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Our current programme


The aim of this funding programme:-

  • To contribute to a more resilient, sustainable and fairer economic system.

The current economic and social disruption in the UK and beyond has demonstrated that financial markets can exacerbate social disharmony and inequality. But must this always be so? Why can’t financial systems be transformed into an ‘engine’ for social benefits, and economic goods and services, actively reversing the impact of recent years? Since 2006 the Foundation has actively explored ethical financial systems through its grants and social investment programme The Right Use of Money. We re-visited the themes identified and felt it was time to address some of the fundamental issues relating to our economic systems.

Financial markets and economic systems have a direct impact on all our lives. How they operate affects how we live, and the costs of goods and services. Our financial citizenship and access to appropriate financial services are heavily dependent on how they function, thus making them flexible and resilient to shocks is in all our interests.

Friends Provident Foundation is particularly concerned with the impact of economic systems on the most vulnerable. This is where the flaws in the system show most starkly, not just in terms of poverty, but also inequality.

Programme outcomes:-

There are two outcomes that flow from the overall aim: ‘systems change’ and ‘local economic resilience’. We ask applicants to decide which one they wish to contribute to.

Systems change:

This part of the programme involves a radical assessment of how ‘disruptive innovation’ might change the financial system – exploring and informing changes to the regulatory, policy or other systemic level that would develop financial system innovations with the potential to deliver our aim. Projects in this category will require strong analysis of the issues and possible solutions. They will also need to develop and demonstrate methods that will effectively change policy and corporate behaviours in pursuit of wider social objectives. Our aim would be to stimulate feasible new ideas and scaleable, practical examples. Click here for an example of a project that we are already funding under the Systems Change outcome.

Examples of other projects we might fund under this outcome would include:

  • An exploration of how far the regulatory system considers ‘fairness’ and ‘sustainability’ to be measurable market outcomes.
  • A comparison of methodologies for changing corporate behaviours.
  • Peer-to-peer lending: risks, rewards, regulation.
  • Pensions: the potential and limitations of long-term capital.

Local economic resilience:

The aim of this part of the programme will be to support the development of local economic resilience. Projects should build on the technologies and approaches that currently assist localities to create economic growth and retain its value. This could be work relating to community assets, sweat equity schemes and other local resources. We expect projects in this category to build partnerships with other funders doing similar work at the local level, to learn from and share learning between local initiatives. Projects in this category should be guided by research that nef did for us on local or small-scale initiatives that build economic resilience through diversity, flexibility and increasing capacity. The reports can be downloaded here: full report / appendices / literature review.

Examples of projects we might fund under this outcome:

  • Local economics in global economies – critical analysis of the evidence on resilient economies.
  • The feasibility of collective procurement models for low income communities. 

Project Approaches:-

We wish to know how projects will go about addressing their chosen outcome. To this end, we would ask all applicants to indicate which one of the following approaches they intend to take:

• Innovation: Development work to propose new solutions.

• Intelligence: Research that will gather evidence to support and inform practice.

• Institutions: The creation or maintenance of key organisations/functions that are important for building economic resilience.

• Influencing: Exploring or piloting ways of influencing corporate, regulatory or policy players.


A list of projects that have been funded so far can be found here.

… and a list of reports that have been produced so far can be found here.


Download your own copy of our funding leaflet here:



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