The Indigo Trust is a UK-based grant making foundation that works to create a world of active, informed citizens and responsive, accountable governments that together drive positive change in society. It is part of the Sainsbury Family Charitable Trusts (SFCT).
We provide small and high-risk grants (usually £10,000-20,000) to early-stage projects or organisations in Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa and Uganda aimed at stimulating innovative approaches to transparency, accountability and citizen empowerment work. We particularly focus our efforts on supporting projects with low operating costs or sustainable business models and which use appropriate technology that is widely adopted locally. We give a strong preference to organisations based in Sub-Saharan Africa, as opposed to simply working there. We currently have two funding streams for this work focusing on:
- Projects and organisations that leverage the power of mobile and web technologies, to foster active, informed citizens and accountable governments. See our Apply page for more information on how to apply.
- Technology innovation hubs and civic tech communities that use information communication technologies for positive social change. This page contains more information on how the fund works and allows you to see if you are eligible to participate.
In addition to our international work, we have a small portfolio of grants supporting more open and effective philanthropy in the UK. We also have a small portfolio supporting charities in London. Please note that our open philanthropy and London funding streams are by invitation only and unsolicited proposals will not be considered.
As well as providing funding, Indigo aims to showcase the potential of information technologies for social change to other donors and civil society in order to maximise their impact. Our Founder and Executive both speak at international events and publish widely. We regularly collaborate with other donors, convene social change agents and help our grantees connect to our wider network.
What we support
Our transparency and accountability funding focuses on exploring the ways in which mobile and web technologies can be integrated into wider programmes enabling citizens to access the information they need to make informed decisions and hold authorities accountable. Groups working on issues such as parliamentary monitoring, access to budget information, corporate transparency, freedom of information and democratic engagement are particularly welcome to get in touch. We also work with organisations using digital technologies to enable citizens to monitor public service delivery and campaign for improvements. Additionally, open data groups, which use data and technology to promote informed decision making for social good, are among our portfolio of grantees. You can find a complete list of grantees on our Grants Awarded page.
The Accountability Stack
Between 2003 and 2012, an estimated $60.3 billion was illicitly channelled out of Africa – money that, if used correctly, could improve the quality of services across all sectors including health, education and agriculture. With over 40% of people in sub-Saharan Africa using mobile phones and an internet penetration rate just shy of 30%, mobile and web technologies have the power to transform how people access, share and create information. In the right hands, such technologies can promote access to information, helping to increase transparency, expose corruption, enhance the capacity of activists, strengthen democracy and hold governments to account. The Accountability Stack helps achieve this by bringing together the tools, data and information that activists and change makers need to stimulate positive social change. You can learn more about this here.
Indigo’s charity number is 1075920 and the annual report is available by clicking this link. You can also find copies of the charitable trust deed and registered charity index report by clicking the links. It should be noted that Indigo has no segregated investments in oil and gas and exposure to these areas in co-mingled funds will never exceed 5% of the Trust’s total investments, although we aim for less than 1% exposure. We will continue to assess opportunities to further divest from fossil fuels and invest in climate solutions.