Children's Investment Fund Foundation: Grants for Development

OVERVIEW: The Children's Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF) was founded by hedge fund billionaire Christopher Hohn and Jamie Cooper. CIFF works to support vulnerable children in developing countries. Key areas of work include neonatal survival, HIV transmission, malnutrition, and deworming.

IP TAKE: Projects with the capacity to deliver large-scale impact driven by measurable evidence and data are crucial here. 

PROFILE:  Established in 2004 by co-founders Chris Hohn and Jamie Cooper, the Children's Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF) seeks to "improve the lives of children living in poverty in developing countries through strategies that have lasting impact." Headquartered in London, with offices in Nairobi and New Delhi, this funder is one of the largest in the United Kingdom.

Using a rigorous business approach to philanthropic funding, the foundation heavily supports treatment and care for pediatric AIDS in developing countries. As a result of its support in this area of global development, the CIFF has helped to shape the market for children’s antiretroviral medications, a long neglected area in children’s health. The result helped reduce the wide disparity between AIDS treatment offered to adults and children.  

CIFF emphasizes "quality data and evidence," and as a result, before making an investment and throughout the grant process, "CIFF works with partners to measure and evaluate progress to achieve large scale and sustainable impact." The foundation often looks to support organizations that have the potential to catalyze change for children in market areas that are either neglected or largely uncrowded.

CIFF focuses on six main funding priorities in developing countries: 

  • Nutrition. Awards organizations that address undernutrition, stunting reduction and innovative solutions to both issues.
  • Health. Focuses on diarrhea, pneumonia, malaria, improving prenatal outcomes, adolescent reproductive health, and preventing mother-to-child transmission of HIV/AIDS.
  • Climate Change. Concentrates its grantmaking on "smart urbanization" and "energy sector transformation" mainly in Europe, China, and Latin America.
  • Early Learning. Focuses on early childhood education and also examines the link between severe worm infection and nutritional and cognitive impairment.
  • Humanitarian. Offers “fast and flexible funding,” in emergent situations such as the recent Ebola crisis.
  • Deworming. Focuses on large scale deworming efforts. 

CIFF tends to generously support organizations doing work in all of its priority areas. Grants range from $1 million to $90 million. To get a more concrete idea of the types of projects CIFF funds as well as their size and scope, explore the foundation’s helpful Grant Portfolio tool. Although CIFF has ramped up its giving, it only contributes to pre-selected organizations and states that it does not "normally" accept unsolicited proposals. Grantseekers are advised to delve into this funder's complex and excellent website. 

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