The overarching aim of the Wolfson Foundation, one of the UK’s largest and most influential independent grant-making charities, is to fund capital infrastructure in the four areas detailed below. Its Funding for Places programme offers grants for new buildings and the refurbishment of existing buildings, as well as for equipment.
1. EDUCATION - support is available for high-achieving state-funded secondary schools and sixth form colleges to improve the teaching of science, computer science, design & technology, art, languages and performing arts at GCSE and A-Level. Grants are generally awarded towards new builds, refurbishment and technical equipment.
2. HEALTH AND DISABILITY - support is available for:
o Hospices and palliative care organisations which provide excellent care to patients and their families. Grants are awarded towards new buildings, refurbishment work and equipment.
o Organisations focused on mental illness. Grants are awarded towards capital projects with a particular emphasis on projects that focus on training, employment and supported housing.
o Organisations which provide care and services for older people, particularly if they have a neurodegenerative condition or are isolated. Grants are awarded towards new buildings, refurbishment work and equipment.
o Organisations working with disability. Grants are awarded towards capital projects that encourage independence. The Foundation is particularly interested in projects which focus on training, employment and supported housing, especially when the project aids the transition from children’s services to adults’ services, and
o Schools and colleges for children and young people with special educational needs. Grants are awarded for projects focused on helping pupils to develop skills which would help them to gain employment or live independently after leaving school or college.
3. HERITAGE, HUMANITIES AND THE ARTS – support is available for:
o Libraries and archives caring for nationally significant collections and which have a clear emphasis on public access and engagement. Grants are generally awarded towards collection storage facilities and research, education or interpretation spaces.
o Museums and galleries undertaking projects to improve the display and interpretation of nationally significant collections for the public. Grants are generally awarded towards refurbishing or creating new galleries and, occasionally, education and learning spaces.
o Organisations managing sites of outstanding historic, architectural and cultural significance and that have a clear emphasis on public access and engagement. Grants are awarded towards conservation and restoration work, interpretation, and education spaces, and
o Performing arts organisations with an outstanding artistic programme to improve their performance and training facilities. Grants are generally awarded towards refurbishment of artists’ facilities such as dressing rooms or other back stage spaces; refurbishment of auditorium facilities such as seating and rehearsal spaces; teaching and education facilities; and, less often, specialist equipment.
4. SCIENCE AND MEDICINE - support is available for:
o Organisations that are in possession of significant scientific or natural history collections to improve public engagement with science through projects related to the history of science. Grants are generally awarded towards refurbishing or creating new galleries and, occasionally, education and learning spaces, and
o Research intensive universities and research institutions. Grants are awarded towards new buildings, refurbishment work and major equipment to enable high quality research. Awards are also made on occasion to support access to university collections held in university-owned museums and research libraries or to improve public engagement with science.
There are no minimum or maximum levels of grant that can be applied for and the size of grant awards can vary significantly across the Foundation's 4 programme areas. In general, however, the Foundation will not fund projects where the total cost is below £15,000.
Match funding is required for projects where the total project cost is above £50,000 and should be in place at the point of submission of a Stage 2 application. Match funding may include funds committed by the organisation, funds already received, as well as confirmed pledges. (In the case of the National Lottery Heritage Fund, a round 1 pass is generally accepted as match funding.) Match funding may include any capital costs, including VAT and professional fees, related to the project. It should not include non-capital costs such as staff costs or other core funding costs.
The following match funding applies:
1. Arts and humanities, science and medicine or health and disability programmes - the Foundation generally requires that at least 25% of the capital costs of the project are raised before submission (unless the project cost is under £50,000).
2. Schools/education programme - where the total cost of the project is above £1 million, 25% match funding is required; if the total project cost is between £50,000 and £1 million, some match funds are required; and if the total project cost is below £50,000, no match funding is required.
During the year ended 31 March 2020, the Foundation awarded 286 grants totalling £43,664,851. Details of all awards made during the year are provided on pages 27-40 of the Foundation’s Annual Report.
Funding is not available for:
o Community Interest Companies (CICs).
o Costs of meetings, exhibitions, concerts, expeditions, etc.
o Film or promotional materials.
o Non-specific appeals (including circulars) and endowment funds.
o Overheads, maintenance costs, VAT and professional fees.
o Projects that have already been completed or will be by the time of award.
o Projects where the total cost is below £15,000.
o Purchase of land or existing buildings (including a building's freehold), or
o Repayment of loans.
Further information, guidance and details about how to apply are available on the Foundation’s website.
The Foundation operates a 2-stage application process with two funding rounds each year for Stage 1 applications, as follows:
o 5 January annually, and
o 1 July annually.
The next Stage 1 application deadline is therefore Wednesday 5 January 2022.