Guiding Principle

The Foundation welcomes applications for projects that seek to benefit communities both within the UK and overseas where John Lewis operates. The current focus of the Foundation is to invest in disadvantaged communities to acquire the relevant skills required for meaningful employment. Projects of this nature are particularly invited.


National Restrictions

The John Lewis Foundation currently prioritises applications for programmes and projects that occur within and benefit disadvantaged communities that support the John Lewis Business.

Organisation Restrictions

In the UK, the Foundation only gives grants to groups and organisations that are registered with the Charity Commission or where the grant is for an exclusively charitable purpose. Organisations that have “exempt” or “excepted” status such as educational establishments 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 in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, John Lewis charge their customers for the use of carrier bags. All single use carrier bag proceeds are donated to the John Lewis Foundation. The Trustees of the John Lewis Foundation allocate the funding to a sub-committee in support of charities and good causes operating 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

The aim of the grant-making criteria is to provide clear information from the trustees to Partners, suppliers, individuals, charities and groups who want to apply for grants from the Foundation.

Projects seeking funding should fall into one of the following categories;

a. Education/training;

b. Enabling employment;

c. Health care/medical facilities;

d. Family guidance and support;

e. Personal rehabilitation and counselling;

f. Affordable accommodation;

g. Community/recreation amenities;

h. Deprivation; and

i. Environment/biodiversity.


For the avoidance of doubt, the Trustee board has decided that it will not support projects that:

a. have no direct benefit to communities that support the John Lewis business.

b. that promote religion or political groups or activities that exclude any part of society.

c. Courses, conferences, festivals, expeditions, overseas travel, fundraising events, receptions, lectures, respite breaks or holidays.

d. that would be more appropriately supported by one of the charities of the John Lewis Partnership; the John Lewis General Community Fund, Golden Jubilee Trust or John Spedan Lewis Foundation.


In addition, organisations which are considered ineligible for funding include pressure or campaign groups; endowment funds and personal or company sponsorship.

From time to time the trustees may, in their discretion, agree a strategic aim and focus for the Foundation in relation to its grant-making. This aim will seek to create a sustainable strategy focussed on meaningful impact and may impact upon the decision of the trustees in the projects they choose to support.

Application Guidelines

How to apply?

Applications will only be considered if they are made in writing in English using the designated application form.

Who should apply?

Projects can be identified and presented to the Foundation from the following groups or individuals:

a. John Lewis Partners (employees)

b. Supplier management committee

c. Worker management committees

d. Independent charities and community groups

How much can I apply for?

The Trustees will consider projects of varying amounts and durations, although projects are not normally supported for longer than three years. We 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 and you can apply for a grant at any time. The Trustees of the John Lewis Foundation meet quarterly to review and approve applications but you do not need to time your application to coincide with these meetings.

What happens after we have received your application?

We aim to acknowledge every grant application within one month. If your proposal does not meet the Foundation's funding criteria we will tell you in the acknowledgement letter. All eligible applications will be assessed and we may contact you to ask for more details about your project.

How long will it take to get a decision?

The Trustees will review the application at the first available meeting. We will confirm the progress of your application once it has been submitted to us.  

Can I applying again?

If the Foundation is unable to support your application due to lack of funds, you can apply again at any time. If you have had an application refused because it does not fit the Foundation's criteria, please do not re-submit this unless the project has changed and now meets the criteria. If you have 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 may apply for further funds but your proposal may not be considered a priority if the Trustees have received other appropriate proposals for new initiatives. You may apply to the Foundation to extend a current grant by contacting us at least six months before the funding ends.


Progress Reports

If your application for funding is successful, the grant beneficiary will be asked to complete a simple progress report for each year of the grant to up-date the Trustees on the development of their project. We will send a template for the report when the offer of a 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


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