Esmee Fairbairn Foundation – Grants

Funding is provided by the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation which was established in 1961 by Ian Fairbairn as a memorial to his wife Esmée. Today it is one of the largest independent grant-making foundations in the UK. It aims to improve the quality of life throughout the UK and takes pride in supporting work that might otherwise be considered difficult to fund.

The funding is intended for projects with the following aims:

  • Improving the natural world.
  • Securing a fairer future.
  • Strengthening the bonds in communities in the UK.

The minimum grant size is £30,000.

Applicants should apply for the amount that they need. The Foundation makes grants across a fairly wide spectrum of sizes.  Most grants are for three years or longer.

To apply for funding organisations first need to complete the eligibility quiz available on the Foundation’s website.

They can then submit a 200 word Expression of Interest and will hear back from the Foundation within four weeks.

The Foundation will discuss the proposal with the organisation and will invite them to submit a full proposal if the project is a good fit.

The Foundation is hosting a pre-application Q&A webinar via Zoom on 27 September 2023 (15:00 to 16:00). Registration is required. Questions may be submitted in advance to

The webinar is for organisations interested in applying and who have questions about the application process or guidance. Most of the time will be spent answering as many questions as possible. Please note, the Foundation’s staff will not be able to offer detailed advice on individual applications before an expression of interest has been submitted.

Guidance notes and FAQs are available on the website of the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation.

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