This paper explores a number of structured attempts to provide capitalised funds to augment investments in slum upgrading made by the poor themselves and to strengthen the ability of organisations of the urban poor to take the initiative in community led slum upgrading. The majority of examples are drawn from the experience of organisations that are members of Shack/Slum Dwellers International (SDI), an international network of Federations of the Urban Poor, and their support organisations. Their use of Urban Poor Funds will be discussed in some detail. There has however been no attempt to be comprehensive in coverage. Rather the focus has been on seeking to understand how capital facilities have been, and could be, used to support a specific development methodology - referred to as the “Federation Process” - and to understand the rationale behind certain decisions that have been taken in determining how Urban Poor Funds have been designed and the manner in which they have evolved. Examples have been drawn exclusively from Asia and Africa. Some background material on public sector and donor financing of slum up-grading and infrastructure provision is provided in order to better contextualise the initiatives developed as a result of the Federation Process.