• Democracy and Governance
  • Economic and Social Justice
  • Human Rights, Rule of Law and Access to Justice
  • Natural Resource Governance
  • Women’s Rights
  • Youth, Arts and Culture

OSISA provides the following types of Grants:

  • General (Core) Support
  • Project Support
  • Capacity Building
  • Seed Grants
  • Unrestricted funding intended to advance organizations whose goals are shared by OSISA
  • Given to the organization as a whole, rather than to particular projects or programs

Project Support is restricted funding used to support specific programmatic activities with explicit objectives, clear outputs, outcomes, timeline and predetermined costs.

  • An organization’s direct programmatic activities and associated overhead costs (e.g. general operating costs incurred related to rent, utilities, administrative or executive staff, operating systems, etc.)
  • Supports an organization’s efforts to improve its effectiveness by strengthening skills or knowledge, or acquiring specific resources
  • Awarded to cover specific needs  such as
    • Strategic planning,
    • Leadership or staff development,

May be awarded to start or establish a new program, project or organization, or to spin-off an existing project or program

Seed grants can fund:

  • Research
  • Needs assessment
  • Program planning
  • Reactive
  • Proactive
  • Collaborative
  • Developed in response to requests for proposals.
  • OSISA issues open calls for proposals whose work is in line with the broader OSISA grant making mission and philosophy.
  • Proposals for reactive grants are solicited through open calls.
  • OSISA identifies, through its Proactive Grant Program, critical and innovative approaches to leverage the foundation’s funding to advance open society ideals.

Collaboration in OSISA funding takes place in three forms:

  1. Internally, between programs and clusters
  2. With other OSF networks
  3. With external partners


  • Grants for organisations, programmes or projects that are not aligned with Open Society values;
  • Grants for organisations, programmes or projects that are outside of our broad strategic goals and clusters and programme focus areas;

OSISA issues three open calls a year in March, June and September
These calls are administered through:

  • Learn about our funding: by reviewing our 2017 - 2020 strategy and various programme areas  - available on OSISA website
  1. Name of organisation applying for funding
  2. Title of the proposed project
  3. Contact details of the relevant person
  4. Brief description of project (150 words)
  5. Rationale for the project (150 words)
  • You can apply for funding from $5,000 up to a maximum of $250,000
  • Applications for up to $25,000 are approved by the Executive Director
  • Applications between $25,001 and $50,000 are approved by the OSISA Board Chair
  • Overall goal of the proposed project
  • Detailed budget 
  • Project plan and timelines
  • Skills of the people involved in implementing the project
  • Role of the Board of Directors in your organisation
  • Financial health of your organisation 

You may apply once to a range of clusters and projects even if you have received a grant in a given year.

  • We try to review proposals as promptly as possible.
  • Proposal are reviewed during the dates posted on the website. No proposals will be reviewed outside these windows.
  • Program team of each Cluster constitutes the Preliminary Appraisers
  • Each proposal is evaluated and decision whether to recommend funding support or not is made
  • The evaluated proposals are then forwarded to the Proposal Review Committee

Proposal reviewers consist of the following:

  • The program staff write-up a proposal analysis highlighting critical components of the proposal and gives rationale for recommending funding.
  • For proposals that need Board Approval:
  • The entire program and support staff meet in a meeting to review proposals assigned for Board approval and analyse the details of each proposal and make recommendations to the Board.
  • For Board Approval:
    • The final proposal review and decision making takes place in a meeting attended by the Board and all relevant program staff.
  • For Board Chairperson and Executive Director

A formal reject letter is sent to advice the applicant about rejected proposal.

  1. OSISA program staff notify applicant
  2. Grant Agreement is generated and sent
  3. Grant Agreement is countersigned and sent with project plan
  4. Payment Request made
  5. Grant payment


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