Developing A Regenerative Futures Fund #11: Building On The Work Of (Many) Others

Leah Black
9 min readDec 15, 2023

In the continued spirit of open working I thought I’d simply copy this here from a word document annex of the comprehensive (66-page!) Regenerative Futures Fund operational plan.

This is a collection of people and orgs I’ve spoken to, people I’ve heard speak at events, or I’ve read, heard about or people have shared with me. There are probably a few more lurking in my inbox that I need to add in. Hopefully this is useful and also something we can build on. There will be loads more that’s been missed and apologies to anyone if descriptions are incorrect (message me and I will edit).

To kick off here is a lovely creative image from Creative Civic Change, a project I learned about when Tiki Muir from Whale Arts introduced me to Grace Bremner from Creative Civic Change — it was one of the first meetings I had when I started this project in August 2022 and I remember feeling so excited about the possibilities of long-term funding for communities talking to Grace:

Beautiful image of a community project funded by Creative Civic Change

Learning From Other Funders (funding long-term and/or place-based)

  • Corra Foundation’s People in Place Programme comprising Getting Alongside Communities and Participatory Scotland
  • Inspiring Scotland — developed £35m 10-year pooled fund for youth development projects called 14–19 Fund, and the Link-up programme working in a range of communities across Scotland
  • The Fore, about their stages and processes, and focus on innovation within small charitable organisations, learning about simple application processes and levelling the playing field for applicants.
  • Creative Civic Change (CCC) which was led by Grace Bremner, within the team at Local Trust — learning about CCC long-term creative community-led work.
  • Big Local — £1million to 150 communities across England funded by National Lottery Community Fund
  • Life Changes Trust — 10-year fund with themes of care experienced young people, people with dementia and their carers — ended in 2023
  • Resilient Scotland — 10-year social investment (part loan part grant) fund for specific areas in Scotland (ended 2023 and merged with Foundation Scotland)
  • National Lottery Community Fund — Growing Great Ideas programme — 10-year funding programme scaling community-led systems change across the UK.
  • Foundation Scotland & their approach moving to upstream working and funding, working with Wellbeing Economy Alliance Scotland on the report and approach — Raising Our Gaze. Related to this work their new fund Tackling Inequalities flexibly funding a cohort of organisations to work in preventative upstream ways, sharing learning, supported on a learning journey by Wellbeing Economy Alliance Scotland.
  • West Coast Capital / Hunter Foundation — place-based funding in East Ayrshire and Clackmannashire.
  • Joseph Rowntree Foundation — Emerging Futures Programme, talking about their approach to collective imagination and supporting futures led by communities and their place-based work in York.
  • Highlands and Islands Environment Foundation (HIEF) — funding local nature regeneration projects to protect & restore the natural beauty & rich biodiversity of the Scottish highlands & islands
  • Moray TSI and National Lottery Community Fund — Participatory Grantmaking (PGM) in Moray
  • London Funders and Propel — systemic, bold, long-term pooled fund for London
  • Thirty Percy — place-based funding in Gloucestershire and their ‘spiral investing’ spend down models.
  • City Bridge — Anchor Programme — long-term (7–10 years) funding programme for infrastructure organisations in London.
  • Scottish Marine Environmental Enhancement Fund (SMEEF) — a new financial tool designed to enable contributions to grant pots which are then strategically distributed to marine projects across Scotland.
  • Civic Power Fund — a new fund for grassroots community organising.
  • Impact on Urban Health, London — funding for long-term and systemic place-based health solutions
  • Lankelly Chase — place-based systems change and spend-down
  • Footwork — fund supporting local social innovators as the people with home-grown solutions to local problems, giving them a sense of agency and urgency to turn them into action.
  • People’s Postcode Lottery — with a focus on unrestricted long-term funding
  • Black Food Fund — The Black Food Fund Committee is a brand new group of local people from Lambeth & Southwark. Giving grants to help build a healthier and fairer food future for families.
  • Kindred — Liverpool — Kindred brings people in our community together to make positive change. We invest in socially-trading organisations (STOs) to create a kinder, fairer economy in Liverpool City Region, through money, support and collaboration.
  • Community Wealth Fund — a successful campaign that called for government to allocate money from the expanded dormant assets scheme to create a community wealth fund. The money would be spent by residents, on projects that they identified as vital for improving their areas.
  • Edge Fund — Edge Fund is a grantmaking body with a difference: we support efforts to achieve social, economic and environmental justice, and to end imbalances of wealth and power.

