Strategic Plan 2011-2013
1. The Esmée Fairbairn Foundation
Our aim is to improve the quality of life for people and communities in the UK both now and in the future. We do this by supporting organisations that work in the arts, education and learning, the environment, and social change.
The Foundation is one of the largest independent foundations in the UK. We make grants in the region of £30 - £35 million per annum. Our funds are generated by our investment portfolio. We aim to achieve a total return of RPI + 4% on a rolling five year average. Additionally we operate a Finance Fund (£21 million) which invests in activities that aim to deliver both a financial return and a social benefit.
2. The Strategic Plan
This Plan provides a framework for how the Foundation will operate over the three year period 2011-13 and is updated annually. It has been developed following a strategic review of the Foundation's work in 2010.
3. Our approach
We want to be an organisation:
- with curiosity, imagination and judgement at its heart;
- proud of its past and demanding of its future;
- open to new thinking, taking risks, reflection and learning;
- that treats all those with whom we work with courtesy and respect.
With an approach that:
- reflects our independence and long term perspective;
- actively nurtures and supports a resilient civil society sector;
- is recognised as forward thinking and exemplary in its field;
- balances the needs of current and future generations;
- makes the best possible use of all our resources to achieve our aims.
4. Strategic aims over three years
To develop our grant-making in line with our spending and policy priorities:
- review our grant-making policies and sectors balancing responsive grant-making and some targeted themes, and expanding grants plus support;
- implement and keep under review appropriate arrangements for assessment and decision making;
- capture and apply the learning from our grant-making in how we work;
- develop a strong network of sector and regional relationships.
To increase the impact of our work:
- develop our profile as a Foundation including strengthening our networks and communication;
- build an internal framework for reviewing policy, and sharing knowledge and learning across all our work;
- target more Grants Plus support towards communication and policy change work.
To build and further develop our Finance Fund work:
- extend the scope of the Fund whilst continuing to support innovative structures and investment tools;
- develop and implement a framework for evaluating and tracking the performance of the Fund;
- continue to improve our understanding of the opportunities and limitations in this area;
- develop a strategy to build a leadership role within the sector.
To celebrate our 50th anniversary in 2011:
- mark our anniversary with an appropriate event or events;
- leave a sense of Esmée at 50 for future generations through the film commission and the Annual Report.
To manage all our resources in support of our objectives:
- continue to develop a team who can grow, and provide greater opportunities for engagement and responsibility in contributing to our work;
- maintain and develop an effective system of governance that supports our work including the introduction of new Trustees;
- develop an improved web and technology presence that demonstrates and supports our wider aims towards greater impact and effectiveness.
To consolidate our investment approach and deliver our financial performance targets:
- consolidate management and oversight of our diversified long-term investment portfolio to support our funding for both current and future generations;
- embed our financial strategy across all decision-making;
- consolidate our risk management process in line with the revised three year strategic plan.