Esmée Fairbain Foundation



    The Esmée Fairbairn Foundation is a registered charity founded in England in 1961. It is one of the largest independent grantmaking foundations in England, making grants to organisations which aim to improve the quality of life for people and communities in the UK, both now and in the future.


    Ian Fairbairn is the founder of the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and the organisation was founded in 1961. Fairbairn was a city worker that decided to invest in a charitable organisation, M&G. M&G grew as a result of Fairbain’s hard graft, with an overall aim of promoting improved understanding of economic and financial challenges through utilising education. His wife, Esmée, had been killed during World War II in an air raid, and Ian Fairbairn was also eager to put in place a memorial to her. The sons of Esmée Fairbairn, Paul and Oliver Stobart have given sizeable sums to the Foundation. The organisation grew considerably in 1999 when it sold its investment in M&G. This has enabled it to make much more significant grants.


    The main mission of Esmée Fairbairn Foundation is to improve the quality of life throughout the UK.

    Areas of Focus

    The Esmée Fairbairn Foundation works in the areas of arts, children and young people, the environment and social change. When it comes to the arts it focuses on organisations that are at a turning point, the development of emerging talent or driving social change.

    In the area of children and young people, its funding is focused on the social and emotional development of disadvantaged children and young people, the rights of vulnerable children and young people, the root causes of low educational achievement and political participation for young people.

    In the environment it is committed to a focus on connecting people with nature, conservation of natural environments, countering the impact of people and also focusing on less well-known organisms. With social change it focuses on the marginalised, improving community life and addressing injustice.

    In addition to making charitable grants, it also has a finance fund. The fund is worth £26 million and it is dedicated to investments in organisations that plan to provide a social benefit as well as a financial return.

    The management team and founders

    Caroline Mason CBE is currently the Chief Executive of the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation. Mason has a history of working in the social sector and has also served at Big Society Capital as COO, and previously to that at Charity Bank. Mason is entrepreneurial and set up Investing for Good, a social investment advisory firm, and one of the first of its kind. She also benefits from lengthily work experience in the financial sector, with Reuters. She also serves on the board of Social Enterprise UK, Ethex and EVPA.

    James Wragg is the director of operations, focused on the support services and leading in areas such as the administration of governance, grant-making systems, finance, information systems, human resources, planning and policy. He deputises for the CEO as required. He is the Chair of a charity that works with children and families in London. Before working at the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation Wragg served at Lloyds TSB Foundation for England and Wales.

    The funding at the organisation is run by John Mulligan, Director of Funding Development, and Sharon Shea, Director of Funding. Both have a specialist area of social change. Marie Mathilde Suberbere is the organisation’s Finance Director.

    Examples of types of organizations funded

    One of the grants awarded by the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation has been to the Fostering Network. The goal of this project has been to introduce foster care to social pedagogy. The approach taken works towards building relationships regarding children in foster care and takes a step away from the following procedures. the Fostering Network has set up six demonstration sites across England and Scotland where it has tried this approach. It is working to demonstrate the impact that this can have, particularly concerning stability for foster children and educational improvement. In total, £900,000 was given across four years to this worthy project.

    Another undertaking that has been supported to the tune of more than £2 million in grants has been the UK Drug Policy Commission. This organisation is an independent entity that reviews drug policy and practice in the UK. The organisation analyses areas such as the impact of drugs, stigma, the impact of the media, enforcement crime and media controls and policy and systems. It has been estimated that illegal drugs cost the UK £3 billion a year, but there is limited evidence regarding what works and what does not, and the UK Drug Policy Commission seeks to rectify this by offering evidence and suggested policies.


    Previous articleUnltd
    Next articleBeing Human Foundation
    Hernaldo Turrillo is a writer and author specialised in innovation, AI, DLT, SMEs, trading, investing and new trends in technology and business. He has been working for ztudium group since 2017. He is the editor of,,, and writes regularly for, Hernaldo was born in Spain and finally settled in London, United Kingdom, after a few years of personal growth. Hernaldo finished his Journalism bachelor degree in the University of Seville, Spain, and began working as reporter in the newspaper, Europa Sur, writing about Politics and Society. He also worked as community manager and marketing advisor in Los Barrios, Spain. Innovation, technology, politics and economy are his main interests, with special focus on new trends and ethical projects. He enjoys finding himself getting lost in words, explaining what he understands from the world and helping others. Besides a journalist, he is also a thinker and proactive in digital transformation strategies. Knowledge and ideas have no limits.