Mai Family Foundation: Grants for Global Development

OVERVIEW: The Mai Family Foundation supports development organizations both in the United States and abroad. It largely focuses on poverty alleviation and social entrepreneurship.

IP TAKE: Mai Foundation is a big funder with a low profile and no paid staff. Grantseekers will have to do some extra work in order to attract this foundation's funding attentions. 

PROFILE: Established in 1996, the Mai Family Foundation was founded by South African businessman Vincent Mai, who is also the founder and chairman of the private equity firm Cranemere, Inc. The foundation supports development organizations both in the United States and abroad. It prioritizes poverty alleviation and social entrepreneurship in its giving. As occurs with grantmaking organizations that do not maintain a web presence and have a nearly non-existent public profile, further information is hard to come by.

Even the foundation’s most recent and past tax filings do not offer much useful data on which global development programs and projects Mai supports. However, Mai makes grants, while also offering program-related investments (PRIs). It only awards PRIs but every few years; however, the PRIs it does make are often substantial, generally hitting the $1 million mark.

Mai's grantmaking is a bit more widespread than its PRIs, with around 50 to 75 grants awarded each year. Award amounts typically range from $10,000 to $100,000. A handful range from $150,000 to $350,000.

Mai certainly offers rather generous support to its grantees, but it does not accept unsolicited grant proposals or requests for funding. While it awards multi-year grants to several grantees, it appears to support new organizations as well. It just may take newer applicants a little more time and effort to get noticed and funded.


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The Mai Family Foundation
c/o Cranemere
135 E. 57th Street, 31st Floor
New York, New York 10022