The study explores the role of philanthropic foundations in stimulating innovation and public entrepreneurship in English city government. There are over 10,000 philanthropic foundations in the UK. Examples include Nesta which spent approximately £10 million supporting public sector innovation during 2014/15. Other UK philanthropic foundations undertaking similar work include the Paul Hamlyn Foundation, Esmee Fairburn, Sylvia Adams Charitable Trust, and non-UK based foundations, such as Bloomberg Philanthropies and the Rockefeller Foundation. Despite this activity, and the frequent perception that philanthropic organisations are the prime innovators in public services, few studies have evaluated the impacts on innovation by philanthropic foundations collaborating with governments in the UK. The study will address this gap by analysing the relationship between government and philanthropic foundations in three English cities: Newcastle, Bristol and Manchester.