Applying for
a grant

Until fur­ther notice, the Foun­da­tion does not accept new fund­ing requests. Please check this web­site reg­u­lar­ly for poten­tial updates. 

How­ev­er, you will find below, for your infor­ma­tion, details of our usu­al types of sup­port and eli­gi­bil­i­ty cri­te­ria, as well as our stan­dard sub­mis­sion, selec­tion and grant­i­ng pro­ce­dures. 


To pro­mote a healthy, con­struc­tive, and safe pub­lic debate, our grant­mak­ing activ­i­ties are struc­tured into two pri­or­i­ty pro­grams: pub­lic inter­est jour­nal­ism and healthy dig­i­tal pub­lic space. Through our excep­tion­al engage­ment pro­gram, we also occa­sion­al­ly sup­port the work of out­stand­ing indi­vid­u­als who demon­strate an extra­or­di­nary com­mit­ment to pub­lic inter­est.

With­in our two pri­or­i­ty pro­grams, we fund and sup­port both estab­lished non-prof­it orga­ni­za­tions and inno­v­a­tive ini­tia­tives, whose com­mon char­ac­ter­is­tics are a focus on sys­temic change, a will­ing­ness to act col­lab­o­ra­tive­ly to strength­en their field of activ­i­ty, and a cer­tain degree of bold­ness in their approach.

Our scope of action is inter­na­tion­al, with an empha­sis on net­work, coali­tion, and field build­ing. We thus favor, when war­rant­ed, mul­ti-year sup­port to offer part­ners the sta­bil­i­ty and con­ti­nu­ity nec­es­sary to become well estab­lished in their ecosys­tem, cre­ate fruit­ful col­lab­o­ra­tions, and reach last­ing impact.

Con­vinced that the chal­lenges of our fast chang­ing and com­plex times require join­ing forces from the donors’ com­mu­ni­ty as well, we priv­i­lege col­lec­tive invest­ments with oth­er foun­da­tions, through co-financ­ing and match­ing grants. Going a step fur­ther, the Foun­da­tion is increas­ing­ly mov­ing away from mak­ing itself deci­sions about fund­ing spe­cif­ic projects to del­e­gat­ing such deci­sions to pooled funds or donor coali­tions, whose gov­ern­ing bod­ies are com­posed of pro­fes­sion­als of the sec­tor, bet­ter qual­i­fied to make informed choic­es.

Types of support

We sup­port the fun­da­men­tal role of civ­il soci­ety and inde­pen­dent media orga­ni­za­tions in safe­guard­ing and revi­tal­iz­ing pub­lic debate. We pro­vide dif­fer­ent types and sizes of fund­ing, depend­ing on the needs. This includes:

  • Net­work­ing, coali­tion, and field build­ing sup­port
  • Gen­er­al oper­at­ing support/flexible core fund­ing
  • Orga­ni­za­tion­al capac­i­ty build­ing sup­port
  • Pro­gram or project sup­port
  • Man­age­ment and tech­ni­cal assis­tance sup­port

To give grantees greater vis­i­bil­i­ty and sta­bil­i­ty, we favor co-financ­ing and mul­ti-annu­al sup­port when war­rant­ed. We are open to the use of var­i­ous grant­i­ng instru­ments: seed fund­ing, bridge fund­ing, match­ing grants, with a strong incli­na­tion for pooled funds.

In addi­tion to finan­cial sup­port, we strive to pro­vide non-mon­e­tary con­tri­bu­tion as well, by act­ing as a pos­i­tive crit­i­cal part­ner and con­nect­ing grantees to our net­work when need­ed.

Eligibility and funding restrictions

The Foun­da­tion awards grants pri­mar­i­ly to inde­pen­dent non­prof­it orga­ni­za­tions, asso­ci­a­tions, or foun­da­tions.

