Revising our strategy - update

Action for Conservation

24 April 2020 update

(original story published on 21 January 2020)

We are looking forward to launching a revised strategy for Esmée Fairbairn Foundation in September 2020.

We had originally planned to launch our strategy in May 2020, but this has been delayed until September 2020, due to the coronavirus. Between May and September we will be concentrating our time and funds on supporting the organisations we already fund, to help them through this uncertain time.

We will continue to support brilliant work in the Arts, Children and Young People and Social Change as we do now, with some funding priorities closing (see below) and some new ones to be announced. We will also offer larger, longer grants.

In Environment and Food, we will take a more active role. We need bold action and impact like never before when it comes to protecting our natural world. So in addition to funding brilliant organisations, we will work alongside partners and collaborators to remove barriers and secure progress ourselves, using our voice to quietly influence and effect change.

We will continue to spend c.£40m per year on grants, continue to make social investments, and maintain our commitment to supporting organisations with core and unrestricted grants.

We closed to applications under our current strategy on 3 April 2020. Applications under the new strategy will open in September 2020.

We will share more detailed information in September.

Q. Which priorities are closing?


A. In the Arts: Organisations at a pivotal point.

In Children and Young People: Improving support for disadvantaged children and young people.

In Social Change: Participation – marginalised and excluded individuals and groups.

In the Environment and Food: all our priorities will be replaced by a new strategy.

Q. I want to apply under a priority that’s closing, will I still get funding?

A. You are welcome to apply until 3 April 2020. However, in our closing priorities we will be balancing new applications with our responsibility to continue supporting the work of existing grantholders. This means that there may be greater competition for funding in general, and particularly in those closing priorities.

Q. Should I apply now or wait for September 2020?

A. We are now closed to new applications until September. If you are currently funded by us and would like to apply for continuation funding, please contact your Grants Manager directly. 

Q. I already have an application submitted, how will that be treated?

A. We will continue to assess first stage applications under current guidance until the launch of the new strategy in May. If you have been invited to second stage you should receive a message from us clarifying what our changing strategy will mean for your application. If you haven’t heard from us by 29 January, email to let us know.

Q. I have a grant with Esmée in one of the closing priorities, how will that be affected?

A. We will continue to support, value and learn from all our grants under the new strategy. If your grant ends in 2020 you should receive a message from us clarifying what our changing strategy will mean for applying for continuation funding. If you haven’t heard from us by 29 January, email to let us know.

If your grant ends after 1 January 2021 you will need to apply for continuation funding under our new strategy after it’s launched in September 2020.