Financial mutual Wesleyan has launched a new foundation with the aim of giving £1million a year to good causes.
In partnership with Heart of England Community Foundation, the Wesleyan Foundation hopes to award around 100 grants in its first year. It will ask customers and members to nominate voluntary organisations for consideration. Wesleyan members will also have the opportunity throughout the year to vote on selected charities and grant recipients. Charities, community groups and social enterprises that meet the criteria can also apply directly to the fund.
Three levels of funding will be awarded: small grants of £2,000 and under, medium-sized awards of between £2,000 and £10,000 and discretionary, large grants of more than £10,000.
The funding will come from Wesleyan, while Heart of England Community Foundation will administer the grants and distribute it to organisations across the UK.
In its first year, the Wesleyan Foundation has been set up with community foundations in: Birmingham, The Black Country, Warwickshire, South Yorkshire, Leeds & Bradford, Somerset, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire & Rutland, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Over time, more areas will be added, while applications from outside these areas will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
The first grants have already been allocated: the first three charities to receive medium-sized grants from the Foundation are Warwickshire Reminiscence Action Project, which works to reduce isolation for those with dementia; Pets as Therapy, which provides therapeutic visits to people in need across the UK; and Books Beyond Words, which supports people with learning and communication difficulties.
Wesleyan chairman Bryan Jackson said:
“Wesleyan has a legacy of supporting great causes, and our Foundation take that to the next level. As a mutual, our members already have a say in how we operate, and our Foundation now gives them a further chance to choose how we help worthwhile causes.
“By working with Heart of England Community Foundation, our hope is to award up to £1 million of grants per year to small charities and transform the lives of hundreds, if not thousands, of people in communities around the UK.”
Image: Wesleyan Foundation Launch at WRAP – Wesleyan chairman Bryan Jackson (back right) and Heart of England Community Foundation chief executive Tina Costello (back left) mark the launch of the new Wesleyan Foundation with attendees at the Warwickshire Reminiscence Action Project in Stratford-upon-Avon, one of the first to be awarded funding by the Foundation.
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