Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust - Power and Accountability Programme

Aims/priorities: The Fund aims to support people to create a world in which power is more equally shared, and in which powerful institutions are responsive and accountable to wider society and aligned with the long-term public interest. 

Funding is available for work in the following areas:

Strengthening corporate accountability - the Trust is interested in funding work which:

  • Develops and promotes mechanisms which increase the accountability and responsiveness of companies to shareholders, stakeholders, regulators and the long-term public interest, for example through improvements to corporate governance, corporate structures (including alternative corporate forms), company reporting or regulation.
  • Develops and promotes mechanisms whereby those who suffer severely as a result of company actions, particularly marginalised groups, can gain access to justice.
  • Promotes the application of the same standards of accountability to large digital companies as other commercial organisations, for example with respect to taxation, consumer protection, treatment of minorities and the protection of rights.
  • Encourages a constructive dialogue across private, public and civil society sectors to define and develop values and norms of corporate accountability and transparency in relation to new digital technologies.

Strengthening democratic accountability - the Trust is interested in funding work which:

  • Develops and promotes mechanisms which ensure an accountable, transparent and proportionate relationship between the private sector and government.
  • Develops and promotes mechanisms which enable civil society and the general public, including marginalised groups, to engage appropriately and effectively with government policy making.
  • Encourages government, parliament and other statutory agencies to be more representative of the wider public they serve.
  • Supports the modernisation of the democratic infrastructure to increase its accessibility, relevance and resilience in a digital age.
  • Promotes greater transparency by digital intermediaries in relation to their impact on democracy and elections.

Encouraging responsible media - the Trust is interested in funding work which:

  • Encourages accurate and responsible media, with appropriate safeguards.
  • Helps to develop a relevant and proportionate response to the risks of misinformation and disinformation in commercial media.
  • Explores and promotes ways for all forms of media to play a constructive role in holding government, companies and other powerful actors to account.
  • Helps to develop and strengthen infrastructure to support new forms of community journalism for the public benefit.

Responding to the dual harms of COVID-19 and systemic racism - At this time of crisis, JRCT is keen to support work that responds to the dual harms of the COVID-19 pandemic and systemic racism. Specifically, JRCT wish to encourage work that scrutinises the responses and policies of powerful institutions and actors, and which envisions and builds support for transformative social change based on justice, peace and sustainability, including work which:

  • Scrutinises and holds the government and/or corporations to account for systemic inequalities, injustices or abuses of power arising from their responses to COVID-19, including in relation to corporate bailouts, public procurement or worker support schemes.
  • Examines how the media (including social media) landscape has been affected by COVID-19 and its effectiveness in holding government and key actors to account during the pandemic.
  • Envisages how corporations could transform their purpose and practices to better address stakeholder concerns, sustainability imperatives and the long term public interest as part of recovery from the pandemic and seeks changes to support this.
  • Identifies ways in which to build upon the widespread community activism arising during the pandemic to reinvigorate the democratic governance and institutions.

Who can apply? Grants are made to a range of organisations and to individuals. It is not necessary to be a registered charity to apply to the Trust, however, the Trust can only support work which is legally charitable as defined in UK law.

Grant amount: No minimum or maximum amount of grant is specified.

Application process: After reading the guidelines, applicants are advised to contact the Trust office by email or telephone to discuss their application. This should be done well before the deadline for applications. The Trust only accepts applications online via its grants management system available on the Trust's website.

Deadline: 5pm on 29 November 2021.

Contact information: Tel 01904 627810 or Email

Website address:

Not specified
Charitable Company
Partnerships and Consortiums
Registered Charity
Social Enterprise
Funding Theme: 
Unpublish Date: 
Monday, 29 November, 2021