The Foun­da­tion does not fund the fol­low­ing:

  • Indi­vid­u­als for any pur­pose (schol­ar­ship, per­son­al project, etc.);
  • Indi­vid­ual news­rooms or media out­lets, very rare excep­tions being inde­pen­dent ref­er­ence watch­dog pub­li­ca­tions or dif­fu­sion plat­forms of niche con­tent, focused on under-cov­ered spe­cif­ic pub­lic inter­est issues of inter­na­tion­al reach and pro­mot­ing good gov­er­nance, trans­paren­cy, and account­abil­i­ty;
  • Pro­pos­als that are pure­ly aca­d­e­m­ic and research focused;
  • Com­mu­ni­ca­tion, mar­ket­ing, or fundrais­ing cam­paigns;
  • Fes­ti­vals, exhi­bi­tions, or oth­er pub­lic events;
  • The devel­op­ment of new tech­nolo­gies.

selection, and
grant processes

Application process

Our appli­ca­tion process con­sists of two phas­es:

1. Ini­tial inquiry: Eli­gi­ble orga­ni­za­tions are invit­ed to sub­mit via our online inquiry form or by email a let­ter of inquiry or con­cept note of 2–4 pages, briefly pre­sent­ing the orga­ni­za­tion and out­lin­ing its project, what it expects to achieve and how it plans to mea­sure its impact, togeth­er with a detailed bud­get, includ­ing secured and pend­ing fund­ing sources. These doc­u­ments are reviewed inter­nal­ly to deter­mine whether the project falls with­in our areas of focus and fund­ing pri­or­i­ties and eval­u­ate the organization’s imple­men­ta­tion capac­i­ty. Appli­cants will gen­er­al­ly hear back from the Foun­da­tion with­in six weeks after the ini­tial request has been received.

2. Full appli­ca­tion: If the out­come of the ini­tial review is pos­i­tive, orga­ni­za­tions are invit­ed to sub­mit a full pro­pos­al, in which ele­ments of the con­cept note are addressed in greater details. The full appli­ca­tion is reviewed inter­nal­ly and with the help of exter­nal experts, if need­ed. If the out­come of this assess­ment is again pos­i­tive, the fund­ing request is sub­mit­ted to the Board of the Foun­da­tion for final approval.

Appli­ca­tions can be sub­mit­ted through­out the year with no spe­cif­ic dead­line and can be writ­ten in French or Eng­lish.

Board’s selection process

The Foun­da­tion strives to put its lim­it­ed resources to use as effi­cient­ly as pos­si­ble, for max­i­mum impact. Projects sub­mit­ted to the Board are there­fore in com­pe­ti­tion with each oth­er, with the com­par­a­tive costs and poten­tial ben­e­fits of pro­posed inter­ven­tions being impor­tant fac­tors in the Board’s deci­sion process.

Thus, regard­less of the vol­ume of cor­re­spon­dence exchanged or the dura­tion of the review stage, the Foundation’s Sec­re­tari­at is nev­er in a posi­tion to guar­an­tee a pos­i­tive out­come, as it is always the Board that makes the final deci­sion.

The Foundation’s Board meets four times a year to review short-list­ed grant requests. Dates of Board meet­ings are not made pub­lic.

Awarded grants

With­in a month fol­low­ing the Board’s deci­sion to award a grant, the recip­i­ent will receive a part­ner­ship agree­ment out­lin­ing the Foundation’s nar­ra­tive and finan­cial report­ing require­ments. No trans­fer of funds will be made until both par­ties have signed the agree­ment.

Grants are gen­er­al­ly paid in install­ments. Details of the expect­ed pay­ment sched­ule will be includ­ed in the part­ner­ship agree­ment, sub­ject to the recipient’s com­pli­ance with report­ing require­ments and sat­is­fac­to­ry project progress.

Monitoring and evaluation

Dur­ing part­ner­ship, we care­ful­ly mon­i­tor and eval­u­ate project pro­gress­es, based on the objec­tives and devel­op­ment pri­or­i­ties agreed upon dur­ing the appli­ca­tion process.

Rec­og­niz­ing that chang­ing cir­cum­stances dur­ing grant peri­od may call for amend­ments, we strive to always remain open to dis­cus­sion and flex­i­ble. In return, we ask for trans­par­ent infor­ma­tion about progress, the emer­gence of new oppor­tu­ni­ties or unex­pect­ed dif­fi­cul­ties, and the planned adjust­ments.

