Information on 2021 application cycles



The Foundation’s Institutional Grants program seeks to support changes to policy and practice that improve the lives of Latin Americans. The Foundation’s funding encompasses three program areas in which research, innovation, scaling of proven models, and exchange of ideas have the potential to make significant, positive impact.

Democratic Governance


Sustainable Resource Management

If you are interested in applying for funding, visit our application page to learn more.


Over the past three decades, the Tinker Foundation has supported Latin American organizations working to advance the rule of law as a foundational element of democratic societies. Beginning in the 1980s and 1990s, Tinker provided funding to seminal efforts promoting judicial reform across the region. In the 2000s, we supported organizations across the Americas expanding access to pro bono legal services.

Today Tinker seeks to build on and deepen this commitment by prioritizing projects focused on justice and rule of law. We will continue to review and consider other Democratic Governance projects on an ad hoc basis through our letter of inquiry process but anticipate focusing our resources on these core issues.

We invite projects that work toward creating and consolidating systems of justice that are independent, effective, reliable, equitable, and transparent. We will consider proposals focused at the national or sub-national level, including those with comparative or regional components. Projects may relate to what could be called the “unfinished work of judicial reform,” i.e., the challenges and opportunities involved with implementing and operating within more recently adopted structures and frameworks.

Initial areas of interest include:

Promoting transparency and accountability in the justice sector, both from within justice institutions and without (civil society monitoring, etc.)

The selection, training, and assessment of justice sector actors, as well as developing next-generation talent

Increasing access to justice, particularly for vulnerable and marginalized groups

Tinker will consider a range of project types and methodologies that match our overall grant-making parameters and capacity. These may include research and policy analysis, experimentation with new models and early scale-up of proven approaches, and exchange of knowledge across countries and contexts. We generally do not fund litigation efforts.

We will refine our interest areas and approaches as we learn, along with our grantees, from this work.

Over the past decade, the Foundation has supported programs that improve educational access and quality throughout Latin America with a specific focus on improving student outcomes in secondary education in Central America.

Since March 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic reached Latin America, at least 140 million students in the region have experienced disruptions to their schooling. Indications are that many schools may not fully reopen until 2022. Evidence suggests that students will experience significant learning loss, and many are likely to drop out of the education system altogether. Students that have been historically disadvantaged, such as students living in rural and/or marginalized contexts, students from low-income families, and migrants, will likely experience these effects disproportionately. The Foundation recognizes the importance of urgent action to address gaps in education during school closures and the need to prioritize the most vulnerable students.

In this context, the Foundation’s education grantmaking strategy in 2020 and 2021 is supporting work that focuses on the most significant near-term effects of the pandemic on education, including learning loss and dropout. We are prioritizing 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. The Foundation seeks to support projects that generate approaches and evidence that could be relevant to other educational disruptions and contribute to broader efforts in the region related to educational access and equity. The first grants made under this strategy can be found here.

Please visit the Apply to Institutional Grants page for information on specific funding opportunities in 2021.

The Tinker Foundation’s work on the environment is focused on efforts that support sustainable management of habitat and resources and incorporate social and economic dimensions affecting the well-being of local communities. Projects will address these challenges at multiple levels ranging from engaging with policy makers, to capacity building, and standards development and implementation. Funding is available for projects that address one of the following key themes:

Promoting Sustainable Management Practices

Projects should address the crucial links between effective resource management and communities that use them and seek to ensure that economic returns resulting from improved management policies benefit local populations. Potential strategies include assessing and establishing best practices; developing the human talent required to manage and conserve resources (i.e., technical training); and identifying mechanisms, practices and/or policies that avoid or mitigate overexploitation. Issues of interest include sustainable agriculture, sustainable forestry, and non-timber forest products. Projects may also consider the conservation and livelihood aspects of sustainable tourism, fisheries management, and payment for environmental service programs.


Water scarcity and quality issues have emerged as a critical concern worldwide. In Latin America, as elsewhere, the shortage of water and the resulting social, economic, and health costs disproportionately impact the poor. For that reason, the Foundation has a particular interest in projects that promote equitable access to a clean and secure water supply. Ideally, proposals should offer innovative ideas and policies that improve locally determined mechanisms for watershed management; develop water policies and management methodologies based on local hydrological assessments; or identify, implement, and replicate workable models of freshwater management and protection.


For additional information, please reach out to:

Democratic Governance

Sustainable Resource Management

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