Guiding principles

These principles outline how we aim to work as an organisation. They guide our activity, serve as a reference for our ongoing work, and help to ensure that our actions are consistent with our aspirations.

We aim to continue the legacy of philanthropy established by our founder Henry Smith

  • To honour the spirit of Henry Smith’s will and interpret his charitable ethos for our modern society.
  • To provide stewardship of the charity’s assets.
  • To fund organisations from all over the UK.

We focus on those social problems where there is an opportunity for our money to make a difference

  • We have clearly defined focus areas.
  • We focus on areas that are underfunded or where there is high need or demand.
  • We focus on work with a track record of success.

We endeavour to maximise the effectiveness of our funding

  • Our grant making is focused on achieving results.
  • We monitor and assess the effectiveness of our grant making and of The Henry Smith Charity more broadly.
  • We aim to build on our knowledge and experience- learning from the successes and failures of our work and that of our grantees in order to improve.
  • We listen to grantees and other stakeholders to improve our grant making process.

We seek to be responsive

  • Within our focus areas we are needs-led, listening to what applicants judge to be important.
  • We aim to be accessible and open.
  • We are flexible, responding to local circumstances and changing context.
  • In the longer term we review our focus areas to ensure we keep pace with the evolving needs of society.

We aim to maintain a rational, pragmatic approach

  • We make robust assessments of organisations and funding applications.
  • We maintain a light touch and open relationship with grantees.
  • We take a proportional approach to monitoring and evaluation.
  • We maintain an appropriate public profile to ensure potential applicants know about us.

We aim to be as helpful as possible to those we seek to assist

  • We will fund both running costs and project costs.
  • We are prepared to support organisations with long-term funding.
  • We are open and transparent about the work we support and why we support it.
  • We act clearly, fairly, honestly and with integrity in all of our activities.