Update on new strategy and information for potential applicants

From 2020, the Foundation has been making grants under a new ‘Core 30’ strategy. Some of the details of this strategy are laid out below. Sadly, the smaller number of long-term partnerships means that we are not seeking new applications for funding in 2021. If your organisation is a geographic and sectoral fit for the Foundation, we would be happy to receive a brief synopsis (maximum 2 pages) of your work which we will add to our ‘horizon pipeline’ and evaluate as and when we have the capacity to do so. We will contact interesting looking organisations during 2021. Please note that we cannot provide guidance or feedback on any materials you share as we deliberately maintain a small team to ensure more of our funds can be distributed as grants.

The Peter Cundill Foundation was established in Bermuda on 11 January 2012, following the death of its founder, Peter Cundill.

During his remarkable life, Peter had many interests and was both an academic and an athlete. He was also passionate about supporting the young and often helped those with aspirations to better themselves and fulfill their potential in the fields of education and sport.

Since 2020, the Foundation’s giving strategy has centred on a ‘Core 30’ Portfolio.

Funding partnerships will eventually consist of 3-year, unrestricted grants that extend by a year, every year, subject to partners making sufficient progress against their own organisational milestones. Our aim is to ensure our partners have the long-term, flexible finance they need to achieve great things. Unrestricted funding requires a good deal of trust but we believe that if a philanthropy doesn’t trust a charity, it shouldn’t trust a project run by that charity either. In short, donors should either give unrestricted grants or recognise that they are commissioning a contract and not making a grant.

The Core 30 partner charities will be chosen from the 55+ existing partners who we were supporting in 2019, and will include a limited number of exceptional new partners.

The portfolio will focus on great charities working to improve the lives of children in a variety of ways. In Low and Middle Income Countries, we will mainly partner organisations that are efficiently increasing learning adjusted years of schooling (LAYS) through wider access to and/or quality of basic education. In Canada, Bermuda and the UK we will support partners that are improving the lives of children more broadly. We seek highly leveraged approaches that either fill underserved niches or improve the efficiency of existing children’s services.

From 2020, we will expand our strategic review to consider extending our impact through non-grant finance (debt/equity/returnable grants and impact bonds) and ‘beyond grant support’ for our Core 30 Portfolio.

The Foundation is keen to advocate for more philanthropies to make unrestricted grants. You can read about our thinking on why unrestricted funding works so much better here.


Peter Cundill
Peter Cundill
The Peter Cundill Foundation, Improving the Lives of Children