The Santander Foundation

We created the Santander Foundation to help disadvantaged people in the UK.
Throughout the years, we’ve supported a number of non-profit organisations to deliver charitable initiatives across the country. 
To date, we’ve awarded over £21 million to more than 11,600 charitable causes.

The Santander Foundation Grants Programme

We’re now proud to launch our new strategy for 2021 to 2024, helping people to become digitally and financially empowered
So, what’s it all about?

We’ve developed the Financial & Digital Empowerment Fund to help more people in the UK become digitally and financially empowered.

We want to support UK charities to give people the digital confidence, knowledge, and skills to enable then to make better, more informed decisions about money and have access to financial services. Together we can make a positive impact in our communities.

If you’re part of a charitable organisation that shares our ambition, then you’re in the right place. Together, lets make a difference.

Why are we doing it?

We all have a responsibility to ensure we have a positive impact on our communities and through our new strategy we believe we can do more.

We know that without access to appropriate mainstream financial services and tools, people pay more for goods and services and have less choice. The impacts of exclusion are not just financial but also affect education, employment, health, housing and overall wellbeing.

The pandemic has highlighted just how important digital and financial skills are. Millions of people have been forced to use the internet to carry out basic transactions, and for many this has proven a huge challenge.  With an increasing range of services likely to move online in the future, a lack of digital skills will further reduce the choices available to people. 

Who do we want to support?

There are millions of people in our society that are already at a disadvantage – through age, education, income, disability, or unemployment. Without the right support for them, the social inequality gap will only widen.

Many charitable and community interest organisations work with such groups; with people that feel the impacts of financial or digital exclusion the most.

We want to reach lone parents, single pensioners, migrants and refugees, those with long term illnesses and disabilities,  those struggling to find sustained employment  and households headed by students or part-time workers. These are among the groups most commonly excluded from financial services.

People with low or unstable incomes, or those who have experienced a significant life shock, are particularly affected by financial exclusion. The pandemic will only have made this situation worse, as more and more basic services have moved to the web. We want to help charities build their capacity to help people to become digitally and financially empowered.

What can we achieve together?

We want to empower people to make better decisions about money.

We want to equip people with better digital and financial literacy skills to achieve new opportunities for employment and education. 

We want people to feel safe when using digital tools.

Santander Foundation Theory of Change

To help us describe what we want to achieve, we developed - with support from experts at charity advice service NPC - a Theory of Change that explains:

  • the need we’re trying to address.
  • the changes we want to make (our outcomes).
  • what we plan to do (our activities).


The Theory of Change model


Santander Foundation Theory of Change

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What are we offering?

We want to provide grants to organisations in the UK, and support you in delivering digital and financial empowerment to people over the next three years.

  • We are investing £1.8 million into our Financial & Digital Empowerment Fund in 2021.
  • We aim to award 12 grants of up to a total of £150,000 per organisation. We’ll award grants over a three-year period.

If accepted, you can ask for differing amounts in each of the three years. You can request a minimum of £25,000 in any one year, with the maximum of £150,000 over three years.

Who can apply?

We have some important requirements that you must be able to meet to apply for a Santander Foundation Grant.

If your organisation chooses to apply you must:

  • be based in the UK and working within one of the nations or regions.
  • be a UK registered charity or Community Interest Company.
  • have at least three unconnected Trustees, Directors or Management Committee members. By unconnected we mean not related by blood, marriage, in a long-term relationship or living together at the same address.
  • have an annual income above £75,000. We anticipate most of the organisations we’ll support will be small and medium-sized organisations with an income of less than £2 million.
  • have a bank account in the organisation’s name with at least two unconnected signatories.
  • have been operating for at least 18 months and have at least one set of annual accounts.

Applications are now closed

Applications are now closed for the 2021 grants programme.

If you've applied for a grant, we'll be in touch to let you know the outcome once we've assessed your submission.

The timetable for applications and announcing our decisions is as follows.

28 June 2021

Programme open for application

10 September 2021

Shortlist applications

15 October 2021

Formalise the proposal for potential grantees