This year's funding priorities
This year the Dream Fund is looking for projects that seek to implement systemic change in order to address an important social or environmental problem.
Systems change involves looking at problems in a macro context and understanding the entire ecosystem of that problem, in order to develop long-term solutions.
Systems change thinking comprises mapping out all the relevant stakeholders, the institutions and the economic, social, cultural, political factors that underlie these large structural problems in order to give a full understanding of why the problem persists in order to create a solution.
To develop a systems change project, you need to address an issue from the bottom-up (such as change at the community level) as well as from the top-down (such as influencing the decisions and behaviour of key stakeholders and institutions).
For each of the funding priorities we are looking for projects that can clearly address the root causes of the environmental or social problems they are looking to solve, which are often intractable and embedded.
Once you have identified the big systems-level problem that you are going to tackle, your Dream Fund project then involves working with others to design a solution.
Systems change has been chosen as an overarching theme as it is one of the best ways of achieving high levels of impact but also because two of the biggest levers of implementing systems change, innovation and collaboration, are central to the Dream Fund.
The systems change approach is consistent with previous Dream Funds and is more of a change of emphasis than some kind of radical departure from what has been done before. Nearly all recent successful Dream Fund projects have been attempting to challenge an embedded social or environmental problem in some way and work from the bottom-up as well as from the top down.
We also accept that implementing this sort of major change doesn’t happen overnight, that’s why we have increased the amount of funding available to a winning project to £1.5 million and the timescale from 24 months to up to 36 months.
1. Environment and conservation
We are looking for collaborative and innovative projects that develop long term solutions to systemic environmental problems. Areas of interest include projects that challenge environmental degradation, in particular focusing on biodiversity and species preservation.
2. Social inequality
This theme is looking for projects that take systemic approaches to addressing the root causes of social inequality. Successful projects will be able to demonstrate how they will promote the social inclusion of groups that are disadvantaged or excluded from society. Potential areas of interest include early childhood development and educational attainment.
3. Pandemic recovery
We are open to applications that will support society to recover from the effects of the pandemic. Potential areas of interest include loneliness and social isolation, health and wellbeing, domestic violence and support for neglected groups who have suffered disproportionately during the pandemic.
However, please note that we still accept applications for innovative, ground-breaking projects that fall outside our main funding priorities as long as the projects meet the general Dream Fund criteria.
Contact the helpdesk on firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss any potential idea.