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Program Guidelines: Southeast Asia

Through community building and empowerment, our goal is to strengthen local institutions and initiatives that sustain and improve the livelihoods of the most vulnerable people.

NOTE: McKnight no longer provides direct grantmaking in Cambodia. We have engaged Southeast Asia Development Program (SADP) as our regional grantmaking partner, providing grant support and technical assistance to organizations operating in Cambodia. For all proposal inquiries, please contact SADP .

In this work, we employ three strategies to protect and strengthen local livelihoods:

  • We support efforts to increase self-determination for indigenous and ethnic minority communities.
  • We support efforts to increase community resource rights related to rural land, forests, rivers and coastal resources, as well as — in some cases — urban housing and other resources.
  • We support balanced approaches toward better management of natural resources in ways that support both local communities and biodiversity conservation.
Initiatives that are comprehensive and employ more than one of McKnight’s strategies are of particular interest. The program also considers emerging or innovative initiatives with potential to advance our program goals, including projects that focus on inclusive and sustainable energy solutions that support McKnight’s strategies to protect and strengthen local livelihoods. Support may be given to targeted policy or advocacy projects that are directly rooted in the challenges, opportunities, and threats facing marginalized
people and communities. Organizations must have a keen understanding of relevant issues through direct work in at least one of our three strategies.

We are especially interested in supporting organizations that:

  • promote indigenous leadership and capacity building within their organizations and communities;
  • are locally based and governed (international NGOs with strong local partnerships working to strengthen local capacities can also be considered);
  • have high standards of governance and financial accountability, and work with local communities in a participatory and accountable manner;
  • work in a collaborative manner with other organizations and initiatives;
  • maximize impact by making use of existing local resources and people, and minimize or exclude out-of-country management or overhead costs (such costs should never exceed seven percent of the request amount);
  • have emerging or innovative approaches with potential for broad impact; and
  • combine McKnight support with other resources or co-funding so that organizations and projects are not overly dependent on our long-term support.
Geographic Focus. To maximize program effectiveness and support collaboration among grantees, most grantmaking focuses on the southern areas of Laos and the provinces that have the highest and most persistent areas of poverty in the central area of Vietnam. McKnight will also consider funding for networking and advocacy programs operating across the Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam region.

NOTE: McKnight’s Southeast Asia grantmaking focus area will use a closed application process in 2017; proposals for funding will be accepted only from selected organizations that are invited by Foundation staff to apply.