The Santander Foundation

In 2021 we launched the Santander Foundation Digital & Financial Empowerment Fund focused on supporting projects that will help people to become digitally and financially empowered.
The programme has the ambition to support UK charities to give people the digital confidence, knowledge, and skills to enable them to make better, more informed decisions about money and have access to financial services. 

The Santander Foundation Grants Programme

We’re proud to support 21 charitable organisations in the UK that work to help people to become digitally and financially empowered. 


“Without access to mainstream financial services and tools, the impacts of financial and digital exclusion are profound. Not only do people pay more for goods and services and have reduced choice, but it can also affect education, employment, health, housing, and overall wellbeing. Our programme aims to support charities who work with those that feel the impacts of financial or digital exclusion the most.”

Judith Moran, Santander Foundation Chair


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.
  • 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.
Get to know our grantees

Access To Business – supporting people with disabilities, or health issues and personal barriers preventing their development. They provide intensive 1-2-1 support and group sessions to improve the lives, skills, opportunities, and wellbeing.

Carmarthen Youth Project - building young people's self-worth by providing opportunities to learn skills in Digital and Financial literacy which it is widely assumed they have but many young people are missing.

CHAS Bristol - in collaboration with Talking Money, the charities are piloting a project to help parents attending Children’s Centres with a range of financial and digital literacy issues.

Code Your Future - training some of the most deprived members of society to become web developers and helps them to find work in the tech industry.

Create - helping prisoners become financially empowered by filling a gap in the provision of financial training, using the creative arts to explore finance in a stimulating, interactive way.

GYROS - providing multilingual money and debt advice on a 121 basis and deliver ESOL embedded group sessions improving digital competence and financial literacy.

Headliners - enabling young people to understand and use various financial skills, including personal financial management, budgeting, and understanding how saving money can aid their personal security.

Journey Enterprises - supporting people with complex learning disability to have the knowledge and skills to be able to understand their money (income), to be able to handle their money safely.

Key Unlocking Futures - delivering services in homelessness schemes like peer mentoring programme to encourage financial skills development while providing temporary housing for women and children.

Leadership Through Sport & Business - working with low-income young people who have faced disadvantage affecting their ability to secure, retain, and sustain employment.

Micro Rainbow - supporting newly granted refugees to gain or increase employability, digital and financial skills and to have better access to digital and financial infrastructure.

Paddock Community Trust - offering low-income individuals and families from deprived communities the opportunity to overcome digital poverty and gain better access to employment, training, and improved digital skills.

QED Foundation - working with ethnic minority communities to provide: ESOL, IT, digital inclusion, integration, orientation, citizenship, community cohesion, health, literacy/numeracy, and employability.

Race Equality First Limited - providing advice and advocacy through a combination of remote and face-to-face services, delivering training in basic budget and financial management, financial welfare checks and digital education.

SALTBOX - Digital Inclusion & Internet Café Project” enabling Saltbox’s Money Matters to hold in-person/virtual workshops providing in-house and community digital coaching.

Share Community Limited - supporting adults with learning disabilities and their families to increase their financial and digital skills, access new opportunities, and increase their wellbeing.

Social Action for Health - supporting people from BAME backgrounds experiencing multiple layers of social and economic disadvantage and health inequalities, made worse by the coronavirus pandemic.

Staffordshire Women's Aid - FITS for the Future programme will teach digital and financial literacy skills to women at risk of, living with or recovering from domestic and sexual violence.

Street League - helping disadvantaged young people gain confidence and qualifications for the world of work. The charity delivers a mixture of sports and employability skills training.

University of Atypical - Helping disabled Artists to work and secure income. Developing programme of digital and financial skills development closely connected to the artists professional career development.

Willowacre Trust - empowering communities digitally and financially. comprehensive digital inclusion and money advice within our communities to reduce the inequalities caused by exclusion.


How can you apply?

You can apply for a Santander Foundation Grant by completing an application form. 

The closing date for applications is 23rd September 2022

Apply now

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

August 2022

Programme opens for application

October 2022

Shortlist applications

November 2022

Formalise the proposal for potential grantees

Preview of the application form