June 29, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected communities across Latin America, with significant impact on education. At least 140 million students in the region have experienced disruptions in schooling, and many schools are not expected to fully reopen until 2021. Evidence suggests that students will experience significant learning loss, and many will drop out of the education system. Students that are already disadvantaged (including students living in rural and/or marginalized contexts, students from families that are low-income, migrants, and ethnic and social groups that have faced barriers to equitable education) will likely experience these effects disproportionately. As a funder of education in Latin America for more than a decade, the Tinker Foundation recognizes the importance of urgent action to address gaps in education during school closures and the need to prioritize the most vulnerable students.

The Foundation is launching a special funding initiative that will provide short-term grants to civil society organizations in Latin America that are working to address the specific educational needs generated by the pandemic. This initiative temporarily replaces our Education program strategy for the July-December 2020 grantmaking cycle. These grants are intended to support efforts to address the most significant near-term effects of the pandemic on education. The Foundation hopes to partner with grantees to generate approaches and evidence that could be relevant to future educational disruptions and contribute to broader efforts in the region related to educational access and equity. We will prioritize projects that seek active engagement and participation of the most vulnerable students and communities, and to the extent possible, complement priorities and initiatives of the public education system.


Given the diversity of contexts and responses to the pandemic in Latin America, the Tinker Foundation welcomes a range of projects that meet local, national, and regional needs in primary and secondary education systems. Projects may address access to education during school closures, planning for responsible reopening, and / or activities related to the resumption of in-person teaching and learning. Funds may be used to pilot new approaches, replicate and scale proven models, continue ongoing projects, and / or generate evidence to inform policy decisions. Approaches may include, but are not limited to, direct outreach to students, training of teachers, and decision-making support to government officials and school administrators.

Illustrative project interventions could include:

  • Communication strategies that engage students and parents in learning at home
  • Radio, television, and web-based learning modules and approaches. Please note that although we generally exclude use of funds for production costs of film, television, and radio projects, exceptions will be made for production of educational content.
  • Teacher training on technology, curriculum adaptation, and student engagement
  • Intensive tutoring programs (virtual and in-person) that address learning loss
  • Support to administrators and teachers on school reopening approaches to maximize student retention
  • Hybrid curriculum and student engagement strategies for gradual, phased reopening of schools and to mitigate potential future school closures

Projects that focus exclusively on humanitarian needs in educational contexts (such as food baskets, personal protective equipment, etc.) will not be considered for funding. In addition, funds may not be used for the following:

  • Funding to individuals, including individual research
  • Direct or grassroots lobbying (see Overview of U.S. Lobbying and Political Campaigning Rules)
  • Annual or other fundraising appeals
  • School tuition, student scholarships, or sponsorships
  • Support for building construction or major equipment purchases


The Tinker Foundation will allocate up to $500,000 in uncommitted funds for this initiative. Grants will be for projects of up to 12 months duration. Project budgets should fall within the range of $10,000 to $75,000 depending on the scope and scale of activity.

Grantees will submit final narrative and financial reports at the conclusion of the project. In addition, the Foundation will arrange periodic phone calls to discuss project progress and may invite organizations to share learning with other recipients as appropriate. Organizations registered outside the United States will be subject to additional reporting requirements under Expenditure Responsibility. For a complete overview of the Foundation’s terms and conditions for institutional grantmaking, please refer here.

The Foundation recognizes that the pandemic continues to generate significant uncertainty and operating challenges for civil society organizations in Latin America. If necessary, project activities and timelines may be modified during the grant period, within the legal requirements of Expenditure Responsibility.


We have defined specific eligibility criteria for applicant organizations in addition to our standard requirements.

  • Must be a registered charitable organization that operates in Latin America (see Tinker’s eligible countries). Organizations may apply through a U.S. legal entity 501(c)(3), if applicable. The Foundation generally prioritizes funding to organizations founded and based in Latin America.
  • Demonstrated recent experience working in education sector in the country or countries where the proposed project will take place.
  • Although we will prioritize organizations and projects in Central America (Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, and El Salvador), consistent with the historical geographic focus of Tinker’s education program, organizations and projects throughout Latin America are eligible.
  • Whenever possible, the Foundation will prioritize grants to organizations that demonstrate understanding of and address the needs and opportunities of students, teachers, and communities most affected by the disruption to education during the pandemic. This includes, but is not limited to, students living in rural and / or marginalized contexts, students from families that are low-income, migrants, and ethnic and social groups that have faced barriers to equitable education.


Deadline July 31, 2020; reviewed on rolling basis

To be considered for this opportunity, applicants must submit an online Letter of Inquiry (LOI) describing the proposed project and total budget request. The LOI may be submitted in English, Spanish, or Portuguese. In the LOI’s project executive summary, please include a description of your organization’s existing work in education and how this experience informs the proposed project. For this initiative, projects must start in September or October 2020 and grant duration will be a maximum of 12 months. For additional details on Tinker’s LOI process for institutional grantmaking, please click here.

Deadline is August 14, 2020

After reviewing the LOIs, we will invite a limited number of organizations to submit proposals. Using a simplified proposal format, organizations will provide greater detail on the project’s activities, the intended outcomes, a budget, and additional organizational documentation required for due diligence. An invitation to submit a proposal does not guarantee funding.

Target date of September 4, 2020

Grants will be approved by the Foundation’s Board of Directors and payments will be made as soon as possible thereafter.


More information on the Foundation’s general grantmaking process and policies can be found here on our website. These policies will generally apply to this application process unless otherwise noted above.


To start the process:

Click to access the login or register cheese
Share via
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap