Since the Scottish Community Foudation began in 1996 we have distributed over £14 million in grants across Scotland. Every penny has gone to help enhance life in all kinds of communities, often opening doors of opportunity that would otherwise have remained firmly closed. You can find out more information about what kind of grantmaker we are below.
In 2006/07 financial year we made 313 grants through our most popular programmes, Community Grants and the Women's Fund for Scotland. Of these, 195 were ‘main grants’ of between £1,000 and £5,000, and 118 were ‘small grants’ up to £1,000. The average grant size was £3,300 (main) and £550 (small). Additional information on Grants up to £10,000 is available below.
These 'open' programmes are becoming increasingly competitive. The success rate for applicants last year declined to 48% - due to the increasing volume of applications - and many awards were not at the full amount requested.
In the 2007/08 financial year, we expect to make grants totalling approximately £3.15 million across all our programmes, including the Fair Share Trust.
One of the benefits of being an independent charitable foundation is our flexibility. It means we can respond in a host of different ways to the needs of Scotland’s communities. It also allows us to inform the interests and wishes of givers who want to contribute in the most effective ways possible.
The money is distributed on their behalf either through our General Community Grants programmes or through specific funds, matching projects to the givers’ stated charitable goals.
Funds are also raised by participants in our challenge events, the immensely sucessful Caledonian Challenge.
As well as our own grantmaking programmes, we also act as a delivery agent on behalf of other funders to administer grant programmes on their behalf where these are in line with our overall aims. The Fair Share Trust programme is one example, where we are distributing money from the Big Lottery Fund. Another is the Sport Relief grants programme, which we administer on behalf of Comic Relief.
To date, much of our grantmaking has been about small, quick and accessible grants for immediate results. However we are now developing a more strategic direction to some of our grantmaking and in 2007 we launched Community Investment grants, making awards of approximately £50,000 over two years to projects working within 3 'investment areas': Building Enterprising Communities, Connecting Generations, and Repositioning Organisations. The first 8 projects to benefit from these grants were announced in October 2007.
We run three grants programmes which groups across Scotland can apply to at any time, provided they meet our eligibility criteria: Community Grants, Women’s Fund for Scotland and Sport Relief. These all offer one-off awards enabling groups to fulfil their objectives and meet the needs of their members or the people they work with. We don’t fund activities for more than 12 months, although groups can reapply in subsequent years. Community Grants and the Women’s Fund for
Scotland offer grants of £250 to £5,000. Sport Relief grants are available between £1,000 and £10,000.
The majority of our funding is directed at locally based work involving, and often initiated by, members of that local community. For this reason we currently only consider applications from smaller organisations that have an income of less than £250,000 per annum (this does not apply to applications to the Women’s Fund for Scotland). For many of our grantees, the award from us may be the first grant they have received. We try to make the grant application process as ‘light touch’ as we can, particularly for requests for less than £1,000.
We are particularly keen to use the funds to make a real impact. Therefore we only accept applications for relatively small projects, where the amount requested from us is at least 25% of the total project costs.
Through the Fair Share Trust we work closely with 13 Scottish communities, selected to benefit from the programme. In each community we have established local panels to help us identify and tackle local priorities. By working in partnership with local agencies and organisations we can develop appropriate solutions to local problems and encourage suitable projects to apply for grants of up to £250,000. This intensive, strategic approach is strengthening the foundation’s links with communities, other funders and statutory and non-statuory agencies. It’s proving to be a real boost to our expertise on community needs in Scotland.
As Scotland’s Community Foundation, we are increasingly working with a range of donors to establish grantmaking programmes that support community activity in specific geographical areas within Scotland. Examples are the Kinross-shire Fund and the Community Benefit funds linked to renewable energy projects, such as the Spurness (Sanday) Wind Farm Community Benefit Fund. These will work in different ways but may offer opportunities for groups working in those areas to apply to us for a grant. Details of any such programmes can be found in the list of Our Current Grants Programmes.