The Swire Charitable Trust

For over 45 years the Swire Charitable Trust has supported the work of charitable organisations in the UK and in 2018 we awarded grants totalling nearly £3 million to just over two hundred recipient charities. We are funded by John Swire & Sons Ltd, the London-headquartered parent company of the Swire Group. Founded in Liverpool in 1816, this is now a diverse business group employing over 120,000 people worldwide.

The Trust has three grant-making programmes – Opportunity, Heritage, and Environment – and we have specific aims underpinning each one of these, as well as overarching priorities to help guide us in our grant making. Details of these can be found here.

Running alongside our core programmes is the Trust’s Discretionary Fund which makes donations to charities at the suggestion of our stakeholders, across all sectors and regions of the UK.

The Swire Charitable Trust is governed by a board of six trustees who meet regularly to consider eligible funding requests and award grants. We are based in John Swire & Sons Ltd’s offices in London, where a small staff team look after all the UK-based Swire trusts and foundations.

Find out more about our grant-making programmes.

Other UK Swire Trusts and Foundations

The Swire Charitable Trust is part of a group of interrelated Swire philanthropic initiatives, which include the trusts and foundations listed below.

Swire Chinese Language Foundation

This is a private initiative funded by John Swire and Sons Ltd which aims to broaden the reach and improve the quality of Mandarin Chinese teaching in the UK. The Foundation works with selected schools and universities across the country to develop centres of excellence for teaching school children of all ages and training of teachers. There are 12 Swire Chinese Language Centres in Birmingham, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Gosforth, Liverpool, Leeds, London, Manchester, Newcastle, Norwich, Oxford and Sheffield. Find out more at

Swire Family Charitable Trusts

  • The Adrian Swire Charitable Trust
  • John Swire 1989 Charitable Trust
  • Swire 2765
  • The SCS Trust

The donations made by these family trusts are driven by the Trustees and the Swire family. The trusts support the work of a wide range of charities, across all sectors, both in the UK & overseas and are managed by the same staff team as the Swire Charitable Trust. It is rare for donations to be made in response to unsolicited applications.

Swire Scholarships Programme

The Swire Scholarships Programme was established as the Swire Educational Trust in the 1980s and it formally merged into The Swire Charitable Trust in 2015. The Programme sponsors graduate and postgraduate study at British and overseas universities for overseas students. Today many of its scholars attend Oxford, as well as London, Reading, and Southampton Universities. It is governed by the Trustees of the Swire Charitable Trust, but its day-to-day activities are managed independently of the Trust and we are not responsible for allocating individual scholarships. We ask eligible applicants to contact university admissions teams for further information.

Hong Kong Swire Trust

The Hong Kong based Swire Trust was established in 1983 as the philanthropic arm of Swire Pacific Limited.

Hong Kong – Swire Charitable Trust Swire Trust’s mission is to create positive change in Education, Marine and Arts through supporting registered non-profit organisations primarily in Hong Kong and Mainland China.  Please contact with enquiries.