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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 look for projects in this category to build partnerships; either with other funders or with other organisations doing similar work at the local level, to learn from, build upon and share learning between local initiatives in a complementary way. 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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    4 Responses to “Our current programme”

    1. This sounds really interesting. Is it possible to apply to this as an individual working in collaboration with community groups or would applications need to come from a constituted group?

      • Dear Brian,
        Thank you for your interest in the programme.
        As you suspect, we do not accept applications from individuals – only constituted organisations that are legally independent and have the managerial and governance structures to contract with us for support.
        And whilst we do encourage partnership and collaborative working, a single organisation would need to act as the lead for any application to us.
        With kind regards,
        Grants Manager

        • Hi Andrew, Would this include small parish/town councils? We are doing an economic plan for our town and have an innovative concept for funding the acquisition and development of assets that increase the capability of the town to attract higher paid employment and diversify away from farming – an area that is becoming highly mechanised and remains low paid. We are the lead organisation but are working with other community organisations and local businesses. thanks, Chris

          • Thank you for your enquiry, Chris. Technically, a parish or town council would be eligible to apply to us for funding. The main question would be whether your specific proposal around the economic plan was sufficiently relevant to our programme. The key test would be whether there was wider potential for the model that you’re developing. I therefore think a key area to focus on were you to submit an outline proposal to us would be what you think the prospects for replicability/scaleability would be and whether you had any plans to do any form of dissemination of your work.
            I hope this helps, but please do email us if you would like to follow up on anything.
            Kind regards,
            Andrew, Grants Manager


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