With a business focused on retail banking and SMEs, our community investment is focused on local organisations, reflecting our local footprint.
We provide charitable grants through the Santander Foundation, support students via Santander Universities and under Santander Breakthrough facilitate SMEs to grow. In 2011 we contributed over £14m to good causes in the UK supporting education, employment and enterprise.
An outline of our main community investment programmes is detailed below, and further information is available in our CSR Report.
The Santander Foundation was set up in 1990 and to date we have donated over £40 million to charities throughout the UK. Central Grants of up to £10,000 are provided to organisations with charitable status that benefit disadvantaged people within two categories: education & training and financial capability. Our other grants scheme, Community Plus, provides up to £5,000 to charities that help local disadvantaged people and these can be nominated by staff, customers or even the charities themselves. For further information on the Santander Foundation please visit www.santanderfoundation.org.uk - full details are here about what grants are available and how to submit an application/make a nomination.
In 1997 Santander Universities was launched with the aim of contributing to the development and prosperity of society by providing support to the higher education sector. Since its creation, over £500 million has been donated globally via scholarships, travel grants, support for special projects, academic and non-academic awards.
The programme was launched in the UK in 2007 and in just four years 66 universities have become partners of Santander Universities. Today, over 1,020 universities around the world are part of the Santander Universities network and the group continues to increase its long-term commitment to higher education.
In 2011 Santander launched the Breakthrough programme aimed at helping fast-growing small and medium-sized enterprises, to boost economic recovery and the creation of local employment.
Breakthrough offers mezzanine-type debt finance to high growth SMEs in the UK with a turnover of between £0.5m and £10m through a £200m Growth Capital Fund. In addition to finance, Santander provides fast-growth companies with the resources and knowledge they need to achieve the next level of growth through live events, masterclasses, overseas trade missions and internships.
In addition to supporting mainstream SMEs, Santander has created the Social Enterprise Development Awards to provide finance and support to growing social businesses. In 2012 a prize fund of £2.3m will be distributed to over 70 social enterprises around the UK to help them increase their social impact.
Employees at Santander raise significant amounts of money every year for charities across the UK, and last year over £1.8 million was donated through their efforts and matched by Santander. To support and encourage them we run a Charity of the Year scheme and this year we aim to raise over £800,000 for CLIC Sargent. Santander also participates in the Payroll Giving scheme to enable employees to make a monthly donation to charity directly from their salary.
Santander also supports staff volunteering through a matched time scheme where we give up to 35 hours a year of paid work time to enable employees to help their favourite causes. Through our Community Days scheme, staff are encouraged to take a day out from the office to volunteer with a local cause. In Every year over 1,500 employees support around 150 projects across the country, working on conservation & regeneration projects and educational schemes with schools.
We have a long-term partnership with British Heart Foundation, supporting the charity's cycling events programme to encourage people to improve their health and raise funds for vital research into heart disease.