Our History

The DHL UK Foundation has existed by name since 2008 after the merging and acquisition of two distinguished foundations, however you can trace its roots all the way back to the 1880s.

To this day, our work continues to uphold the vision of the original founders more than 100 years ago – that together employees and the business can support and improve their communities, especially the lives of children and young people.

1880s - Ocean Group and the Holt Family

In the 1800s, the founding directors of the Ocean Group, the Liverpool-based Holt family, established the Philip Hold Charitable Trust and Benevolent Fund.

1880-2000 Philip Holt Charitable Trust

For over 100 years the Philip Holt Charitable Trust gave money to community projects in areas where the company worked and the benevolent Fund supported employees and their dependents who were in need.

1980s - National Freight Corporation

The National Freight Corporation (NFC) was one of the first businesses to be privatised under Margaret Thatcher in the early 1980s.

1988 - NFC Foundation formed

The Directors of the National Freight Corporation formed the NFC Foundation in 1988. The management had a profound belief that big business could and should make a difference to society. So, following in the footsteps of the Victorian industrialists, they set up a charitable trust with one per cent of the share capital from the privatisation of the business – forming the NFC foundation.

2000 - Exel Foundation

As a result of the merger between the Ocean Group and NFC, Exel PLC was formed in 2000 – bringing together these two distinguished organisations. The NFC foundation and the Philip Hold Benevolent Fund were then combined to become the Exel Foundation.

2002 - Deutsche Post

In 2002 Deutsche Post became the majority shareholder of DHL.


In late 2005, Exel was acquired by Deutsche Post DHL creating the global logistics company we know today.

2008 - DHL UK Foundation

In September 2008, the Exel Foundation was renamed the DHL UK Foundation. The original charitable trust money has been invested wisely and today still provides significant income to fund the DHL UK Foundation community programmes. The DHL UK businesses also make a substantial donation towards our work.

The Philip Holt Charitable Trust was reborn as the PH Holt Foundation in 2006 and continues its grand-making work, primarily in the Merseyside area.