Cornerstone Fund

Please note that Stage 1 Applications to the Cornerstone Fund are now closed. We will be in touch with all applicants shortly.


We want to support collaborations and partnership approaches to bring about systems change to build stronger, more resilient communities.  We are particularly interested in proposals to test different approaches to making better use of civil society assets and resources for the benefit of communities.  We will be looking for bids that have the potential for scale/replication.

We will only consider partnership approaches led by voluntary organisations delivering civil society support, but we would like to see cross-sectoral collaborations that involve the public and private sectors.

This is a two-stage process.

Stage 1:

Outline proposals using this form setting out what is proposed, who will be involved and what costs would be involved in working up your proposal. A group of aligned funders (including Big Lottery Fund and John Lyon’s Charity) will consider the ideas put forward and identify what fits with their own priorities and interests.

Grants of up to £20,000 will then be offered to the strongest applicants to work up the proposal.  A timescale to work up the second-stage proposal will be agreed with the individual organisation concerned based on their specific needs up to a maximum of 3 months.

Collaborations/partnerships that are ‘ready to go’ can be fast-tracked to submit their second-stage proposal without the need for a development phase.  See ‘Stage 2’.

 Areas of interest include:

  • Partnership approaches that embed co-production and an asset based approach to understanding and tackling to a local or regional issue
  • Partnership approaches that put shared understanding and use of data from multiple sources at the heart of how they work and/or which make more effective use of data as an evidence base.
  • Partnership approaches that enable stronger voice and engagement in decision making by communities who are furthest from power, including the voice and engagement of those with lived experience.
  • Partnership approaches across sectors, especially those that bring together civil society, business and/or the public sector, including health to respond to a need or opportunity that will benefit communities
  • Partnership approaches that strengthen relationships between specialist and generalist civil society infrastructure support.
  • Partnership approaches that seek to make better use of civil society assets and resources, including digital resources, within regions of London, as opposed to individual borough level.
  • Partnership approaches seeking to harness the silks and experience of ‘Generous Leaders’ for the benefit of London’s communities.
  • Partnership approaches that seek to strengthen connections between regional, sub-regional and local civil society infrastructure support.
  • Partnership approaches that will help to embed local giving schemes and civil society infrastructure support at the heart of local communities.

However, this list is not exhaustive, and we welcome systems change proposals that are not included above.

To start your Stage 1 proposal, please visit our online application form here. Closing date for first stage applications Friday 1st June 2018.

Stage 2:

Submission of the fuller proposal will use the format of whichever funder has invited the application for funding for up to three years.

Successful candidates will work alongside each other; the group of aligned funders and with the Cornerstone Fund Learning Partner in order to share learning and to help build all our understanding of the challenges, opportunities and impact of these systems change initiatives.

Useful Documents

Cornerstone Fund Outcomes Framework

Cornerstone Fund application guidance notes

To make our programmes more accessible we have produced a guide to key words and phrases highlighted in red. Please click on these phrases to access the guide, or click here.