A financial mutual organisation has launched a new charitable foundation with the aim of giving £1m a year to good causes.
Wesleyan, a member-owned financial advice and services company for doctors, dentists, lawyers and teachers, has partnered with the Heart of England Community Foundation to create the Wesleyan Foundation, and hopes to award about 100 grants in its first year.
The newly formed foundation will ask Wesleyan’s customers and members to nominate as grant recipients voluntary organisations that are important to them, but charities, community groups and social enterprises can also apply directly to the fund.
Grant applications are open to charities and community groups that work to improve or promote health, education, innovation or social development.
In its first year, the Wesleyan Foundation will focus on projects in Birmingham, the Black Country, Warwickshire, South Yorkshire, Leeds, Bradford, Somerset, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire, Rutland, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
It will add more areas over time and applications from outside these areas will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
Small grants of up to £2,000, medium-sized awards of £2,000 to £10,000 and discretionary, large grants of more than £10,000 will be available.
Bryan Jackson, chair of Wesleyan, said the foundation hoped to "transform the lives of hundreds, if not thousands, of people".
He said: "As a mutual, our members already have a say in how we operate, and our foundation now gives them a further chance to choose how we help worthwhile causes."
The money will come from Wesleyan, and the Heart of England Community Foundation will administer the fund and distribute it.
Tina Costello, chief executive of the Heart of England Community Foundation, said she was "really excited to see our partnership with Wesleyan flourish over the coming months and years".
Three charities have already been chosen to receive medium-sized grants from the foundation: the Warwickshire Reminiscence Action Project, which works to reduce isolation for those with dementia; Pets as Therapy, which provides therapeutic visits to people in need across the UK; and Books Beyond Words, which supports people with learning and communication difficulties.