Mulago Foundation: Grants for Global Development

OVERVIEW: The Mulago Foundation's funding areas include agriculture, energy, health and primary education to help the rural poor throughout the world. The foundation mainly funds early-stage organizations taking proven solutions to scale and supports both nonprofit and for-profit enterprises. In Mulago's words, it "operates like a philanthropic venture fund."

IP TAKE: The foundation is pretty clear that it doesn't accept proposals: "We source through our own network and ask our own questions." So the key here is getting noticed.

PROFILE: The Mulago Foundation was established by Henry Arnhold to honor his late brother Rainer, who practiced medicine in San Francisco while also working abroad in impoverished regions. Mulago operates in San Francisco with a small, but dedicated staff. The foundation seeks to "tackle the basic needs of the very poor." Because of its emphasis on impact, Mulago has minimal paperwork requirements and provides "unrestricted money to organizations that have a scalable solution and a demonstrable ability to deliver."

Mulago prioritizes giving in six areas:

  • Livelihoods - supports smallholder farmers.
  • Health - concentrates “primary healthcare and behavior change.”
  • Conservation - supports conservation groups whose work benefits the poor.
  • Energy - seeks clean energy projects as they relate to cooking, lighting and power.
  • Education - largely supports primary education efforts.
  • Amplifiers - solutions to rendering organizations more effective. 

Mulago also runs a Fellows program, which supports social entrepreneurs. Due to the limited size of its staff, Mulago does not accept proposals. Instead, it "taps a deep network to find the organizations that are a good fit." 


  • Search for staff contact info and bios in PeopleFinder (paid subscribers only.)