Funding Strategy 2015-2019

The Esmée Fairbairn Foundation Funding Strategy for 2015 to 2019 was developed with Trustees, staff, stakeholders and grantees and informed by external research and analysis.  

Published in March 2015, it sets out: the external context for our work; the long term goals that we have for our funding and the values that underpin them; the framework for our funding priorities; and our plans to monitor our impact and effectiveness. You can read it below.

Funding priorities

Our aims

Esmée does not fund according to programmes or prescriptive criteria. We are driven by our aims listed below. Each is effective individually. Together, over time, they can combine to build powerful impact. This is our 'theory of change'.

Reveal the unseen and champion the unpopular

We support people to address difficult issues which are not well known or understood.  Where a combination of complex problems, silence or social pressure might lead to prejudice and stigma.  Or where the importance of the work might be overlooked because it is niche, specialised or technical.   

Strengthen and connect communities for change

We believe that communities working together with partner organisations or social movements can make more of a difference to people’s lives. We support creative or unexpected approaches to community action, and work that makes the sharing and exchange of ideas, methods or data easier.  We aim to strengthen the capacity of our funding sectors, as well as wider civil society.  

Catalyse system change

We support work that sets out to change the systems which prevent individuals, families and communities from living a fulfilling life, or  threaten to damage the natural environment. We back organisations that have the vision and the knowhow to improve lives in the UK on a broad scale, benefiting current and future generations.  

Unlock and enable potential

We back exceptional people with inspiring, practical ideas and organisations that have developed new approaches. By core funding organisations we aim to provide the space for experimentation, learning and refinement so that the sector and the people it serves discover, in turn, how best to fulfil their potential.  

Learn more

  • Effervescent

    Our aims

    Learn more about our impact goals and priorities for the next five years. We also share insights and learning as well as information about what we fund.

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  • Columba 1400, Visual Explorer Exercise

    About Esmée

    Learn about our people, our governance and history as well as our approach to investment and see our annual reports.

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  • West London Zone


    Information about our strategic plan including our impact goals and the outcomes we hope to achieve by 2030. We also outline how we will work in support of our mission.

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