The Ford Foundation Grant Program: Andean Region and Southern Cone

The Andean Region and the Southern Cone of Latin America are rich in geographic, demographic, economic, political and cultural diversity. This diversity presents opportunities and challenges for the work the Ford Foundation has been doing in the region since 1960.

Located in Santiago, Chile, our office supports innovative individuals and institutions working to improve people's lives in Chile, Peru, Argentina and Colombia. We also periodically support regionally focused efforts that originate from other Latin American countries.

Support for Social Change
The Ford Foundation's mission is to strengthen democratic values, reduce poverty and injustice, promote international cooperation and advance human achievement.

Guided by these principles, our grants in this region support an array of civil society organizations, often working in coordination with governmental agencies, to build education and knowledge, to foster citizen participation in economic and political life, to consolidate human rights and the rule of law and to build the capacity of public institutions to respond to societal needs. In 2008, we provided more than $11.5 million in grants to the region.

We make grants to develop new ideas and strengthen organizations that reduce poverty and injustice and promote democratic values, international cooperation and human achievement. To achieve these goals, we take varied approaches to our work, including supporting emerging leaders; working with social justice movements and networks; sponsoring research and dialogue; creating new organizations; and supporting innovations that improve lives. These methods of problem-solving reflect our values and the diverse ways in which we support grantees.

They also describe a model of philanthropy that the foundation has pursued for more than 70 years: to be a long-term and flexible partner for innovative leaders of thought and action. Lasting change in difficult areas, such as the reduction of poverty, protection of human rights and establishment of democratic governance after a dictatorship, requires decades of effort. It involves sustained work with successive generations of innovators, thinkers and activists as they pursue transformational and ambitious goals.

Our mission is broad, and we carefully target how our grants can be used most effectively. Once the foundation decides to work in a substantive or geographic area, our program staff consults with practitioners, researchers, policymakers and others to identify initiatives that might contribute to progress. We explore specific work grantees might undertake, benchmarks for change and costs. A program officer conducts this analysis, then presents the ideas in a memorandum reviewed by peers, a supervisor and at least two foundation officers. When it is approved, the program officer begins to make grants within the parameters of the approved memorandum and a two-year budget allocation. Staff members regularly provide reports to the board about grants made and ongoing lines of work. Through the foundation's Web site and publications, the public learns of program initiatives and emerging areas of interest.

If you feel that your project is compatible with the scope and strategy of our work, you may submit an initial inquiry using the form in Step 4 of this process. The form seeks basic information about your organization and your request.

Our Grant-Making Process
If your submission falls within our general areas of interest, your inquiry will be numbered and a confirmation letter will be sent to you. Each numbered inquiry is reviewed by the relevant program officer. The program officer looks for new ideas and effective organizations that can help advance work in a particular area, as well as for evidence that the people and organizations are likely to succeed in their project and work well with others. The foundation supports pluralism and equal opportunity in its grant making and in its internal policies. Opportunities that prospective grantee organizations provide for women and other disadvantaged groups are considered in evaluating proposals.

Our funds are limited in relation to the large number of worthwhile inquiries we receive. In a typical year, less than 3 percent of inquiries made to the Ford Foundation result in a grant. If our review of the initial inquiry is favorable, you will be contacted to discuss your ideas in greater detail with the relevant program officer to help shape a full proposal.

Applications are considered throughout the year. Normally applicants may expect to receive within six weeks an indication of whether their proposals are within the foundation's program interests and budget limitations. If the proposal is being considered for a grant, the approval process—which includes meetings, site visits, grant negotiations, administrative and legal review and presentation of the grant for approval—is generally completed within three months but can take longer depending on the complexity of the project.

Activities supported by grants and program-related investments must be charitable, educational or scientific, as defined under the appropriate provisions of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code and Treasury Regulations. In addition to ensuring appropriate use of our grant funds, we have extensive procedures for making and monitoring grants.

If a grant is approved, the first payment from the foundation usually arrives within a few weeks, according to the negotiated schedule of payments.

What We Don't Fund
We do not award undergraduate scholarships or make grants for personal needs or business assistance. Other areas frequently inquired about, but not funded, include health care, vehicle purchase, student loan repayment and scientific inventions. Except for limited grant making through our Good Neighbor Committee to institutions located near the foundation's offices, we also do not generally support after-school programs, athletic leagues, orphanages or elder care.

If you have general questions about our grant making, please contact our Andean Region and Southern Cone office at:

For further information please visit: