Joseph Rowntree Foundation

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Joseph Rowntree Foundation
Joseph Rowntree Foundation logo.png
Formation1904; 115 years ago (1904)
Official language
Chief Executive
Campbell Robb

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) is a British social policy research and development charity, that funds a UK-wide research and development programme. It seeks to understand the root causes of social problems, to identify ways of overcoming them, and to show how social needs can be met in practice.[1] JRF works by funding research and taking forward the lessons learned, engaging with policy-makers and practitioners to develop better solutions. It is politically leftist but non-partisan and independent from all UK political parties.[2]

JRF works in partnership with the Joseph Rowntree Housing Trust (JRHT).[3] JRHT provides housing, care homes, retirement and supported housing, and demonstrates new approaches in these areas. It manages more than 2,000 homes, roughly half of which are in New Earswick, York. The remainder are in the City of York and surrounding areas. JRHT also provides retirement and supported housing services in York and other parts of north-east England.

Current programme areas[edit]

  • Poverty: examining the root causes of poverty, inequality and disadvantage and identifying solutions.[4] For example, work on the annual Minimum Income Standard for the UK - working with members of the public and experts to find out what income people need to live on.[5]
  • Place: contributing to the building and development of strong, sustainable and inclusive communities. For example, the Housing and Neighbourhoods Monitor - identifying key housing and neighbourhoods statistics across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.[6]
  • Ageing Society: how people and communities can have control of their own lives. For example, research into A better life - What needs to change so that older people, especially those with high support needs, can have a better quality of life?[7]


The Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) was founded in 1904, and is one of four trusts established by Joseph Rowntree.[8] Then known as the Joseph Rowntree Village Trust, its original purpose was to build and manage the garden village of New Earswick, York.

Joseph Rowntree wanted his money to be used to tackle the root causes of social problems, rather than treating their symptoms. His Memorandum of 1904 stated: "I feel that much of the current philanthropic effort is directed to remedying the more superficial manifestations of weakness or evil, while little thought or effort is directed to search out their underlying causes ... [seek] to search out the under-lying causes of weakness or evil in the community, rather than ... remedying their more superficial manifestations."[9]

In 1988, Richard Best became director of JRF, holding the post until 2006. In 1989, Roland Hurst, a Quaker, joined as Director of Information Services. He sought to disseminate and publicise the results of JRF-funded research. To achieve this, he introduced the "Findings" series which summarised research reports in a four-page summary paper.[10]

Today, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation spends around £10 million a year on its research and development programme and on taking forward key messages. The majority of JRF-funded research is available to download free of charge from the JRF website.[11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Joseph Rowntree Foundation website
  2. ^ "Personal Finance: It's murder out there". The Independent. 3 September 1999. Retrieved 8 October 2016.
  3. ^ JRHT website
  4. ^ JRF's about us page Archived 2010-06-30 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ JRF's Minimum Income Standards page
  6. ^ JRF's HNM page Archived 2010-02-11 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ JRF's Better Life page
  8. ^ History of JRF on official website
  9. ^ JRF's Our heritage page
  10. ^ Michael Irwin Of Town and Gown: Roland Hurst (Obituary) Education Guardian November 1991
  11. ^ JRF's reports page

External links[edit]