How We Make Grants

Who do we fund?

The Foundation supports organisations that:

  1. Are, or have the potential to be, important players in their field.
  2. Have, or are developing, a clear sense of purpose, direction and strategy that links clearly and legitimately to a constituency or target group.
  3. Are well-managed and accountable.
  4. Show commitment to development and learning, including that of its staff.
  5. Align with the Asfari Foundation’s values, approach, and target themes.
  6. Seek a transparent and active partnership with the foundation, including sharing learning and insights.
  7. Take new and innovative approaches to programming; and system-wide approaches to tackling challenges in the area of focus.

Strategic themes

The individual grant programmes offered by AF are set out below.

Civil Society Programme (CSP)

  1. The CSP invests in the organisational development (OD) of civil society organisations (CSO) to increase their resilience and capabilities. This approach will improve the chances for these actors to continue to operate, retain their assets – including human resources – between projects, become professional and certified to the point where they can access funds from a diverse spectrum of donors, and engage with their target communities in a sustainable and impactful way.
  2. The programme focuses on the following themes: independent media, governance and citizenship. Our support to them extends beyond financial support, ensuring that they become part of the AF network, and are offered opportunities to exchange learning with other CSOs, regional and global partners, and collaborate and complement the efforts of others.

Youth Empowerment Programme (YEP)

  1. Promotes entrepreneurship skills as key skills of the future, supporting youth seeking economic opportunities in the region with access to non-traditional learning and entrepreneurship programming to create alternative pathways to economic independence. The programme addresses the issue of limited access to entrepreneurship programming outside major cities and to groups of youth who are not familiar with the concept or were excluded previously, and develops innovative solutions to some of the pressing social issues faced by youth and their communities in the region in an income generating approach and taking these solutions to scale.
  2. The Foundation will pilot this in 2020 through an ‘Asfari Challenge for Social Innovations’ inviting young would-be entrepreneurs to offer up concepts for for-profit enterprises designed to ‘solve’ a particular set of social challenges faced across our region. These challenges will be drawn from the findings of the Carnegie Middle East Centre’s ‘Arab Horizons’ Reports, funded by the Foundation over recent years.
  3. In 2020 the programme will be piloted with young entrepreneurs in Lebanon.

Applying for funding

The Foundation invites applications for funding once a year, usually in January. Under our strategy for 2018-2022 (here), we now offer grants for up to three-years.

We announce the annual call for concept notes on our website (and email it to our subscribers). The call announcement specifies the details of the call, including eligibility and application criteria, and outlines the Foundation’s application and selection processes.

Eligibility and application criteria vary from year to year, so please keep an eye on our website or subscribe to our mailing list for updated information closer to the announcement date.

To review eligibility and application documents for the 2019 call for concept notes (now closed), click here.

PLEASE NOTE: we are no longer able to accept applications for funding outside of our annual funding call.

The application and partnership process timeline

The timeline below is a rough guide; exact dates will be announced when the funding cycle is launched.


  • Annual Call for Concept Notes announced on news section of Asfari Foundation website


  • Deadline for submission of concept notes


  • All applicants notified via email to confirm whether their concept note has been shortlisted or not
  • Shortlisted applicants are invited to send a full project proposal


  • Deadline for submission of project proposals
  • Shortlisted proposals thoroughly vetted and assessed, including field visits by the Programmes Team


  • Recommendations made to Board of Trustees; funding decisions made
  • Applicants notified of application outcome via email
  • Final reporting requirements agreed with successful applicants; funding agreements drafted and signed by both parties

If you have any questions, please contact our Programmes Team at: