Mosaic Foundation: Grants for Global Development

OVERVIEW: The Mosaic Foundation’s global development grantmaking heavily focuses on improving food security in developing countries by helping smallholder farmers increase crop yields through the sustainable and efficient management of their land.

IP TAKE: There are plenty of agro funders in the global development space. However, Mosaic is one of the very few that accepts unsolicited applications. This makes it a great resource for smaller organizations fighting to get agriculture-related grant money. Potential grantees should note that Mosaic’s agro support exclusively benefits smallholder farmers.

PROFILE: Based in Minnesota, the Mosaic Foundation is the philanthropic arm of Mosaic, a fertilizer company. The Mosaic company was created through a merger between IMC Global and Cargill Inc.’s crop nutrition division. Mosaic then agreed to repurchase over 43 million Class A shares held by the Margaret Cargill Foundation. The proceeds from the repurchase funded the Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropies, which includes three organizations: Margaret Cargill Foundation, Akaloa Resource Foundation, and the Ann Ray Charitable Trust. Mosaic's grantmaking prioritizes food, water, local community, disaster relief, and in-kind donations. Mosaic ultimately seeks to help “the world grow the food it needs.”

The foundation’s Community Investments program has two areas of global development grantmaking focus: food security and water stewardship. Mosaic emphasizes food security and smallholder farmers. It awards grants to organizations that address international agriculture development programs geared toward smallholder farmers in developing countries; agricultural research programs that focus on sustainably increasing the capacity for farmers; and food system development. In the food systems development space, Mosaic limits its grantmaking to organizations that work in the communities in which the Mosaic company operates. 

Its water stewardship program predominately focuses on conservation, ecosystem management, and watershed restoration. Mosaic, the company, is in the business of mining potash and phosphate for fertilizer, which is water intensive. With the world’s freshwater resources declining, the foundation directs grants toward conserving habitats and watersheds where the company operates.

The foundation also operates the Mosaic Villages Project, which is intended to aid smallholder farmers increase crop yields not only for food security, but also to help lift themselves out of poverty. Mosaic currently operates village projects in India, Guatemala, and Africa. Although the Mosaic Villages Projects have a strong agricultural bent, it also supports other global development issues such as water and sanitation, and education.

Grantseekers should note that while disaster response and relief are not a major focus area, Mosaic occasionally supports emergency response efforts.

Global development-related grants from the Mosaic Foundation tend to range from $50,000 to $100,000. Mosaic does accept unsolicited applications on a rolling basis and typically has around six application deadlines throughout the year.

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