‘350 grants’ – a celebration of innovative giving

posted 21 Oct 2022 7 mins

In 2022, we celebrated the 350th anniversary of the founding of Hoare’s Bank. To mark that milestone, and as part of our ongoing commitment to social impact, we awarded £350,0000 in grants to selected charities – over and above our usual giving through the Golden Bottle Trust.

We wanted these grants to serve as ‘catalytic capital’, meaning that our aim was to support projects that promote change, that shift the status quo in ways that ripple out beyond the work of the charity in question. We do not expect any kind of return on the investment, which frees us to take risks, to embrace bold and imaginative ideas, to help make good things happen.

These are the charities selected for a ‘350 grant’:

CW+ (Chelsea and Westminster NHS Foundation)

The original Westminster Hospital came about after a meeting attended by ‘Good Henry’ Hoare in 1716, in a Fleet Street coffee shop next to the bank. A free hospital for Londoners was a new idea back then, as was Good Henry’s idea of raising funds by public subscription.

CW+, the hospital’s charity, continues to be a pioneer in healthcare. Innovative use of digital technology is its specialism: it has, for example, developed Sensium, a remote monitoring system that checks a patient’s heart rate, breathing and temperature every two minutes (4-6 hours is the norm). CW+ is also responsible for AI tech that tracks eye-movement, and so can flag the first signs of delirium. These and dozens of other projects constitute 21st-century solutions to some of the biggest challenges facing health provision today.


Thomas Coram’s Foundling Hospital was established in 1739. Again, the Hoare family was involved from the start: Henry Hoare ‘the Magnificent’ was one of the original governors. Today Coram, among other things,  advocates for children’s rights and works to improve the life chances of children across the country.

The ‘350 grant’ will go towards establishing the Coram Institute for the Future of Children. The Institute will drive research into children’s care and use that knowledge to craft solutions to real-world problems. It will also provide professionals with training and other resources. And through its Story Centre, the Institute will document and showcase children’s voices – as a service and an inspiration to the wider public.

Cambridge Children’s Hospital

When this hospital opens in 2025, it will usher in an entirely new approach to childhood wellbeing. As one clinician has said, ‘Children need psychological and physical care. Not one or the other. Not one before the other.’ Training for staff at Cambridge Children’s Hospital will be holistic – encompassing the mind and the body. In this respect, the hospital is the first of its kind (it is also the first purpose-built children’s hospital in this region, and so fills a geographical gap in the UK’s healthcare net). Its methods and insights will be a beacon and a template for other children’s hospitals. In the long and traumatic wake of COVID, the need for it could not be greater.

Somerset Wildlife Trust

The Somerset Wildlife Trust, which manages more than 1700 acres of nature reserves in the county, has embarked on a project to re-wet and re-wild an area around Honeygar, a derelict dairy farm. The aim is to show that, with enlightened management, decades of ecological damage can be reversed, and that nature itself is an ally in the work. The plan is to raise the water table around Honeygar by blocking drainage. As a result, life will literally come flooding back to these desiccated wetlands, and biodiversity will boom as egrets, water-voles, heron, otters and damselflies find a home. The aim is not just to make it happen, but to demonstrate what is possible when people are determined to reverse harm caused by human activity.

The Fore

Most charitable funding in the UK goes to large, well-known organisations: less than 10% goes to charities with an income below £500,000. Yet these small, local initiatives are often best placed to make a real difference. The Fore provides unrestricted grants to small or new charities that have strong management and the drive to make real, meaningful impact. The fact that the grants are unrestricted is key: most charities see this kind of funding as especially valuable because it allows them to pursue fresh, perhaps untried initiatives. The Fore is open to this kind of risk, and at the same time it provides the expertise that mitigates the risk by (for example) introducing charities to business partners and collaborators. No other UK funder works in this farsighted way.

Moors for the Future

Peatlands are vital in the fight against climate change because peat can lock up vast amounts of carbon – 20 times more than the equivalent area of woodland. But these ecosystems, like many others, are subject to damage and degradation. Moors for the Future aims to reverse that harm by halting erosion in areas such as the Peak District – an area which, it has been calculated, stores 20 million tonnes of carbon.  Moors and bogs are not just an enormously beneficial carbon sink, they are also a precious habitat for plants and wildlife, and places of great beauty.  The 350 grant will help pay for their conservation.

Christ’s Hospital

Founded by Edward VI in 1552, Christ’s Hospital in Horsham has always been an unusual institution. (For one thing, it admitted orphaned girls as well as orphaned boys right from the start). Like numerous Tudor schools for the poor, it evolved into a private school. However, Christ’s Hospital School provides more bursary support than any other independent boarding school in the UK. Of the 902 children who attended the school in 2020, 662 received bursaries and 118 paid no fees at all. And of course it is still co-educational, as it was when the building was housed on Newgate Street, a short walk from the bank’s site on Fleet Street.

National Churches Trust

For centuries, churches have played a key role in communities by providing advice, solace and aid to those who need it. Church buildings are also the strongboxes of our national history, accidental museums of art and craftsmanship, objects of architectural beauty – which is why they should be freely accessible to people of all faiths and none. For more than 200 years, it has been the work of the National Churches Trust to repair church buildings, to modernise them when they need it, and to promote churches that are of special importance or interest. The GBT’s grant will help the NCT keep churches at the heart of national life, where they naturally belong.

Royal Trinity Hospice

In 1891, Colonel William Hoare pledged £1000 to the founding of the UK’s first hospice. He needed another thousand to get the idea off the ground, so he placed an advertisement in The Times, requesting donations to a home ‘for the man who is neither curable or incurable, but dying’. His blunt, soldierly brand of compassion also happens to be one of the first instances of crowdfunding. Royal Trinity House now treats 2500 patients each year, but its work goes beyond end-of-life care. The hospice works to improve thinking around dying – for patients, families and the wider community – and it has pioneered the use of virtual reality to offer ‘bucket-list’ experiences to people in its care.

London Institute for Banking and Finance

The London Institute of Banking and Finance was founded in 1879 to provide leadership and training to the financial sector. In the 1990s, the Institute developed the first professional award linked to a university degree, and in 2017 it launched its first apprenticeship programme for the banking industry. The Institute has long been a force for positive change in the world of finance. As part of its mission, it awards bursaries aimed at making a career in banking accessible to people from all backgrounds. The ‘350 grant’ will go specifically to fund high-performing students who have a low household income. Recipients of the bursary are also offered a summer internship at the bank.