Drawing from founder James N. Gamble’s philosophy of strategic philanthropy, the aim of Ayrshire’s grants are not so much charity as investment: investment in the possibility of change and a better world. Gamble believed that the purpose of wealth, beyond caring for one’s family, was to create opportunities and improve the lives of others.

Grants may be one time or extend over several years; the foundation may partner with other foundations or individuals, or create match grants as incentives. Success of a particular grant is linked to its desired effect, whether it be to seed a new organization and attract additional funding, to provide a vehicle for disseminating information, or to support a viable organization whose mission and model is replicable.