Summit Foundation: Grants for Global Development

OVERVIEW: Summit’s global development largely supports adolescent sexual and reproductive health rights (SRHR) of girls living in the foundation’s regional areas of grantmaking interest.

IP TAKE: Summit does not accept unsolicited inquiries, so grantseekers may want to consider linking their adolescent SRHR work to other interrelated gender equality issues that are particularly pervasive in Summit’s grantmaking focus in order to attract its attention.

PROFILE: Summit Foundation co-founder Roger Sant is a billionaire who has served as a former Regent of the Smithsonian Institution, director of the Energy Productivity Center, and assistant administrator for Energy Conservation and the Environment at the Federal Energy Administration. Established in 1991, the Summit Foundation seeks to "promote the health and well–being of the planet – its people and its natural environment – by focusing on three program areas: empowering girls; conserving the Mesoamerican Reef; and sustainable cities.

While Summit funds environmental work, it prioritizes the rights of adolescent girls “because it is right and by the evidence: Economies will grow, poverty rates will decline, health indicators of women and children will improve and the environment will benefit.” Its Empowering Girls program advances the sexual reproductive health rights of adolescent girls living in Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, Quintana Roo, and Mexico. Summit also supports adolescent SRHR organizations in Latin America and the United States. In this area, it funds global development projects that create access healthcare services, age-appropriate sex ed classes, promote sex positive messages about teen sexuality and reproductive health, and offer support to teen parents.

A deep supporter of equality, Summit also pays funding attention to gender equality. It does so by supporting global efforts to end child marriage, and seeks projects that help girls continue their educations, eliminate gender discrimination, and provide access to economic opportunities. Despite it's name, the Empowering Girls program seeks to empower all young people in its geographic priority regions. However, the foundation funds strategies that have the most impact on girls. 

Summit's grants through Empowering range from $50,000 to $200,000. Several large INGOs occupy Summit's grantee list, but several grassroots groups appear on its lists as well. Unfortunately, Summit is not particularly transparent as it restricts its website to a single page offering a few descriptions. Summit does not accept unsolicited LOIs or proposals.

PEOPLE: 

  • Jeanne Bistranin, Executive Director
  • Kathy Hall, Senior Program Officer, Empowering Girls
  • Megan Nuttelman, Program Officer

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