As one of the Commonwealth’s three intergovernmental pillars, the Foundation works to bridge the gap between government and the people. The Foundation strives to include civil society’s voice in all elements of governance, promoting civil society participation in the development of policies and choices that influence people’s lives.
The Foundation’s Strategic Plan 2021-2026 is deeply rooted in the Commonwealth Charter, its values, and aspirations, and it defines three thematic areas of focus, which will be supported through this open grants call.
Who is eligible to apply:
Eligibility for grant funding under this call depends on the following criteria:
1. The applicant is a registered not-for-profit civil society organisation
2. The applicant is registered in an eligible Commonwealth Foundation
member country and the proposed project will be implemented in the
country of registration. Please see a full list of eligible countries at
commonwealthfoundation.com/grants. (Projects can be implemented
in one or more eligible Commonwealth Foundation member countries and can have a national, sub-national, regional or international remit).
In multi-country projects, the Foundation encourages collaboration
with partners in each involved country
3. The applicant has documented experience, over at least two years,
working on participatory governance and advocacy within the proposed
4. The total grant amount requested must be between £15,000 and
£30,000 per year for a maximum of two years.
5. The requested grant amount should not exceed 70% of the applicant
organisation’s total annual income.
6. The average of the applicant organisation’s total annual income over
the past two years must be less than £2m.
7. The project proposal must address at least one of the priority themes
and demonstrate appropriate and meaningful integration of gender
a. The Foundation appreciates that CSOs interested in applying for a grant
may already be doing significant work that falls within the parameters of
this grants call and that would benefit from support for its expansion
and/or continuation. We are therefore happy to consider supporting an
additional component or extension of an existing initiative. This should be
made clear in the application.
b. The Foundation is piloting support for the inclusion of a creative element
into projects funded under this call. This is an optional element to be
funded separately (up to 15% of the total grant awarded).
Priority Themes Of the Program
The Foundation is currently focussing its work on three priority themes: (i)
health; (ii) environment and climate change; and (iii) freedom of expression.
We support initiatives that encourage and lead to meaningful and constructive engagement between civil society and government around policy
and decision-making relevant to these three themes.
Applications must address one or more of the three priority themes.
The Foundation understands that organisational capacity development is a
priority for many CSOs who may be interested in seeking project funding
through this call. We are committed to supporting organisations to build their
capacity to function effectively. To that end, successful grantees will be
invited to propose capacity development initiatives costed up to 5% of the
total project budget. These funds can be used to cover organisational needs that are broader than the project but that help to enhance organisational
effectiveness. The Foundation will provide further guidance to successful
grantees who are interested in taking up this option.
The review, shortlisting and approval process
Foundation employees will contact shortlisted applicants before the end of March 2022. These applicants will be asked to supply further information, including a full project budget, in support of their proposal. During that time,
Applicants may also debate and develop any preliminary concepts in order to add a creative element.
a part of the application
Grantees who have been confirmed will be notified by the end of June 2022.
Grant agreements are expected to be signed soon after, allowing
intended implementation to commence in the third quarter of 2022 as soon as possible
The assessment criteria for applications is as follows:
1. The applicant organisation meets all eligibility criteria.
2. The application provides a clear description of the problem that the
applicant is seeking to address.
3. The application provides a clear explanation of how the applicant plans to
address the problem and contribute to its resolution.
4. The application makes a persuasive case for the proposed approach to
the problem. Is the approach timely? Is it relevant? Is it feasible?
5. The applicant organisation demonstrates that it has the capacity to
undertake the project and complete it successfully within the stipulated time.
Monitoring and reporting of projects
Confirmed grantees will be asked to develop a monitoring plan for their
project. The Foundation will provide guidance and support to grantees on
their monitoring plan.
Grantees who are implementing a one-year project will be asked to provide
an end of project narrative report, along with a financial report. Grantees
who are implementing a two-year project will submit a narrative and financial
report at the end of the first year as well as an end-of-project narrative and
financial report. Reporting schedules will be agreed between the grantee and
the Foundation and set out in the grant agreement.
How to apply
Application closes on November 30 2021
Applicants are required to complete an online application form. All
applications must include the following additional documentation:
• A logic model and activity timeline (completed using the template
• A copy of the organisation’s registration certificate1. This should be a
scan of an official registration document provided by the relevant
authorities in the country where the organisation is registered.
• For grants of £15,000 per annum: a copy of the organisation’s most
recent audited accounts or annual accounts. Note that annual accounts
must include a balance sheet, a profit and loss statement and notes
about the account. They must be signed off by the organisation’s
Board or its principal executive officer. Audited or annual accounts
must not be older than December 2019.
• For grants of £15,001 and above: a copy of the organisation’s most
recent audited accounts. Note that audited accounts must include both
the accounts and the opinion of the external auditor who has certified
them. They should not be older than December 2019.