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About Us

Gower Street is a small, UK based, family-run charitable trust, originally established in 2007.  Founders Sophie and Nick Marple, started their philanthropy journey as individuals; Nick had spend time in Ghana and had been sponsoring a child there, whereas Sophie acted on her doorstep to help with issues in London. Later they combined their efforts to create the Marple Charitable Trust which later became Gower Street. 


Initially funding was focused on education across Sub-saharan Africa as well as in their local borough of Islington in the UK.  After a few years of funding across numerous countries, the organisation re-focused its work in Africa purely on Ghana, prioritising education for girls.  In 2017, the trust worked with Jake Hayman at Ten Years Time to revise its approach, which led to us focusing on system change work and funding smaller organisations doing transformatory work, and the following year, Gower Street began to develop a clearer focus on climate mitigation and adaptation.  

Gower Street takes a trust based approach to funding, going on the journey with their grantees and learning as they learn.  The team tries to provide core funding rather than restricted recognising the increased value that unrestricted funding offers our partners.  The team tries to keep bureaucracy as low as possible, and opt for a chat over a written report.  In 2020, Nick and Sophie decided to spend down the fund by 2030, aware that the money is needed in the sector now. 

As of the mid-point of 2024 we are now beyond halfway through our spend down journey. The amount of funding dispersed annually and new partners we can take on has peaked and we are moving down the other side of the curve, which will end in complete spend out by 2030. Much of Gower Street’s funding is now tied up in long term partnerships and the opportunities for taking on new partners is shrinking. As we enter this new phase the trustees have to ask themselves increasingly difficult questions about who to fund and we are having to tell many fantastic and effective organisations we are unable to accept applications from them. The potential partners we are considering now are those which are a) really closely aligned to Gower Street’s strategy b) highly complementary to the rest of our partners’ work and c) can’t reasonably be expected to get the funding they are requesting from other sources. 


Gower Street does not invite unsolicited applications however if you have read this website and feel that the work you do closely aligns with the areas the trust funds, feel free to send in a one pager (12 pt double space) outlining what you do and why you think Gower Street should fund you to or  The team will get in touch if they believe your work could be a potential for Gower Street funding (please don’t chase them).  All funding decisions are approved by our trustees and our board meets every 2 months. Gower Street welcomes feedback on our practice as a grant maker. If you would like to share this feedback anonymously you can do this via Grant Advisor.


We will not fund organisations who receive a significant amount of their income from oil or coal mining companies or similar. 

Gower Street is mindful of the time and effort that goes into applying for funding. The application process is therefore designed to be simple, based around conversation and a brief written application, which is only invited where there is a high chance of success. In 2022, 36 applications were considered by the trustees and 33 of these were approved. Gower Street will award any unsuccessful applicants that were invited to apply with a one off donation of £500 as compensation towards the time spent on the application process.

Where the money comes from and how it is invested

Gower St funds come predominantly from Nick's 30-year career in the sports gambling industry. Until deployed as grants, monies are invested for positive social and environmental impact (well beyond ESG) as well as financial return. Our investments are split between EQ Investors,  impact fund Snowball and a bespoke impact portfolio with Investec

Gower Street are signed up to IVAR's Open and Trusting Funders pledge, ACF's Funder Commitment on Climate Change and we participate in the RACE report.

In the media

Investing fora Better Future | 8 Nov 2022 | Circle Mena

From Girls' Education to Climate Funding | 18 May 2021 | Beacon Collaborative

Philanthropic Lives - The unique experiences of eight UK philanthropists | Think NPC

Wetlands, beavers & Cinderella causes; the growth of environmental funding 

24 Dec 2020 | The Guardian

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