- Assets: $328,000,000 (2014)
- Grants Awarded: $7,623,000 (2014)
The Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust (JRCT) was founded in 1904 by its namesake, a prominent Quaker entrepreneur and philanthropist. Viewing the unequal distribution of wealth as a defect inherent in all capitalist countries, JRCT aims to change “the existing power imbalances in society” and create “a better world.” Led by a board whose members are guided by the principles and values of Quakerism, the Trust focuses especially on eradicating the “root” causes of poverty, “social injustice,” and “political inequality”—and not merely on treating “the superficial manifestations” of those problems.
JRCT pursues the foregoing objectives by funding organizations that share its values and goals in five major areas:
* Peace: A member of the Peace and Security Funders Group, the Trust promotes “the nonviolent resolution of conflict, including work on the arms trade, the creation of a culture of peace, developing effective peace-building measures, and supporting the right to conscientious objection to military service.” Condemning the United Kingdom and the United States for continuing “to maintain large military forces, to base foreign policy on narrowly defined national interests, and to subsidize and facilitate the arms trade,” JRCT impugned the UK for having “joined the U.S. in an illegal invasion of Iraq” in 2003.
* Racial Justice: Asserting that “racial inequality is a real and serious problem in Britain today,” JRCT laments that “black people are more likely than white to live in deprived wards; more likely to be unemployed; and less likely to achieve good qualifications at school and university.” To address these inequalities, the Trust backs organizations that work to “empowe[r] black and minority ethnic people to engage in decision making and policy development.” It also supports efforts to “tackle Islamophobia.”
* Power and Responsibility: JRCT lends its support to groups that “foster understanding of, and respect for, human rights in government, business, and civil society as a means to promote social justice.”
* Quaker Concerns: This program supports efforts to “brin[g] Quaker values to the wider community,” and to “promote Friends’ understanding of Quakers’ shared history, theology and spirituality.”
* Ireland and Northern Ireland: The aim of JRCT’s grant-making in Ireland, which began in 1994, is to “contribute at a strategic level to the ongoing transformation of the Northern Ireland conflict through strengthening ‘new politics”; to foster “a culture of human rights, equality and civil liberties”; to support “initiatives which promote a shared understanding of the root causes of past violence”; and to “strengthen citizens’ engagement on social justice issues, particularly from marginalized groups.”
A growing concern of JRCT today is the issue of climate change, which the Trust characterizes as “both a symptom of our unsustainable and unjust global economic system, and a cause of serious injustice and conflict, both now and in the future.” Depicting this climatic trend as a by-product of greenhouse gases emitted by human industrial activity, JRCT encourages all its grantees and staffers “to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide and waste” they produce, and to use public rather than private transport whenever practicable. On those occasions when its staffers find it necessary to travel by air, the Trust purchases “carbon offsets” to atone for having participated in a pollution-generating activity.
Among the beneficiaries of JRCT grants are such organizations as the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, Christian Peacemaker Teams, New Profile, and War on Want.
(To view sources of information on JRCT’s grant-making activities, click here, here, and here.)
For additional information on JRTC, click here.