The Foundation’s Finance Committee meets quarterly in advance of Board Meetings to review contributions received for specific campaigns and programs. The committee evaluates the connection each project has to the Foundation’s mission and recommends grants for approval by the full Board of Directors. The following grants were among those approved by the Board in 2020.

Fountains Abbey


The Royal Oak Foundation raised $251,500 in our 2020 National Trust appeal to support a major effort to conserve the Abbey and the landscape garden of Studley Royal.

Lake District


The Royal Oak Foundation has established The Grace and Thomas William Thompson Fund to support the work of the National Trust in the English Lake District, particularly property maintenance (especially of stonework) in the traditional style.

Land acquisitions of acreage around current Trust properties will also be supported, as well as being used for work that employs local hands-on crafts people or provides on-the-job training for people learning relevant maintenance crafts.

Churchilll’s Painting Studio at Chartwell


An anonymous donor is supporting the Painting Studio at Chartwell with a ten-year pledge to be paided quarterly. The studio contains the single largest collection of Churchill paintings in the world.

When opened in the late 1960s, the studio had fewer of Churchill’s paintings on display but with the gift of more of his works over the decades that followed, it has now been rehung to more closely represent the studio Churchill would have known, including removing paint from the oak shelves to bring back the 1960s appearance.

Bath Prior Park


The Trust is undertaking a project to restore the Georgian dams and refill the lakes at Bath’s Prior Park. The dams and Palladian Bridge are over 250 years old and in need of conservation work. A Royal Oak member donated $40,000 to the project.

Prior Park is one of the great wonders the Georgian world and was worked on by some of the greatest gardeners of the age including Capability Brown.

Garden Apprenticeship Program


Thanks to a generous donor, the garden apprentice program will go on despite the financial strain put on the Trust. The Garden Apprentice Program is committed to training the next generation of gardeners to preserve the legacy of the hundreds of gardens and landscape parks in the care of the Trust.

During their work-based, salaried placements, each apprentice will be hosted by a National Trust garden, gaining crucial knowledge and experience in heritage and biodiversity, alongside general gardening skills.

General Support


The National Trust suffered severe financial losses due to closure of it properties caused by of the Covid-19 crisis. Royal Oak members came forward to provide general support to the Trust during this time of great need. These funds will be used for general operating expense without restriction to any property or appeal.

Sponsored Projects Initiatives

The Royal Oak Foundation adopts a limited number of Sponsored Projects (SP) which are not National Trust properties but whose missions are related to the National Trust.  The Sponsored Projects Program assists these charities with fundraising in the United States and to enable them to offer a tax-deduction to their U.S. patrons without the expense of establishing their own U.S. subsidiaries.

The Royal Oak Foundation does not fundraise for these charitable organizations, and it does not make its own donors available to SPs for fundraising purposes.

The Great Dixter Charitable Trust: $37,900
The Great Dixter Charitable Trust provides continuing and expanding stewardship of the house and garden legacy left by Christopher Lloyd. This grant will be used to take on trainees, to carry out training programs and to undertake garden, buildings and curatorial conservation projects.

The Charleston Trust: $19,900
The Charleston Trust is home to an extensive collection of paintings, sculptures and ceramics by the original owners of the house and garden, the artists Duncan Grant and Vanessa Bell. This grant will provide support for the conservation, preservation and maintenance of the house and collection.

Dr. Johnson’s House: $3,400
Dr Johnson’s House is a charming 300-year-old townhouse, nestled amongst a maze of courts and alleys in the historic City of London. Samuel Johnson, the writer and wit, lived and worked here in the middle of the eighteenth century, compiling his great Dictionary of the English Language in the Garret.

The Wey and Arun Canal Trust: $53,350
Conceived during the Napoleonic Wars, the Canal was intended to provide a safe, efficient route from London to Portsmouth to carry goods supplying the dockyards. In its heyday, the Canal did carry many tons of cargo but the end of the war with France, and the arrival of the railways, sounded the death knell for the Wey & Arun as a business, and by 1871 it was formally closed. Today, the Wey & Arun Canal Trust is committed to restoring London’s lost route to the sea.