Who We Are

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The Katharine Howard Foundation (KHF) is an independent Foundation focused on improving the lives of young children and their families.

Our work is underpinned by a commitment to equality and overcoming disadvantage and to promoting equality of opportunity for all children. We work with others in identifying their needs, building on existing programmes, making strategic grants and sharing the learning. KHF aims to contribute to the development of policy and practice, particularly in the early years and family support sectors.

Katharine Howard

The Katharine Howard Foundation (KHF) was established in 1979 by Katharine Howard, who was the last survivor of the Earls of Wicklow and resided most of her adult life in Co Wexford. She set up the Foundation with assistance from friends who agreed to support her by becoming Trustees. Her intention was to support locally based projects and community activities.

Initially she allocated modest funds to the Trust which distributed small amounts of funds until her death in 1990. Subsequently her estate and that of her American grandmother was then added to her endowment fund and this greatly increased the funding that was available to distribute. These funds were then carefully invested by the Trustees who also expanded the organisation and sought advice to become strategic and focused about its grant making.

The Foundation, as an independent Irish grant making Foundation, has an emphasis on working with children and families by supporting community projects and initiatives in areas that are socio-economically disadvantaged. Building on this work KHF aims to influence policy and practice so that they are informed by relevant evidence, and ultimately achieve better outcomes for children, young people, families and communities. KHF has implemented several strategic grant programmes since 2001 and through this work, developed a positive track record of working in partnership with statutory, community and voluntary organisations and other funders. This partnership approach has proved successful over the years and helped the Foundation to meet its objectives.

During 2018 KHF completed grant making within the Parenting Support Initiative (PSI), a three year (2013-2016) strategic grants initiative with a focus on children from birth to three years and their parents, with a emphasis on supporting parents in their parenting role. This was a collaborative partnership between the Katharine Howard Foundation and The Community Foundation for Ireland. A second key priority for the Foundation in 2018 was the implementation of The Nurture Programme: Infant Health and Wellbeing (2015-2019) in partnership with The Atlantic Philanthropies, the Health Service Executive and the Centre for Effective Services. The Grant for the Programme is managed by KHF and the Programme aims to support the strategic reform of universal health and wellbeing services provided by the Health Service Executive for infants and their families.