At the end of the grant, in the final report, we pay par­tic­u­lar atten­tion to the lessons learned by our part­ners, the options they believe should be pur­sued and devel­oped, and their assess­ment of how they could improve the over­all effec­tive­ness of their work.


If you are con­sid­er­ing sub­mit­ting an appli­ca­tion, please care­ful­ly review our pro­grams and Apply­ing for a Grant page, as well as the fol­low­ing FAQs which pro­vide answers to com­mon ques­tions about our fund­ing areas, types of grants, grant­mak­ing process, and dead­lines. For any oth­er ques­tions or inquiries, please con­tact us here.

What does the Isocrates Foundation support?

Guid­ed by its Statutes and mis­sion, the Foun­da­tion focus­es on pro­tect­ing and pro­mot­ing pub­lic debate. To do so, it has estab­lished spe­cif­ic pro­gram areas, with each its spe­cif­ic approach and fund­ing pri­or­i­ties.

How do I know whether my project/organization may qualify for a grant?

To deter­mine whether your project/organization may qual­i­fy for a grant, we strong­ly rec­om­mend that you first care­ful­ly read about our pro­grams and Apply­ing for a Grant page, in par­tic­u­lar our fund­ing pri­or­i­ties, eli­gi­bil­i­ty cri­te­ria and fund­ing restric­tions sec­tions. Before sub­mit­ting a let­ter of inquiry, we also encour­age you to review the present FAQs.

Do you make grants to individuals?

No, the Foun­da­tion does not make grants to indi­vid­u­als for any pur­pose (schol­ar­ship, per­son­al or pro­fes­sion­al project, etc.), even if match­ing our inter­ests and areas of inter­ven­tion.  

Can I contact or visit the Foundation to discuss my organization or project idea?

This web­site pro­vides all the infor­ma­tion you need to com­plete the first steps of the appli­ca­tion process. We there­fore kind­ly ask you to refrain from call­ing or vis­it­ing the Foun­da­tion’s offices. Vis­its to the Foun­da­tion are rarely nec­es­sary and only at our request.

How/where should I send my application?

For new appli­cants, we strong­ly pre­fer to receive the ini­tial appli­ca­tion and rel­e­vant attach­ments elec­tron­i­cal­ly through our online inquiry form. Pre­vi­ous grantees may also use this por­tal or email their inquiry letter/concept note to There is no need to mail us a hard copy.

In what language should I write my application?

The work­ing lan­guages of the Foun­da­tion are Eng­lish and French.

Does the Foundation have application deadlines?

Appli­ca­tions are reviewed through­out the year, with no spe­cif­ic dead­line.

What is the Foundation’s typical grant size? How much funding can I apply for?

There is no spec­i­fied grant size: the Foun­da­tion deter­mines the size of the grant based on the needs, qual­i­ty, and spe­cif­ic nature of each project.

What is the typical duration of the Foundation’s grants?

The grant dura­tion depends on the nature and the scope of the project, but typ­i­cal­ly ranges from 1 to 3 years. Depend­ing on the progress of the project and the qual­i­ty of the col­lab­o­ra­tion, a grant renew­al may be con­sid­ered through a new fund­ing appli­ca­tion.

Does the Foundation provide overhead/indirect costs?

With a focus on field devel­op­ment and sys­tem change, the Foun­da­tion is well aware of the need for over­head, gen­er­al oper­a­tional sup­port, and flex­i­ble core fund­ing to build strong and resilient actors in its areas of inter­ven­tion. We there­fore pro­vide these types of sup­port when war­rant­ed.

Does the Foundation require co-funding in grant applications?

Yes, we do ask for co-fund­ing because work­ing in col­lab­o­ra­tion with oth­er foun­da­tions has many advan­tages for all par­ties involved. Not only does it increase the impact of our con­tri­bu­tion, but it also reduces the recip­i­en­t’s depen­dence on us or oth­er fun­ders. It also lends weight and sus­tain­abil­i­ty to a par­tic­u­lar ini­tia­tive, con­tributes to the devel­op­ment of a shared vision and com­mon agen­da on the issues addressed by the con­cerned grantee and all fun­ders, as well as fos­ters the devel­op­ment and shar­ing of knowl­edge, while remain­ing true to the lessons learned in the field.

