Overview of grant funding

JustRight Scotland

We spend around £45m to £50m each year in grants towards our funding priorities in support of our mission: to improve our natural world; secure a fairer future; and strengthen the bonds in communities in the UK.

On this page, we share more information about grants we have made broken down by aim and priority, type of support, and amount awarded.

You can also find an analysis of our grants based on diversity data submitted by organisations in our report: Who our funding is reaching. It also includes information about the geographic spread of grants awarded.

If you have any questions about the information shared, please send an email to: communications@esmeefairbairn.org.uk.

Grant applications in 2023

The majority of applications we receive are through our open application process where organisations submit an expression of interest through our website. We also work proactively to invite applications from organisations who we think are a strong fit for our strategy. They may be organisations we learn about through our work, or organisations we have funded seeking a follow-on grant.

The following infographic shows an overview of applications in 2023 at Expression of Interest (EOI) stage, proposal stage, and grants awarded through the two routes.

For applications through our website, 7% of Expressions of Interest were invited to submit a full proposal. Of the proposals reviewed, 93% were awarded a grant. This was a higher than usual proportion than previous years. Of the grants awarded through this route, 62% were to organisations new to Esmée.

Grants awarded in 2023

In 2023, we made 227 main grants, totalling £48.3m, towards our three main aims: Our Natural World; A Fairer Future; and Creative, Confident Communities; as well as grants to key infrastructure organisations under A Sector Fit for the Future. Grants made in A Sector Fit for the Future contribute to our goals across our aims by enabling a stronger, inclusive sector; and applications are by invitation only.

Chart 1 shows the value and number of grants made under each of our aims as well as A Sector Fit for the Future.

Chart 2 shows a breakdown of grants in terms of the type of support offered: core costs, unrestricted, project costs, or delegated funding.

Overall, 70% of grants made in 2023 were unrestricted or for core costs meaning the funding could be used for an organisation's running costs to enable them to meet their needs and priorities on their own terms.

Chart 3 shows a breakdown of grants by amount awarded.

The chart shows that more than half of our grants were for £60,001 to £200,000. We made three grants, which were over £1m. These were to:

  • LocalMotion, a social, economic and environment justice network awarded £3m over eight years for delegated grant-making in six places in England and Wales. We also committed £2m in social investment.
  • Baobab Foundation, a new type of foundation that aims to support, grow, and strengthen groups and organisations led by and serving Black and Global Majority people across the UK. They were awarded £1.5m over three years.
  • Civic Power Fund were awarded £1.5m over five years for work to build power in place through grassroots community organising.

Chart 4 shows a breakdown of grants by the length of term.

It shows that 122 out of 227 grants (54% of the main grants awarded in 2023) were for 25 to 36 months. Of these, 119 grants were for 36 months.

Grants awarded by funding priority

Charts 5, 6, and 7 show the value and number of grants made for each funding priority under our three main aims.

A Fairer Future grants

Chart 5 shows main grants awarded in our priorities for A Fairer Future where we made 88 grants, totalling £17.7m.

See the latest grants awarded in A Fairer Future by clicking the relevant priority:

Creative, Confident Communities grants

Chart 6 shows main grants awarded in our priorities for Creative, Confident Communities where we made 46 grants, totalling £14.5m.

They include two of our biggest grants, LocalMotion and Civic Power Fund, both of which were for work towards our Communities working together for change priority.

See the latest grants awarded in Creative, Confident Communities by clicking the relevant priority:

Our Natural World grants

Chart 7 shows main grants awarded in our priorities for Our Natural World where we made 82 grants, totalling £14.8m.

In addition to grants made under the Our Natural World priorities, we also made 7 grants towards funding priorities in our other aims as they support our goals across multiple areas, and are particularly key to the more proactive work we are doing to deliver our roadmap for improving our natural world.

See the latest grants awarded in Our Natural World by clicking the relevant priority:

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