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Foyle Foundation Grants

By: Kevin Watson MSc - Updated: 5 Oct 2011 | comments*Discuss
Foyle Foundation Grants Arts Learning

The Foyle Foundation offers grants to UK charities rather than individuals. The main grants scheme awards money to charities involved with arts and learning. A second scheme, the small grants scheme, considers grant requests from small charities working in any field. The Foundation also runs the Foyle Schools Library Programme.


The Foyle Foundation began in November 2001. It came about as a result of the terms of Christina Foyle’s will. Christina Foyle was the daughter of William Foyle, the joint founder of the Foyles bookshop, Charing Cross Road, London. In her will, Christina Foyle arranged the establishment of an independent grant-making trust. This trust, known as the Foyle Foundation, has now awarded more than £44 million worth of grants.

A Board of Trustees governs the Foundation. The Board meets regularly to consider grant applications and make awards.


The Foyle Foundation supports the performing and visual arts. Its purpose is to maintain the arts and help projects that demonstrate artistic vision. Applicants should build as strong a case as possible for support. They should also emphasise sustainability and value for money.

The Foundation has awarded grants for projects that support new artists and work. It is also keen to encourage accessibility to the arts and develop new audiences. With this in mind, the Foundation helps with festivals, tours and educational initiatives. Other projects to have received Foyle Foundation funding include those that have cut artistic overheads, created extra income streams, and improved existing venues for performances and viewings.


The aim of the Foyle Foundation’s learning grants is to encourage the acquisition of knowledge over the long term. Charitable institutions likely to receive support include archives, libraries and museums. The Foundation is also interested in projects that help people who have learning difficulties and special educational needs.

In a similar way to the arts scheme, the Foundation aims to support projects that cut existing costs and generate additional money for an organisation.

Small Grants Scheme

The small grants scheme is distinct from the arts and learning programmes. It supports charities with an annual turnover no greater than £100,000. These charities must be in clear need of funding. If a small charity has a consistent operational surplus, or has financial reserves equivalent to three months turnover, the Foyle Foundation will not consider awarding a grant.

Suitable charities can work in any field. The Foundation is especially willing to help those involved with local communities.

Foyle Schools Library Programme

The Foyle Foundation manages a grant scheme for state schools. Most of the funding goes to the Foyle Schools Library Programme.

In the UK, schools do not have a legal requirement to maintain a library. As a result, many school libraries have poor resources. The Foyle Schools Library Programme aims to help out. It provides grants to buy reading books for school libraries. It also considers applications for library software, computers and furniture. The Board of Trustees looks for schools that can maintain their libraries in the future, and that work together with other schools to boost standards of literacy.

The Foundation considers applications for non-library projects that have educational benefit. Any state school can apply, including those that have children with special educational needs.

Grant Amounts

Grants for schools start at £3,000 and go up to £10,000. The small grants scheme makes awards between £1,000 and £10,000. The grants are for a year. The Foundation does not make multi-year grants. Main scheme grants for arts and learning vary widely in the amount awarded. The Foundation has made grants up to £250,000. The Foundation only considers capital project grants in excess of £50,000 twice a year.


Charities can apply to the Foyle Foundation at any time. There are no deadlines. A decision may take up to four months in most instances. For capital project grants above £50,000, the wait may be up to six months.

Guidelines and application forms are available in hard copy or electronically. The Foundation acknowledges receipt of an application within two weeks.

Exceptional Grants

The Foundation makes exceptional grants from time to time. Applicants must have a project that will not go ahead without a grant. Alternatively, the project could be of national significance.

In 2003, for example, the Foundation awarded £1.2 million to the Royal Academy of Music. The purpose of the grant was to prevent the sale and dispersal of The Menuhin Archive, which includes musical manuscripts, correspondence and photos. The following year, the Foundation gave £450,000 to the Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies. The centre used the money to buy the Montefiori Library.

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