Empress Shôken Fund

The Empress Shôken Fund, run jointly by the IFRC and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), provides small annual grants to support the peacetime activities of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. Funds are consistent, predictable and prioritized for innovation and learning.

About the Fund

The Empress Shôken Fund (ESF) is named after Her Majesty The Empress Shôken of Japan, one of the founders of the Japanese Red Cross Society. At the 9th International Conference of the Red Cross, held in 1912, she proposed the creation of an international fund to promote relief work of National Societies in peacetime.

The Fund is run by the Joint Commission of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and the International Committee of the Red Cross, which maintains close contact with the Japanese Permanent Mission in Geneva, the Japanese Red Cross Society and the Meiji Jingu Research Institute in Japan.

The Fund has a total value of more than 17 million Swiss francs and supports projects run by National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies to benefit their communities in various ways.

The first grant was awarded in 1921 to help five European National Societies fight the spread of tuberculosis. Since then, more than 15 million Swiss francs have been allocated to 171 National Societies.

The Fund encourages National Societies to explore new and innovative approaches to humanitarian and development issues—generating learning that will benefit the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement as a whole.

Click here to learn about the projects selected for Empress Shôken Fund support in 2023.

2023 call for applications

The Empress Shôken Fund secretariat has launched its 103rd call for applications with a deadline for submission of 31 December, 2023, at midnight (CET). To apply, please use the online application form (HERE), accompanied by a completed budget template and a signed management commitment template. You will find these, together with all other supporting documents, on the form. For any other information, please send an email to: [email protected]

More information

Argentine Red Cross volunteers teach first aid to children in Villa Fraga as part of a project to improve the health of communities living in urban and slum areas and help them prepare for disasters.

Funding announcements

Discover the innovative and exciting projects selected for support in 2023 and previous years.

Nigerian Red Cross volunteer, Princess, helps a mother tend to her newborn baby in a displacement camp in Anambra State. The camp was set up due to severe flooding that impacted the region in 2018. Nigerian Red Cross volunteers provided wide-ranging support to those affected, including many new mothers and babies.

How can National Societies apply?

Information for Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies who wish to apply for funding.

Portrait of Empress Shôken of Japan, one of the founders of the Japanese Red Cross Society and after whom the joint IFRC and ICRC Empress Shôken Fund - which supports peacetime activities of National Societies - is named.

History of the Fund

Learn about how the Fund was set up and how it has evolved in the past 100 years.

Watch: 100 years of supporting National Societies

Logo of the Joint commission of the Empress Shoken Fund


Logos of the IFRC, ICRC and Japanese Red Cross side by side