CAF Private Clients


An insight into our collaboration with Woodford Investment Management and the creation of Charity Future, a think tank that supports charities by concentrating on three broad areas – leadership/governance, collaboration and reputation.


Helping charities prepare for the future by improving and changing the way they work is no easy task.

But our Private Client team has been supporting one of its trusted donors, Woodford Investment Management, to do just that.

Woodford began their charitable journey in 2014 when the business was set up. They set off with a simple commitment to “do good stuff” and to initiate a programme that was high in energy but deliberately low profile.


Finding many of the charities they engaged with apologetic about core costs, they quickly gravitated to a programme which they described as “supporting the business of charity”.  This reached the next level in 2015 with the high-profile collapse of Kids Company which led to a conversation with former ACEVO CEO, Sir Stephen Bubb. This discussion was the trigger for the creation of the Charity Futures think tank the following year - led by Sir Stephen.

The brief to Charity Futures was an uncommon one – to look at a fifty year horizon and to direct where resources should be best focused in order to make the biggest systemic improvement. Accordingly, the think tank has concentrated on three broad areas – charity leadership and governance, collaboration and reputation.

Jonathan Smith, Woodford’s Head of CSR, and Charity Futures Chair, explained our part in their journey:

“CAF provided a lot of answers for us from the outset,” he said. “It made setting up easy for us and has since become a powerful ally in all we are doing. We have developed great relationships with its account managers and Senior Team over the years.”


Since it was formed, Charity Futures has held consultations with chief executives and chairs from charities large and small, with sector experts and researchers, funders and philanthropists, charity academics and journalists, training providers, and umbrella bodies all around the UK.

It has produced reports for the sector, including a publication on the potential applications of blockchain technology on charities, and a report on how behavioural science can help charities better understand funders. It hopes to take this to the next level with the creation of an Institute of Charity in Oxford.

Woodford has also co-founded a social enterprise called UTOPY, which is working in collaboration with Charity Futures, to help build a progressive sector.

Through us, Woodford also regularly donates funds to charity partners to support core costs. This includes six figure sums to the Prince’s Trust and Eden Project as well smaller sums to literally dozens of other charities.

“Our programme is not a conventional one,” Jonathan explained. “It’s ambitious, the measurement metrics are not easy and we need to be patient. What is clear though is that relationships and collaboration are at the heart of everything and CAF is certainly a key partner.”

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