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There is a long tradition of awarding government grants to non-profit youth organisations in Sweden. In 1954, the Swedish Parliament decided on a policy of general grants to youth organisations. At that time, a grant was based on the number of members between 12 and 25 years of age.
About 40 years later, in 1997, the number of youth organisations eligible for government grants was 62, and the total number of members was 592 000 persons between 7 and 25 years of age (National Board for Youth Affairs, 1998).
In 2018, 112 youth organisations, with totally 675 000 members between 6 and 25 years of age received a government grant, according to MUCFs Annual report 2018.
Main principles and goals
According to the Ordinance on State Grants for Child and Youth Organisations, the purpose of the grant is to support children’s and young people’s independent organisation and influence in the society.
The ordinance defines the formal requirements and conditions that organisations must meet. A grant may be submitted only to youth organisations that are non-profit with voluntary membership, independent and democratic, in their operations respect the ideals of democracy, including equality and non-discrimination, and have been operating in Sweden for at least two years.
Of the year 2021 central government budget for the youth policy area, about 28 million euros (280 million Swedish kronor) were deposited as a state grant to youth organisations, according to the Swedish Agency for youth and Civil Society's 2021 appropriation directive. Organisational grants may be provided to non-profit child and youth organisations that have at least 1 000 members between 6 and 25 years of age, and that have member associations in at least five country counties.
Organisation grants may also be provided to:
- non-profit child and youth organisations representing national minorities in Sweden that have at least 200 members between 6 and 25 years of age and conduct community-based activities, with an adequate geographical distribution of member associations based on the organisations members
- non-profit child and youth organisations representing disabled young people that have at least have 200 members between 6 and 25 years of age, and that have member associations in at least three country counties (län).
The grant may be used to cover costs for both ordinary activities and for other items. Among costs for ordinary activities, the following may be included:
- grants to local member organisations
- costs for membership activities and board meetings
- cost for administration, rents and inventory
- cost for salaries and fees.
Costs for items other than ordinary activities may be costs for specific projects, for instance outreach activities.
Project grants to youth organisations, local level
Of the total sum of 280 million Swedish kronor deposited for grants to youth organisations in 2021, the Government earmarked 18.4 million Swedish kronor (1.8 million euros) in grants to local youth projects. Only non-profit child and youth organisations can apply for these grants. The planned project may last for a maximum period of 12 months. There is a possibility for support for an extended period if the application is renewed, for a maximum period of three years. The applying organisations must be democratically structured and follow the ideals of democracy. The grant may not be used for regular activities or administrative costs of the organisation. 30 organisations were awarded grants in 2019 compared to 36 in 2018 and 39 in 2017 (MUCFs Annual Report 2019).
Swedish Inheritance Fund
The property of a deceased person goes to the Swedish Inheritance Fund (Allmänna arvsfonden), if he/she has no spouse or close relatives and has not left a will. The Fund supports non-profit organisations and other voluntary associations wishing to test new ideas for developing activities for children, young people and the disabled.
Applications that may be supported come in most cases from non-profit organisations engaged in voluntary work, but even municipalities may be receive grants to implement a project. In such cases the project should be innovative and be conducted in close cooperation with a non-profit organisation. A project can be grant funded from the Inheritance Fund for up to three years.
In 2019, about 750 million Swedish kronor (75 million euros) were distributed in project grants. About 177 million Swedish kronor (17 million euros) for projects with target group children and about 418 million (42 million euros) for projects targeting youth. Projects targeting persons with disabilities were allocated about 163 million Swedish kronor (16 million euros). Projects aimed at persons with disabilities refer to projects where the main focus is on persons over 25 years of age or projects not focusing on a specific age group (Annual Report 2019).
The Government has commissioned the Swedish National Board for Youth Affairs (now the Swedish Agency for Youth and Civil Society, MUCF), during four years starting 2010, to distribute specific grants for outreach activities (engagemangsguider). The target group was both youth organisations and other civil society organisations, and the aim was to reach groups with low participation levels, especially young people and women in poor neighbourhoods.
A total of 65 projects received grants between 2010 and 2013, summing up to 40 million Swedish kronor (4,2 million euros). Both local clubs and national organisations have been active. Sports activity was the most popular theme for the outreach activities. Towards the end of that period, the projects were more tightly focused on newly arrived immigrants and unaccompanied youth as a target group.