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 learning about our current and past grantees, visit our grantee database 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.

When the COVID-19 pandemic reached Latin America in early 2020, at least 140 million students in the region began to experience disruptions to their schooling. Evidence suggests that students have suffered significant learning loss, and many are likely to drop out of the education system 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.

The Foundation recognizes the importance of continued action to prioritize the needs of the most vulnerable students and address gaps in learning as schools begin to reopen. While the pandemic has had devastating effects on education that must be faced, we recognize that the recovery process may present opportunities for improving teaching, learning, and educational access in the region.

In this context, the Foundation’s current education program priority is to provide grants to civil society organizations in Latin America that are focused on the most significant near- and medium-term effects of the pandemic on education and to enhance teaching and learning in the pandemic recovery period. We have prioritized 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.

During a year and a half of intensive grantmaking, Tinker has awarded grants to 30 organizations working across Latin America to address the impact of the pandemic on education. We will announce the results of our latest cycle of funding in December, bringing Tinker’s total contributions to over $2.5 million and further expanding our network of grantees working on this critical issue.

Plans for 2022

As education systems, communities, and civil society organizations begin to shift from emergency responses to longer-term educational recovery, we will use the first half of 2022 to assess our pandemic-related funding to date and refine a strategy for the coming years.  We will also work to support and learn from our current partners, including exploring opportunities for additional funding. We anticipate opening a new cycle of education funding to all applicants in July 2022. Please follow our website and social media for updates.

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 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.


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 1 of 2022, Tinker will consider applications for Democratic Governance and Sustainable Resource Management. We will next invite applications for the Education program in Cycle 2 as outlined here.

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


Cycle 1

Opens January 10

Democratic Governance and Sustainable Resource Management


Cycle 2

Opens July 11

All Programs


For additional information, please reach out to:

Democratic Governance

Sustainable Resource Management

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