Mr. and Mrs. Spalding founded this Trust in the early twentieth century when the study of different religions was neither well-established nor fashionable.

Today, the Trust continues to make grants for the study of recognised religious traditions of the world. A small part of the Trust is allocated as the Ellen Rebe Spalding Memorial Fund.

Trustees make grants from the main fund - often up to £2,000 for any one grant - to encourage the study of a recognised religious tradition other than one's own or to study religion from a comparative perspective. In practice, some grants have enabled graduate students to study comparative religion at academic institutions. Others have been for travel either to conferences or to study a religion in the country where it is practised. A few grants have been to buy books for libraries.

The vision for this Trust and the Trust’s history is recorded in:

Edward Hulmes, The Spalding Trust and the Union for the Study of the Great Religions (Memoir Club, 2002). ISBN 1 84104 040 1.
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