The Carnegie Commission for Rural Community Development has teamed up with the lottery-funded Countryside Communities scheme to make £6.2m available to boost rural communities.
The money will be distributed through the commission, which was set up by the Carnegie UK Trust last month to make it more effective in giving to rural communities.
The partnership was formed after the Community Fund, which operates the Countryside Communities scheme, decided it also wanted to increase the sustainability of its rural communities funding, but was keen to avoid duplication.
It will act as a test bed for the future of rural sustainable development, which could shape and inform the annual £100m-plus that the Big Lottery Fund is likely to spend on rural areas.
Final decisions on what will be funded will be made after a conference in September to enable funders to learn from existing knowledge, and identify gaps in funding and the priorities that the partnership should focus on.
The Carnegie Trust has put up £4m of new money, with £2.2m already earmarked from Countryside Communities. Applications are likely to open in November.