Funders in Edinburgh that are part of the local eco-system

  • Edinburgh Lothian Trust Fund — small crisis grants to individuals via local referral partners
  • The Turn2us Edinburgh Trust — small grants to individuals via local referral partners, moving to a new model of longer term grants to individuals trying to take a preventative approach
  • One City Trust — with a permanent endowment from City of Edinburgh Council, distributes grants that support rapid action and alleviating poverty in Edinburgh
  • Capital City Partnership — funder and anchor delivery body for Edinburgh’s employability strategy
  • EIJB Innovation Programme — funding new models of service delivery to reduce pressures in the Health and Social Care System for adult services, taking a test and learn from new approaches and to promote collaboration across the third sector
  • Communities Mental Health Funding Programme (EVOC) — community commissioning approach to distribute funding in the third year of the Communities Mental Health & Wellbeing Fund

Learning From Others Place-Based (UK)

  • What Matters 2 You — What Matters to You (WM2U) is a community-based systems change initiative working alongside families, practitioners, and senior leaders in two communities in Dundee and East Ayrshire. It aims to provide early support so that children and young people can flourish within their own communities.
  • Participatory City — the world’s first large-scale practical participation project, in Barking & Dagenham (London), the second in Canada and developing plans for Participatory Scotland with Corra Foundation
  • Local Motion — a funder collaborative supporting grassroots community programmes in communities building a social, economic and environmental justice movement, across England.
  • Community Renewal, Edinburgh — Lifting Families Out Of Poverty
  • Portland Inn Project — learning about their beautiful and creative collaborative 100-Year plan for their community in Stoke on Trent
  • POP — Plymouth — funding and community development, and place-based change
  • Dudley Creates — working with local people on a 100-year cultural strategy
  • NESSie — collaborative in North Edinburgh to move people out of poverty in sustainable ways
  • Create Community Wealth — arts project to lift people out of poverty through creative programmes and enterprise
  • The Stove — Embers Report — igniting creative and culturally-led regeneration by exploring the work and experience in Dumfries & Galloway and helping to define a joined-up vision for work in Creative Placemaking for the South of Scotland.
  • Opus — working to contribute upstream solutions to complex system problems in Sheffield
  • Civic Square — demonstrating neighbourhood-scale civic infrastructure for social, ecological, economic, and climate transition.
  • MAIA — a Black-led organisation exploring the connections between imagination and liberation.

Edinburgh Strategies and Reports

Networks & Movements

  • Environmental Funders Network
  • ACF — Funders Commitment to Climate Change
  • Ten Years’ Time — We help ambitious donors and foundations to repair harm and rebalance power by resourcing racial and economic justice with care and confidence.
  • CAPE — local coalition to end poverty
  • IVAR — Open and Trusting Grantmaking — We worked with charities and funders to design eight commitments to managing grants and relationships in a way that reflects funders’ confidence in and respect for the organisations they fund
  • Funders Collaborative Hub — Collaboration site for funders that includes everything from informal information-sharing to joint funding programmes.
  • Justice Funders: Powering Philanthropic Transformation — Justice Funders is a partner and guide for philanthropy in reimagining practices that advance a thriving and just world.
  • Fund The People — a (USA) national initiative to maximize investment in America’s nonprofit workforce. Our goal is to bring about widespread adoption of talent-investing by influential funders and nonprofits.
  • Edinburgh Partnership — The Edinburgh Partnership is the community planning partnership for the city. It brings together public agencies, third and private sectors with local communities to improve the city, its services and the lives of people who live and work here.
  • Resource Generation — Resource Generation is a multiracial membership community of young people (18–35) with wealth and/or class privilege committed to the equitable distribution of wealth, land, and power.
  • Resource Justice — Resource Justice is a community of progressive people in the UK with wealth or class privilege committed to the equitable distribution of wealth, land and power.
  • Arising Quo — taking its first steps towards exploring what transformative wealth redistribution looks like, over an initial period of 12 months.

Systemic, Economic Models & Futures

Learning, Data & Governance

Crossing Systems: Racism, Poverty and the Environmental Emergency

Learning from Overseas

  • Tamarack Institute — Tamarack aims to contribute to an accelerated and dramatic shift to citizen-driven, place-based approaches to addressing complex challenges and improve community well being at scale. We want communities to be recognized as the integral drivers of change and critical in building strong and inclusive societies.
  • Indigenous People’s Resilience Fund (Canada) — a fund that is built upon the resiliency of and guided by Indigenous Peoples to support communities through the current public health crisis, responding to “The Philanthropic Community’s Declaration of Action” to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
  • Kataly Foundation (USA) — moves resources to support the economic, political, and cultural power of Black and Indigenous communities, and all communities of color. By transforming our relationship to capital, the planet, and each other, we will redistribute and redefine wealth in a way that leads to transformation, abundance, and regeneration.
  • New York Philanthropy (USA) — champions effective grant making by building a vibrant philanthropic ecosystem that strives to advance meaningful social change.
  • Wellbeing Protocol (New Zealand) — deploying the first stage of our infrastructure, a participatory grantmaking tool, that allows a community to effectively allocate external grant funding.

Lankelly Chase — Historical Review of Place-based Approaches

Full report here


  • Place based approaches take time — to understand an area and build relationships — and this needs to be reflected in both practical plans for implementation and expectations about progress.
  • A year zero — or more — for development and design — will be necessary so that communities and local agencies can be fully onboard.
  • A phased process — with regular review — is necessary to reach all parts of the community.
  • Long-term aims and commitment — by which they mean 7–10 years as a minimum.
  • The challenges of demonstrating impact are well documented — much can be learnt but it will always be a leap of faith, to some degree.

So much to build on! What’s missing?



Leah Black

Lead, Regenerative Futures Fund Edinburgh; Chief Executive, Whale Arts; Warden, Incorporation of Goldsmiths; MBA student, Edinburgh Business School.