Esmee Fairbairn Foundation – Grants


Grants are available to organisations doing legally charitable work in the UK that focuses on the Foundation’s funding priorities of improving the natural world, securing a fairer future, and strengthening the bonds in communities in the UK.

Current Status:  Open for Applications

Maximum value:  Discretionary

Objectives of Fund

The funding is intended for projects with the following aims:

  • Improving the natural world.
  • Securing a fairer future.
  • Strengthening the bonds in communities in the UK.

Value Notes

The minimum grant size is £30,000.

Applicants should apply for the amount that they need. The Foundation makes grants across a fairly wide spectrum of sizes.

Most grants are for three years or longer.

Who Can Apply

Charities and organisations that are undertaking work that is legally charitable in the UK can apply.

Organisations must have a regular annual turnover of at least £100,000 and must be properly constituted.


The following are not eligible for funding:

  • Organisations with a regular annual turnover of less than £100,000.
  • Organisations without at least three non-executive trustees or directors.
  • Work that is not legally charitable.
  • Work that does not have a direct benefit in the UK.
  • Individuals.
  • Capital costs including building work, renovations, and equipment (the exclusion applies to grants only, social investments can be made for these).
  • Academic research unless it can demonstrate real potential for practical outcomes.
  • Healthcare with a clinical basis, including medical research, hospices, counselling and therapy, arts therapy, education about and treatment for drug and alcohol misuse.
  • Work that is primarily the responsibility of statutory authorities.
  • Promotion of religion.

Eligible Expenditure

The Foundation launched its new strategy in October 2020 and is now providing unrestricted core and project grants for work in the following areas:

Our Natural World

Ensuring that the natural world is restored and protected, and that people benefit from that recovery.

The Foundation aims to contribute to the following key impact goals by 2030:

  • Preserved and improved species health and habitats.
  • Clean and healthy freshwater.
  • Sustainable and ethical food.

The priorities in the first five years are:

  • Peat.
  • Space for nature.
  • Freshwater.
  • Nature-friendly farming
  • Fishing in tandem with nature.

A Fairer Future

Contributing to a just and anti-racist society, where those most likely to have their rights denied have those rights protected, as well as the opportunity to speak and be heard, and have the freedom to express their creativity. The Foundation wants to shine new light on areas of need and challenge the cultures, systems and behaviours that stand in the way of change.

The Foundation aims to contribute to the following key impact goals by 2030:

  • Injustice and structural inequality is challenged and changed.
  • A new inclusive generation of leaders and artists.

The priorities in the first five years are:

  • Acting early on the root causes of problems.
  • Children and young people’s rights.
  • Young people leaving care.
  • Tackling injustice.
  • Empowering young leaders.
  • Removing barriers to creative careers.
  • Cultural education.

Creative, Confident Communities

Strengthening the bonds in communities, helping local people to build vibrant, confident places where they can fulfil their creative, human, and economic potential. Places where the local economy works better for the people who live there, where there is equality of access to arts and culture, and where communities are at the heart of change.

The Foundation aims to contribute to the following key impact goals by 2030:

  • Communities take an active role in decisions that affect them.
  • Local economies work better for the people who live there.
  • Everyone can access the benefits of culture and creativity.

The priorities in the first five years are:

  • Communities working together for change.
  • Community ownership and regeneration.
  • Creativity transforming lives.
  • Culture restoring communities.

How To Apply

The Esmée Fairbairn Foundation is now accepting applications for projects that fit within its new strategy.

To apply for funding organisations first need to complete the eligibility quiz available on the Foundation’s website.

They can then submit a 100 word Expression of Interest and will hear back from the Foundation within two weeks.

The Foundation will discuss the proposal with the organisation and will invite them to submit a full proposal if the project is a good fit.

Guidance notes and FAQs are available on the website of the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation.

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