, of course, the recipients, who not only receive a grant but also sound advice on all aspects of developing the work of their organisation."
    Jane Wates OBE
    Vice President, Berkshire Community Foundation
  • “The original plans for the Foundation were driven by the needs of those living in Berkshire and how those needs could be alleviated. History has proven that not only was the concept behind the Foundation an inspired idea, but it was a workable one. As a former trustee of BCF, I am very proud that my family was involved from the start in establishing and developing such a fundamental part of charitable operations within the county."
    Richard Benyon MP
    MP for Newbury
  • "Phi-lan-thro-py: the act of donating money, goods, time or effort to support a charitable cause...any altruistic activity which is intended to promote good, or improve the quality of human life..."
    Definition of philanthropy
  • "I recognise that those of us that are luckier in life than others have the responsibility to those that are finding life a struggle... The Foundation makes it all so simple for me - I know the process and attention to detail ensures that what little help I do give hits the spot in the most efficient manner it can."
    Harry Henderson DL
    Vice President, Berkshire Community Foundation
  • "We have been very active in Slough, thanks largely to your very generous funding award."
    David Jannetta
    CEO, Alzheimer's Dementia Support
  • “We are very grateful to Berkshire Community Foundation for their grant. The funding will help Launchpad to continue to provide one to one support to disadvantaged people in Reading – by providing a clean, safe home, the foundation of all our support – and then the services to help people get their lives back on track: education, training and employment.”
    Roz Taylor
    Launchpad Reading
  • “We would not have been able to fund so many of these events without the generous support of Berkshire Community Foundation and we are immensely grateful. The smiling faces of the Young Carers says it all.”
    Alison McIntyre
    Friends of Young Carers
  • “Although child poverty is falling in the UK, there are still too many children growing up in disadvantaged circumstances, and we cannot be blind to areas of deprivation even in relatively affluent places such as Berkshire.”
    The Rt Hon. Theresa May MP
    Prime Minister