Coronavirus - funding and reassurance

Esmée Fairbairn Foundation is making an additional £16 million of funding available this year in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Read more about what actions we have taken below.

14 April 2020

Now, more than ever, we need a strong and diverse civil society so we have allocated £14 million in fast-response grants to be offered to some of the organisations we currently support across all of our sectors: the arts, children and young people, environment, food and social change.

We are also making available £2 million for contributions to emergency funding schemes in collaboration with others. We will share more details of our fast-response funding directly with organisations we support in the next two weeks.

All our grants will be published to 360Giving and we recommend using the COVID-19 tracker, as we are, to co-ordinate support with other funders.

We are currently closed to new applications so that we can concentrate support on the organisations we already fund.

3 April 2020

We are closing to funding applications from organisations who are not already in our system at 5pm on Friday 3 April.

This closure was originally planned to enable us to prepare for our new strategy in May, and will now give us time to work more closely with the organisations we fund to help them through this difficult period. We are currently working to develop a set of emergency funding responses which we will share as soon as we can.

17 March 2020

We will be closing our office from Wednesday 18 March, meaning our meeting rooms will not be available for the foreseeable future. All staff are working from home and available by phone or email. The best way to get in contact is to email

As the situation changes day by day, it’s most important that we concentrate on our core business: supporting the organisations we fund. We are taking a range of actions including: moving payments and relaxing our reporting guidelines, expanding our grants plus programme, and making top-up or emergency grants to those we already fund.  We are also in close contact with other funders to co-ordinate collectively support the sector. 

We are due to start a new funding strategy in Autumn 2020 and so will close to new applications on 3 April 2020, reopening in Autumn 2020. 

13 March 2020

We want to reassure organisations we fund with grants and social investments that we will continue to support you through this uncertain time, and that our funding is flexible and intended to help you deal with challenges.

We understand that it might be difficult for you to meet the outcomes of your grant when staff and volunteers will not be available, events or meetings may need to be cancelled, and services need to be provided in different ways. We’re interested to hear about this as part of your regular reporting, but you don’t have to take the time to tell us about it now unless a chat would be helpful.

Please let your grant manager know if we could help by moving payment or reporting dates, offering grants plus support, or anything else.

We are lucky to be able to work from home at Esmée, so in the event that we have to close the office, we should be able to get back to you as normal.


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