The Trust's origins stem back to the Purey Cust Nursing Home which was founded by Canon Purey Cust in 1914. Canon Purey Cust was Dean of York from 1880 to 1917 and was so popular with the people of York and throughout Yorkshire generally, that when he retired it was decided to have a "Benefit Year" for him. During this year, a considerable sum of money was donated by people from all over Yorkshire from very ordinary people through to the very wealthy families.
Canon Purey Cust decided to use this money to build the Purey Cust Nursing Home on land leased from the Dean and Chapter which was located directly opposite York Minster.  In its early days, the Nursing Home was financially secure; it had no rent or interest on loans to repay and it was therefore possible to keep the charges to patients very low. However, the advent of the National Health Service had a significant impact upon the numbers of patients paying to use the hospital's services and by the early 1950s, the Home was very soon suffering substantial losses.
In 1948, The Home had investments of over £8,000 which were credited to what was termed the "District Nursing Fund". When District Nursing was handed over to the Local Authority with the advent of the NHS, it was agreed that the investments should be used to form a charitable trust. A cy pres scheme for the use of the income from these investments was approved by the Charity Commissioners in 1950 which decreed that the income should be spent on amenities and comforts for the Sick Poor in the City of York. A joint committee was set up of members of the Home's management committee together with the Medical Officer to administer the fund. 
In 1968 the Trustees arrived at an agreement with Nuffield Hospitals, wherby in exchange for a long lease, Nuffield would carry out major refurbishment to the buildings and use them as their hospital in York.
This worked very well for many years until the requirements of modern hospitals changed and the physical nature of the Purey Cust hospital buildings were no longer suitable. Eventually Nuffield moved into their new hospital facilities. The Trust recently sold the Purey Cust buildings and intends to use the proceeds to further their grant making activities in and around the City of York. During 2014, the Trust became a Charitable Incorporated Organisation and the assets of the original Charity were transferred to the CIO.