How To Apply
Visitors including a man pushing a woman in a wheelchair across a wooden bridge at Birkenhead Park


The Catalyst grants initiatives form part of a broader partnership initiative between HLF, DCMS and Arts Council England (ACE). It aims to encourage more private giving to culture and heritage, and to build the capacity and skills of cultural and heritage organisations to fundraise from private donors, corporate sources, trusts and foundations.

Through the Heritage Lottery Fund, organisations could apply to one of three different grants initiatives under Catalyst.

These programmes are now closed for applications.

Catalyst: Small grants 

Grants of £3,000 to £10,000

This programme awarded £1.14million to heritage organisations to support a range of activities that will build fundraising capacity and improve access to new sources of private funding, such as individual or corporate donors, trusts and foundations.

View the Catalyst: Small grants page.

Catalyst heritage: building fundraising capacity 

Umbrella grants of £100,000 to £500,000

This is a £3million grants initiative for umbrella bodies providing support services for heritage organisations. Projects will deliver a range of capacity building services, learning and networking opportunities to enable heritage organisations to increase the funding they receive from private sources, such as individual and corporate donors, trusts and foundations.

Catalyst heritage: Building fundraising capacity - umbrella grants: This programme closed for applications on 29 March 2013.

Catalyst: Endowments 

This offers eligible heritage organisations in the UK the opportunity to match-fund the creation, or further development, of an endowment fund with the aim of providing a long-term income.

Catalyst: Endowments: This programme closed to applications on 31 December 2012.


During September and October 2012, HLF conducted further consultation on the capacity building needs of heritage organisations when accessing new sources of funding, including private donors, trusts and foundations and corporate supporters. 307 organisations participated in a survey, and 39 organisations participated in one of three focus groups, held in Manchester, London and Cardiff. Findings from this research have helped to shape the Catalyst grants initiatives, and may be helpful to applicants when thinking about their projects.

Access the full report on this research.


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Application materials

    Essential reading