Northern Rock Foundation was an innovative initiative in corporate and charitable giving. It was established as an independent charity when Northern Rock Building Society de-mutualised in 1997 and until 2007 was funded through a covenant whereby it received 5% of the new bank’s pre-tax profits annually – a much higher level of support than almost any other corporate organisation has given to its charitable foundation. In total between 1997 and 2010 the Foundation received £235 million from Northern Rock.
The Foundation continued following the collapse of the parent Building Society in 2007, but the decision was made to wind up the charity as the capital held was eroding. As part of the winding up strategy the final reserves held were divided equally between the three Community Foundations serving the North East, establishing a Northern Rock Fund within each Foundation to ensure the legacy of the company and the charity is protected.