Participatory Grant making

Making decisions collectively

The traditional model for funding is that a few people make all the decisions around where, to whom and how funding is distributed.

Often it is Board of trustees who have this control.

Participatory Grant making devolves the decision making so that decisions can be made collectively. It involves people with lived experience as well as practiced and professional experience.  This shifts the usual power dynamic between the funded and the funder, creating a stronger relationship and providing a more informed decision making due to the increased perspective in the room.

“Participatory Grant making puts people & lived experience at the heart of the process.” – Ali Spaul

But why is that important?

Participatory Grant Making – that includes the co-design of funds and collective decision making – creates collective intelligence on what needs to be funded. It highlights what the issues are in a specific area and how to make the whole funding process more accessible.

“Moving money is a complex issue! Grant making is a profession, just like Finance and HR. Participatory Grant making brings Grant makers together with Community Development practitioners – knocking down the walls and barriers community organisations regularly come up against.” – Ali Spaul 

Connecting our region

Shared learning

Two Ridings Community Foundation have spent several years learning about and facilitating Participatory grant making in York and Scarborough. We are openly sharing our experiences so that other funders can feel empowered to start their Participatory grant making journey.

Just so you know, we didn’t always get it ‘right’!

Deciding Together Fund evolution


A real sense of purpose and achievement

"I love that local people are making local decisions on how a pot of money can benefit local communities. Together we are shifting the power of how community money is distributed. I am a more enriched person being involved in Deciding Together Participatory Grant making, it gives me a real sense of purpose and achievement."

Miles is a Dad of two. He was a happily married Bank Manager for many years, but through addiction he lost everything. Now in recovery, Miles is rebuilding his life. He uses his direct lived experience to help shape change across York and helps others in recovery do the same.


The Deciding Together Fund for York

Lankelly Chase are a national funder seeking to tackle the root cause of extreme marginalisation. They devolved power to the Deciding Together cohort with no prerequisites beyond 'get the money out quickly'.

£218,000 distributed

Read more


All will be well

"In recovery there is a saying 'keep doing the next right things and all will be well'. In the past few months we all did exactly that."

After an eleven month participatory process, where people with lived experience of social injustice and flawed systems worked alongside organisations and individuals already supporting complex needs, the pot of funding was allocated.

Contact our Head of Programmes and Partnerships

Contact Harriet Johnson to talk through making our inclusive grant making

Call Harriet on 07708 634887
Email [email protected]