The British Asian Trust was founded in July 2007 by a group of British Asian business leaders at the suggestion of HRH The Prince of Wales.

It serves as a ‘social fund’ to support high impact charities within the areas of education, enterprise and health in Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and the UK.

The British Asian Trust has a particular focus on researching, identifying and then supporting its chosen projects. Our emphasis on impact measurement ensures that any giving through, or in partnership with, our fund is both effective and sustainable.


Soon after inception, The British Asian Trust conducted an extensive survey amongst British citizens of South Asian descent to assess the greatest obstacles to effective and increased philanthropy. The results suggested:

  • Approximately, 80% felt that the lack of transparency and information on the NGO sector made them hesitate about giving money;
  • Where large donations are being made to help good causes in South Asia, the majority are distributed with little thought given to the long-term impact for the NGO. In India for example, less than 3% of the NGOs reviewed by New Philanthropy Capital measured impact in ways that would be considered robust;
  • Approximately 50% of giving by British Asians is donated to ‘local’ (typically place of origin) related causes;
  • Too much giving goes into construction of new sites (e.g. schools, temples, hospitals) with inadequate investment onto the ongoing management of such investments;

The Trust’s research concluded that the vast majority of charitable giving fails to have the desired impact, through ineffective governance.

The above context informed the Trust’s Approach.