Rowntree A-Z

Joseph Rowntree Foundation

Established in 1904 as the Joseph Rowntree Village Trust, to alleviate the conditions of working people by providing improved housing. The endowment to the JRVT comprised the New Earswick garden village properties, and shares in Rowntree & Co to a total value of £62,165 (24% of which was the property value).

First name change and offshoots

In 1959 the trust changed its name to the Joseph Rowntree Memorial Trust (JRMT) and its powers were widened to enable it to support research into housing and social questions. In 1968 the Joseph Rowntree Housing Trust was created as a legally separate housing organisation to take over responsibility for housing operations.

In 1971 JRMT established the Centre for Studies in Social Policy, based in London, with funding of £120,000. In 1972 JRMT accepted responsibility for the management of the Family Fund.  Its support for research and development included: housing studies (1950s-60s), poverty in York (1960s) and social work projects and support for voluntary organisations in East Africa (1980s).

In 1982 the JRHT won a High Court case determining that leasehold schemes for the elderly should qualify as charitable housing.

Second name change

In 1988 the Joseph Rowntree Memorial Trust was renamed the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) and moved to the Homestead in York.

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation today

Today, JRF is one of the largest UK social policy research charities, working to solve UK Poverty (see external link below).


The Joseph Rowntree Housing Trust (author), One Man’s Vision: The Story of the Joseph Rowntree Village Trust (Allen and Unwin, 1954)

Lewis Waddilove, Private Philanthropy and Public Welfare: The Joseph Rowntree Memorial Trust 1954-1979 (Allen and Unwin, 1983).

External Links

Support Us

Our work is enabled by grant funding from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust, and the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust. If you would like to make a financial donation to further support our work, it is easy to pay online (with or without Gift Aid) by clicking the link below. You can get in touch with us about other ways of giving via