The Ironmongers' Foundation (formerly Quincentenary Charitable fund) was established in 1963 to mark the 500th anniversary of the granting of the Company's charter by King Edward IV. It depends on donations from the Company and its freemen, industry and the public. The funds are used primarily to foster the Company's connection with the iron and steel trade.
The Ironmongers' University Scholarship Scheme was conceived in 2006. Since then it has enabled 21 talented and high-achieving students, who may not otherwise have been able to afford to attend university, to study subjects such as engineering and materials science.
The scheme is now closed to new applicants following the introduction by the Government from September 2012 of enhanced arrangements of grants and loans for students from low income backgrounds. Students can find out more on the Directgov website.
Reinforcing this work is the Company's annual schools' event, Serious About Science. This day of practical activities, talks and student presentations, aims to enthuse young people in Years 9 and 13 about how exciting and important science can be. Around 175 students from 13 schools take part each year. By inspiring them to study science subjects at GCSE and A Level, it is hoped to help address the declining numbers of students choosing these subjects at school and university.
Grants are made from the Ironmongers' Foundation to the materials departments of Birmingham, Cambridge, Manchester, Oxford and Sheffield Universities and to Imperial College, London. They are used at the discretion of the heads of the department to support and encourage students engaged in research in iron and steel.
In 1977 the Company set up a Jubilee Award for the foundry industry to commemorate the Queen's Silver Jubilee. An annual prize consisting of a medal and attendance at the World Foundry Congress, is given to a person aged under thirty two who has produced the best piece of development work in the ferrous foundry industry. The winner is selected with the help of the Institute of Cast Metals Engineers.
The Company encourages the study of ironwork through student bursaries at colleges of further education. Grants are also made to organisations for the restoration of historic ironwork and the creation of new decorative iron and steel work.
Through this fund, the Company gives grants to organisations connected to its historic traditions and to the City of London, for example the Sea Cadets and Army Cadets, the Lord Mayor's Appeal and Guildhall School of Music and Drama.