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Prominent UK grantmaker to close after refusing funding offer from parent company

The Body Shop Foundation, which for 27 years has been aligned with - and primarily funded by - high-profile UK corporate The Body Shop International, will shutter in 2017 after refusing a funding offer from the corporate body's new ownership.

In a statement on its website the grantmaker revealed it had decided to shut after being unable to come to an agreement with L'Oreal - which purchased the Body Shop in 2006 for more than £650 million.

The statement strong hinted that the grantmaker's continued independence would be threatened if it had accepted the funding offer.

"(The Foundation) was founded by two 'Merchants of Vision' - the irrepressible and irreplaceable Dame Anita and Gordon Roddick," the Foundation's statement said.

" Their vision for the charity was to be brave and bold - by supporting small, innovative charities that work at the coal face of issues, raising awareness, challenging laws and attitudes and ultimately changing lives. In particular they insisted that the Foundation should be constituted as entirely independent from The Body Shop International, so that it could support those that the company could not.

"Over our 27 years, with over £24 million donated and invested, we're incredibly proud to have found and funded some of the world's most progressive organisations working for positive social and environmental change. Our funding focus - deliberately flexible - allowed us to be nimble and quick, funding cutting edge, dynamic and undercover work on issues relevant and current to us all.

"Over the years, the charity has been primarily funded by The Body Shop International and we worked side by side on a shared set of values to make the world a better place.

"Unfortunately, despite our history and impact our lengthy conversations with the current management of The Body Shop have not resulted in a shared vision for the independent future of the Foundation. A committed funding stream has not been agreed, nor has a fundraising product been put in place for us in 2017.

"This means that Foundation is now unsustainable as the independent organisation that our founders envisaged. This is why, sadly - and to quote The Body Shop themselves, '…we've been unable to align our future'."

Body Shop International moots new foundation

Civil Society Media reports that the Body Shop had invited the Foundation to work with it "in a new way".

"The Body Shop launched a new global sustainability project earlier this year and said it had 'invited The Body Shop Foundation to work with us in a new way' because the new plan means it needs to 'think differently and more radically and creatively than before across the full range of our activities, including our philanthropic efforts'," it reported.

"It has now said it will set up a new foundation to carry out its philanthropic activity, which it said will also be known as The Body Shop Foundation."

The company thanked the Foundation, its volunteers, supporters, fundraisers and those it had funded.

"Over the years, countless numbers of our employees have donated their time, energy and effort to support the Foundation's activities through volunteering. We have been inspired by the Foundation and all who have worked in its dedicated team. We wish them all the very best for the future," it said.

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