Funding Strategy

The Woodland Trust


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.  

Hackney Pirates
Hackney Pirates

Read our Funding Strategy

In March 2015 we published our funding strategy for 2015 - 2019.

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.

Download the strategy (121kb) or view it online here

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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.   

Example funding: Circles South EastIce and Fire, Inquest, The Irene Taylor Trust ‘Music in Prisons’, Female Genital Mutilation InitiativeRoyal Botanic Gardens Kew's 'Lost & Found Fungi Project'Lancashire Wildlife Trust's Mosslands project, Standing Committee for Youth Justice

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.  

Example funding: Artcity StokeArts at the Old Fire StationFéile an Phobail, Comas, Spice, Women’s Resource Centre

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.  

Example funding: Bat Conservation Trust, ClientEarth , Coram Children’s Legal CentreEarly Action Neighbourhood FundMedactJust for Kids LawUpRising

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.  

Example funding: Derby Theatre, CDI Apps for Good, Fair for You, Frantic Assembly, Graeae Theatre Company, Leap Confronting ConflictUnltd - Lead the Change