The Manuel Rivera-Ortiz Foundation is run by President and Founder Manuel Rivera-Ortiz himself. As a photographer from the shantytowns of Peurto Rico, his focus has always been on documenting the living conditions and social issues of underdeveloped countries. The foundation he started in 2010 is meant to support other photographers and filmmakers who are pursuing similar goals. The foundation awards $5,000 grants to short films and documentaries as well as $5,000 photography grants to work that documents "pressing social issues" such as poverty, oppression, war, famine, and religious and political persecution.
The Manuel Rivera-Ortiz Film Grants are given to "stand-alone" short documentary films of 10-20 minutes in length that focus on humanitarian themes. The Foundation's mission is to "support photo and film reportage as a catalyst for change and social justice in communities where needs are most pressing," so the focus is very much on social issues in less developed countries across the globe. They want to bring attention to the communities and issues that the "breaking news" media tends to forget about.
The Manuel Rivera-Ortiz Photography Grants are given along very much the same lines. Since Rivera-Ortiz is a photographer himself, they take these grants quite seriously and want to highlight the best work that's bringing attention to global human unrest, forgotten communities, and over-exploited cultures and environments.
Since the foundation has only been active since 2010 there have only been a handful of grants given out so far, but you can view recent finalist proposals and portfolios here. The Manuel Rivera-Ortiz Foundation has the potential for being a real force for change in the coming years since making a real difference in the world is indeed one of their core values. They want to inspire photographers and filmmakers to engage with the darker corners of the world and bring to light stories that may not have otherwise been seen or heard. There's really no greater calling for those interested in these issues.