The Aesop Foundation

Fostering literacy, storytelling, and diversity.

Footscray Community Arts Centre | West Writers
A professional development and mentoring initiative to inspire and elevate writers from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.

In contribution to our wider community, the Aesop Foundation endeavours to provide individuals with greater opportunities through the development of literacy and storytelling. We partner with organisations to cultivate written and verbal skills, and provide a platform for expression to those who may otherwise struggle to be heard. Through two distinct granting programs, it is our hope that we nurture diversity within the community, and the culture of the arts with resounding effect.

Guided by our core values of respect, creativity, excellence, passion and integrity, we currently provide support in Australia, as detailed in the specified granting guidelines.

Three young children reading books

Australian Literacy and Numeracy Foundation | Art for Literacy
A workshop that brings students together to share their culturally-diverse backgrounds and stories and express them in an artwork.
Learn more

‘To have the sense of creative activity is the great happiness and the great proof of being alive.’

Matthew Arnold

    • Act with understatement: Respectfully recognising our partners as the experts in their fields.
    • Partner quietly: Seeking neither recognition nor formal acknowledgement.
    • Reciprocal learning: Learning with and from partners, striving for continuous improvement.
    • Openness and transparency: Encouraging honest conversation in the spirit of collaboration. In turn, we are transparent regarding our intentions, processes and timelines.
    • A long-term perspective: Exercising patience in the development and nurturing of relationships, recognising that outcomes and impact can extend beyond the terms of the formal partnership.
    • Generous intent: Offering gestures of support beyond funding to provide the greatest benefit to our partners. This may include facilitating collaboration and leveraging our own in-house expertise.


    • While the majority of our grants are awarded to organisations that are invited to apply, we remain open to hearing new ideas from potential partners. If you believe your organisation’s project meets the objectives and guidelines of the Foundation we warmly invite you to submit a letter of enquiry.

    • The Aesop Foundation supports its partners through two distinct granting programs. The Companion Grants program provides up to AUD30,000, usually for a single year. The Partnerships Grants program provides between AUD100,000-300,000 per year for up to five years.

    • We respectfully request that you review the following guidelines to ensure close alignment prior to submitting a letter of enquiry:

      • Applicant organisations must be a DGR Item 1 entity in Australia and a charity registered with the ACNC.
      • The project must meet, or make a contribution to meeting, one or both of the objectives of the Foundation, as follows:
        1. Raising the levels of literacy in neighbourhoods, giving consideration to literacy in the broadest possible sense, including:
          • The ability to read and write
          • Visual literacy, or the ability to make meaning from information presented in a visual form
          • Linguistic diversity
          • Story telling
        2. Amplifying the stories of people who may not have a voice, through the mediums of literature, public conversation, the visual arts and performing arts.
      • The impact of the project must be seen in Australia.
      • The Foundation will consider projects utilising the following strategies:
        • Capacity building and technical assistance
        • Network building and collaboration
        • Outreach
        • Presentations and productions
        • Product and service development
        • Program development
        • Research and evaluation
        • Individual development
        • Policy, advocacy and systems reform


    • While we remain open to hearing from new potential partners, we gently discourage the submission of unsolicited applications from organisations, and those from individuals. Please also take note of the following exclusions:

      • Applications from non-DGR Item 1 organisations
      • Organisations that are discriminatory or have discriminatory practices
      • Projects that are focused or based outside of Australia
      • Retrospective funding
      • Proposals from organisations who have outstanding acquittals for projects previously funded
      • A project which has been previously declined, unless by invitation of Foundation staff
      • Projects utilising the following strategies:
        • Capital and infrastructure
        • Financial sustainability
        • Leadership and professional development

  • Applications are considered by a Committee of Aesop staff and the Foundation Board, who will request further information if required. Those submitting a letter of enquiry can expect a response within ten business days. Those asked to submit a full application will learn the outcome of their full application approximately four months after submission.

    If your organisation is invited to submit a full application, a member of staff will be in contact to discuss the relevant requirements and submission deadline.

    Letter of Enquiry External Link


For additional queries relating to our philanthropic grants and initiatives, please contact us External Link