Guiding Principle

The current focus of the Foundation is to invest in disadvantaged communities that support the John Lewis business throughout the world to acquire the relevant skills required for meaningful employment. The Foundation welcomes applications for projects with these objectives both in the UK and overseas.

General Information


The John Lewis Foundation only offers support for programmes and projects that occur within, and benefit communities that support, the John Lewis + Partners business.


In the UK, the Foundation only gives grants to groups and organisations that are registered with the appropriate Charity Commission or where the grant is for an exclusively charitable purpose. Organisations that are 'exempt' or 'excepted', such as schools, qualify under these criteria. For more help on defining your organisation, visit

Single Use Carrier Bag Levy

In line with the compulsory carrier bag charges introduced by the governments of England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland, John Lewis + Partners charges customers for the use of carrier bags. All proceeds from single use carrier bags are donated to the John Lewis Foundation and distributed to charitable works in England and Scotland.  The carrier bag charge implemented in Wales is allocated to Keep Wales Tidy, and in Northern Ireland is payable direct to the Department of the Environment.

Grant Making Policy

Grant Making Criteria

Although the Foundation is able to support any objective classified as 'charitable' in law, the Trustees are exercising their prerogative to prioritise projects that support the disadvantaged to acquire relevant skills for meaningful employment.

In order to meet the funding criteria and be within the current discretionary priority group, you’ll need to be able to answer ‘yes’ to all these questions:

● Is my organisation a registered Charity or a Community Interest Company, or can I demonstrate that my project is a charitable activity?

● Does the project fall within the list of Charitable Purposes as detailed in the Charities Act 2011?

● Will my project focus on an area of need within a community that supports the John Lewis + Partners business, and is it designed to benefit a large group of people?

● Does my project focus on offering practical training and skills to improve employability and demonstrably support beneficiaries into meaningful, sustainable work, and improve social inclusion within the target group?

In order to meet the funding criteria and be within the current discretionary priority group, you’ll need to be able to answer ‘no’ to all these questions:

● Is my organisation a pressure group or campaigning organisation?

● Does my project aim to promote religion or politics of any kind, and does it exclude any part of society?

● Is my objective to purchase or renovate a building or any other capital item; fund transport and consumables, recreation, holiday or respite care; courses (including sports courses and tournaments) or conferences; provide advice and awareness; to develop an app or computer programme, educational or marketing or promotional materials; or for sponsorship for an individual or group? 

● Am I seeking ‘top-up’ funding for a large project, ‘shortfall’ funding, or funding for on-going activities or core costs (which category includes salaried posts, overheads and management fees)?

Please see the downloadable Applicant Guidance Pack below for full details of exclusions.

As applications take time and resource to prepare, we recommend that unless you're fully eligible you seek funding from a source that provides for your area of interest. If you have any further questions on eligibility, please contact us on:

Application Guidelines

How to apply

Applications must be made in writing, in English, on the Application Form.  All Application Forms must be accompanied by the required supporting documents; applications can't be considered until all relevant documents are submitted.  Details of required documents are on the Application Form.  Complete applications should be sent to:

Who can apply

Charitable organisations planning an appropriate project both in the UK and overseas.  The Trustees will consider projects of varying amounts and durations, although projects are not normally supported for longer than three years. The Foundation will sometimes consider a longer period or a repeat grant, for example to help a new organisation develop.

When to apply

There are no deadlines for applications.  The Trustees of the John Lewis Foundation meet quarterly to review and approve applications but you don't need to time your application to coincide with these meetings.

What happens after we've received your application?

We aim to acknowledge every grant application within a month of receipt. If your proposal doesn't meet the Foundation's funding criteria we'll write and tell you. All eligible applications will be assessed and we may contact you for more details about your project.

How long will it take to get a decision?

The Trustees will review your application at the first available meeting. We will keep you updated on the status of your application within two weeks of the meeting at which is was considered.

Can I apply again?

If the Foundation is unable to support your application due to lack of funds, you can apply again at any time. If you've had an application refused because it doesn't fit the Foundation's criteria, please don't re-submit unless the project has changed to meet the criteria. If you've had an application refused for one project, you can apply for funding for another project at any time. If your project has received funding in the past, you can apply for further funds after 12 months have elapsed from the start of your previous funding but your proposal may not be considered a priority if the Trustees have received other appropriate proposals for different initiatives. You can apply to the Foundation to extend a current grant by making the request in writing at least six months before the funding is due to end.

Progress Reports

If your application for funding is successful, you'll be asked to complete a  progress report for each year of the grant to up-date the Trustees on the development of the project. For multi-year projects, you'll be asked for six-monthly updates.  Details of the reporting schedule will be made clear when the  grant is made.

Terms and Conditions

Grants from the John Lewis Foundation are made on the understanding that beneficiary organisations have agreed to the following general terms and conditions:

a. Grant recipients must provide copies of their bank details eg a photocopy of a recent bank statement or a letter from their bank

b. Grant beneficiaries must acknowledge receipt of the grant payment, preferably by letter on headed paper, or if necessary by email, confirming that the funds donated will be spent on the project agreed by the John Lewis Foundation

c. No changes to the funded project will be made without the agreement of the John Lewis Foundation Board of Trustees

d. The grant beneficiary will send a progress report and a copy of their annual report and accounts (if available) at the end of each year of the grant

e. Where possible, the grant should be acknowledged in any materials that the beneficiary organisation produces in relation to the Foundation funded project

f. The John Lewis Foundation may include the name of the grant beneficiary in its publicity materials

g. Where appropriate, the Trustees may wish to visit Foundation funded projects

h. The John Lewis Foundation reserves the right to withhold a grant or require repayment if we find that any false information is supplied to the Trustees, albeit deliberately or in error

i. The John Lewis Foundation reserves the right to withhold a grant or require repayment if the beneficiary organisation becomes insolvent or goes into receivership, administration or liquidation and the grant has not already been spent on its intended purpose

j. The John Lewis Foundation reserves the right to share the information it receives in relation to grant requests with other relevant parties to verify the application

k. Sometimes additional conditions will need to be included to account for specific aspects of a particular grant


Please use the comprehensive Guidance Pack to help you complete your application.

All enquiries regarding grants and all completed applications should be sent to: