INSTITUTIONAL

GRANTS PROGRAM

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

Education

Sustainable Resource Management

If you are interested in learning about our current and past grantees, visit our grantee database to learn more.

OUR PROGRAM AREAS

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.

When the COVID-19 pandemic reached Latin America in early 2020, at least 140 million students in the region experienced disruptions to their schooling. Estimates of learning poverty, the share of 10-year-olds unable to read and understand basic texts, increased roughly from 50% to 80% in the region. Evidence suggests that students have suffered significant learning loss and many are likely to drop out of school altogether. Historically disadvantaged students, such as those living in rural and/or marginalized contexts, from low-income families, and migrants, have experienced these effects disproportionately.

During the past two years, Tinker has awarded grants to more than 30 organizations working across Latin America to address the impact of the pandemic on education. This brings Tinker’s total contributions to over $3 million and contributes to a robust regional network of grantees working on this critical issue.

The Foundation recognizes the importance of continued action to prioritize the needs of the most vulnerable students and to address gaps in learning as schools return to more regular instruction. While the pandemic has had devastating effects on education, the recovery process may also present opportunities for improving teaching, learning, and educational access in the region.

Funding priorities for 2022

Given the ongoing pandemic and the varying educational conditions across the region, the Foundation will maintain an intentionally broad funding strategy for the latter half of 2022. Tinker welcomes promising projects from across the region that:

  • Promote foundational learning recovery and acceleration. After extended school closures and inconsistent access to remote learning, many students have fallen well below grade-level standards. We welcome projects that seek to address these gaps.
  • Secure student re-enrollment and retention. School closures have caused lower registration rates in some educational communities, and experts fear many more students may drop out in the coming months and years because of academic and other pandemic-related challenges. We seek projects that address this challenge, with a particular focus on the most vulnerable students.
  • Evolve curricula and teaching approaches. There is a window of opportunity to introduce new practices and shift educational priorities. We invite projects that involve work with school systems, educational leaders, and families to promote basic learning and implement evidence-based pedagogical approaches that increase educational equity and quality moving forward.

The education program will provide grants to civil society organizations in Latin America aiming to achieve these objectives. Some examples of interventions to be prioritized may include:

  • Diagnostics and accelerated learning plans
  • Developing capabilities in educational communities
  • Teacher training and coaching
  • Tutoring and complementary activities
  • Interventions that support student socio-emotional wellbeing and learning

We welcome projects at different stages of implementation, ranging from experiments and pilots of new models to impact evaluations for promising projects to strategies for scaling up proven interventions.

Applications to the Education program for this cycle should reflect the following criteria. You may also refer to Tinker’s general grantmaking guidelines for all other considerations.

  • Geography. The Education program invites projects from all Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking countries in Latin America.
  • Funding and Project Duration. From $20,000 to $100,000 per year and up to two years of support, depending on the scope and scale of the project. We will consider projects of up to three years in extraordinary cases where projects focus on securing longer-term changes.
  • Educational Level. Tinker will prioritize projects focused on the primary and early secondary levels, where early evidence suggests learning gaps are most significant.
  • Type of Organization. Civil society organizations founded and based in Latin America will be prioritized. However, regional and international organizations with substantial on-the-ground presence and a proven track record of collaboration with local stakeholders may apply.
  • School System. We anticipate that many projects will involve direct work with school systems and educational communities. The Foundation generally encourages projects that engage public school systems and students, although exceptions may be made for efforts that take place outside the school setting or through private or community-based schools that serve marginalized or vulnerable populations.
  • Populations Reached. Given longstanding inequities in access to education in the region and the disproportionate impact of pandemic school closures among already marginalized communities, the Foundation will prioritize projects that engage students with the following characteristics: residents of rural and low-income urban communities, Indigenous and/or Afro-descendant students, girls, and migrants and internally displaced people.

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

Water scarcity and quality issues have emerged as critical concerns 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 with an emphasis on governance; develop water policies and management methodologies based on local hydrological assessments; or identify, implement, and replicate workable models of freshwater management and protection.

2022 INSTITUTIONAL

Grant Cycles

The Tinker Foundation’s Institutional Grants program provides project funding to organizations working to improve the lives of Latin Americans, with an emphasis on support for organizations in the region.

In Cycle 2, we will accept Letters of Inquiry for all three program areas starting July 11. You can read more about each program’s strategy and priorities in the section above.

If you would like to apply for funding, visit our application page to learn more.

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Cycle 1

Opens January 10

Democratic Governance and Sustainable Resource Management

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Cycle 2

Opens July 11

All Programs

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

For additional information, please reach out to:

Democratic Governance

Sustainable Resource Management

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