Does the Foundation contact third parties as part of its review process?

Yes, the Foun­da­tion reserves the right to con­tact third par­ties for their opin­ion or assess­ment of any ini­tial appli­ca­tion or full project pro­pos­al it receives.

How and when will I know if my initial inquiry has been selected for further review or declined?

With­in 6 weeks, you will be noti­fied by email if your let­ter of inquiry/concept note has been select­ed for fur­ther con­sid­er­a­tion. If so, you will be invit­ed to sub­mit a full appli­ca­tion, the details of which will be com­mu­ni­cat­ed to you. If, how­ev­er, the Foun­da­tion con­cludes after review­ing your ini­tial inquiry appli­ca­tion that your project is not eli­gi­ble for fund­ing, we are unfor­tu­nate­ly unable to pro­vide you with detailed, per­son­al­ized infor­ma­tion about the rea­sons for this rejec­tion. How­ev­er, to the extent pos­si­ble, we will do our best to briefly explain why your grant request was not suc­cess­ful.

I applied 6 weeks ago but have not heard back yet. What can I do?

If you have not heard from us with­in six weeks, please do not hes­i­tate to email us to request infor­ma­tion on the sta­tus of your appli­ca­tion.

My project falls within the Foundation’s areas of focus. So why was my initial inquiry unsuccessful?

The Foun­da­tion strives to use its lim­it­ed resources as effi­cient­ly as pos­si­ble, for max­i­mum impact. Giv­en the large num­ber of appli­ca­tions, the Foun­da­tion’s deci­sion to con­sid­er a project for fur­ther review is based on its com­par­a­tive qual­i­ties, costs and expect­ed impact over oth­er appli­ca­tions we receive, even when it aligns with our goals and require­ments. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, we are often faced with dif­fi­cult choic­es.

My initial request has been selected for further review. What happens next?

We will invite you to sub­mit a full project pro­pos­al and we will pro­vide you with all the infor­ma­tion nec­es­sary to com­plete this sec­ond step of the process. Please note that an invi­ta­tion to sub­mit a full project pro­pos­al does not indi­cate any inten­tion or com­mit­ment to award a grant.  After fur­ther review, the Sec­re­tari­at sub­mits a short­list of projects to the Foundation’s Board, which always makes the final deci­sion to award a grant.

How often does the Board meet? When will the next Board meeting take place?

The Board of the Foun­da­tion meets four times a year to review short-list­ed grant requests. Dates of Board meet­ings are not made pub­lic.

Why did the Board reject my grant request after several months of review by the Secretariat? Is feedback available for a declined application by the Board?

We receive a large num­ber of qual­i­ty appli­ca­tions. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, due to lim­it­ed funds, not all pro­pos­als select­ed by the Sec­re­tari­at and pre­sent­ed to the Board receive fund­ing. There­fore, no mat­ter how many emails are exchanged with appli­cants or how long the review phase lasts, the Sec­re­tari­at is nev­er able to guar­an­tee a pos­i­tive out­come before the final deci­sion of the Board. If your appli­ca­tion is reject­ed at this final stage, how­ev­er, we will do our best to pro­vide you with con­struc­tive feed­back on the Board­’s deci­sion.

My project has been approved by the Board for funding. What happens next?

With­in one month of the Board’s deci­sion to award you a grant, you will receive a part­ner­ship agree­ment out­lin­ing the Foun­da­tion’s nar­ra­tive and finan­cial report­ing require­ments. No trans­fer of funds will be made until both par­ties have signed the agree­ment. Grants are gen­er­al­ly paid in install­ments. Details of the pay­ment sched­ule will be includ­ed in the part­ner­ship agree­ment, sub­ject to the recip­i­en­t’s com­pli­ance with report­ing require­ments and sat­is­fac­to­ry project progress.

My grant is coming to an end, can I request a renewal?

Yes, the Foun­da­tion may con­sid­er renew­ing its sup­port if the part­ner­ship has been sat­is­fac­to­ry to both par­ties and if the new objec­tives remain aligned. The appli­ca­tion process for renew­al is the same as for an ini­tial grant.