In addition to our commitment to supporting education, care for older people and social enterprise, SMV has a tradition of supporting a variety of local causes benefiting greater Bristol, its people and institutions. The Society also manages numerous trusts and funds on behalf of other charitable organisations.

Our members contribute to the Society of Merchant Venturers Charity, which is administered by a dedicated Charity Sub-Committee. The members of this Committee meet four times a year, typically in January, April, July and October, to consider applications for funding. Grants awarded are usually between £500 and £5,000.

The primary areas supported are social needs; youth; education; environment; social enterprise; health care; culture and the arts; and projects that will benefit greater Bristol and its economic development.

For full details of the grant application process, including the application criteria, please click here. To download an application form, please click here.

The next application deadline is:
– 5pm Tuesday 8 March 2022 for consideration at the April 2022 meeting

Click here to find out which organisations we have most recently supported with charitable grants.

Click here to view our Annual Report and Financial Statements for the year ended 31 December 2020.

The Society of Merchant Venturers provides administrative support to the Edmonds and Coles Scholarships Charity. This is an education charity which provides grants and scholarships to young people. Its origins can be traced to a trust set up in 1623 by Anthony Edmonds, a Bristol Merchant and land owner.

The Edmonds and Coles Scholarships Charity makes financial awards, usually between £100 and £1,000 for any educational purpose approved by the charity’s governors. Awards may include small grants for the purchase of books or equipment needed for a course of education or training, or help with travel costs.

For further information, click here. To download an application form, please click here.

In 1708 Edward Colston appointed the Society of Merchant Venturers to manage the Colston’s Hospital Foundation and since then, the Society has managed a number of other trusts. By far the largest is the St Monica Trust endowment fund, currently valued at over £250 million.

Since the end of World War II part of the St Monica Trust endowment funds have been held in agricultural estates and commercial properties, which have proved to be a shrewd investment. The estates, which total about 21,000 acres, are managed by SMV’s Estates and Property Sub-Committee advised by the Land Steward as well as the commercial properties with advice from the Managing Agent.

By agreement with the Charity Commissioners, the funds of charities too small to be invested separately are held in the Society of Merchant Venturers’ Charity Investment Pool. The funds are managed by finance and investment sub-committees, which take professional advice as appropriate. For a list of managed trusts, please click here.