Amazon Bioeconomy Small Grant Evaluation Facility


The Amazon Bioeconomy Small Grant Evaluation Facility, ABSGEF,  helps accelerate forest-positive bioeconomies across the Amazon. It improves capillarity between Amazonian bioeconomy stakeholders and circles of philanthropy outside the region. The project is guided by a Program Advisory Council of regionally relevant organizations. NGOs, cooperatives and startup companies are eligible to apply. No money exchanges hands directly through the program and the facility does not fundraise money. Instead, it facilitates direct connections between financiers and potential grantees, with regranting partners when needed.

Proposal submissions are invited quarterly and budget requests may go up to $100,000 USD, with opportunities for more. The application form is short, yet sufficient information is gathered for prospective donors to determine if they want to request additional details.

The Program

Calls for grant proposals are announced through the AIC website, email, social media and a nominator network of Amazonian entrepreneurship ecosystem partners.

Participating donors commit to reviewing the top 3 funding recommendations from the program per quarter. If donors are interested, they have an option to either provide funding directly or to contact grantees and ask for more information. To facilitate transactions, regranters are enrolled as appropriate.

The grant recommendations selected quarterly are approved by the Program Advisory Council (PAC), with a ratio of two grants reserved for proposals coming through the PAC nominator network and one reserved for proposals coming from the general public.

Profiles of startups, cooperatives, and NGOs submitting into the system will be vetted and made visible online as a public directory of Amazonian bioeconomy stakeholders that may be of interest to future donors, investors, corporate buyers and other allies.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Program Advisory Council?

The PAC is a group of organizations dedicated to advancing the bioeconomy of the Amazon region. As an advisory body of the Amazon Investor Coalition, their responsibilities include:

  1. Crafting the selection criteria of the program.
  2. Nominating up to two grantees per quarter.
  3. Reviewing and scoring grant proposals (optional).
  4. Sharing impact metrics.
  5. Shaping each subsequent program cycle of the grant facility.

What is the timeline?

Applications open on September 15, 2023, and will stay open until October 15, 2023. The first newsletter of grantee recommendations will be sent to prospective donors by November 15, 2023.

Which kinds of donors are involved? 

Over 30 donors have agreed to participate in the program, mostly from North America and Europe. They include grantmaking foundations, government agencies, giving circles, and individuals. The grant facility will not fundraise and regrant money. Instead, it seeks to improve capillarity between financiers and potential grantees by connecting them directly. Regranters are enrolled as needed.

Partial list of participating donors and regranters: Avina Foundation, BHP Foundation, Brazil Foundation, MSH Partners, Mulago Foundation, One Small Planet, Open Society Foundations, Overbrook Foundation, Pawanka Fund, Rainforest Foundation US, Rainforest Trust, Re:wild, Swift Foundation.

What size are the grant recommendations?

Up to $100,000 USD, with an option to indicate that the request is part of a larger fundraising goal.

What are the grant selection criteria?

Impact Assessments:

  • Forest and Biodiversity Protection: Does the project effectively prevent deforestation and/or protect biodiversity?  Is it focused on ecologically sensitive areas at risk of deforestation? Does it foster the creation of nature reserves, legal recognition of indigenous territories, or land tenure for forest guardians?
  • Rule of Law/Good Governance: Does the project improve legal compliance? Does it improve transparency, law enforcement, investigative reporting, or awareness of corruption? Does it help journalists, government employees or lawmakers to make informed decisions? 
  • Market Infrastructure and Access: Does the project help to improve bioeconomy or carbon markets? Does it help to connect buyers and sellers?  Does it improve access to data on markets or source communities? Does it reduce transaction costs?  
  • Financial Viability: Does the project have a viable path to financial sustainability? Is it mature enough to succeed? Will it make an efficient use of funds?
  • Ecosystem Restoration: Does the project restore degraded land and/or increase biodiversity? Does it remediate soils or remove carbon from the atmosphere through plant growth? 
  • Community Wellness: Does the project have a positive impact on the health, educational, or economic needs of marginalized communities? 
  • Technology & Innovation: Does the project demonstrate a possible new way of solving problems through new technologies or some other form of innovation? 

Demographic Assessments:

  • Team and Experience: Is the team likely to succeed at executing the project? Do they have relevant experience and high integrity?
  • Gender: Are women well represented in the project leadership? Will the program support women in particular?
  • Traditional Amazonians: Are traditional Amazonians represented in the project leadership? Will the program support traditional Amazonian populations?

What language will the program operate in?

For the first iteration, the ABSGEF program will operate only in English because many of the donors involved do not have Portuguese or Spanish speaking capabilities.

What kinds of support for bioeconomy entrepreneurship have been suggested to date?  

A few of the ideas proposed to date include: 1) Helping to professionalize leadership teams with training and entrepreneurial mentors/advisors, 2) Crafting of impact messaging, niche, and metrics, 3) Guiding market development strategy and innovation, 3) Aiding product design and market fit, 4) Helping financial records management, 5) Assessing business models and viability, 6) Accessing opportunities for scale, 7) Enhancing creditworthiness, 8) Planning for investor exits, and more.

Why is this program valuable for new prospective Amazon forest-friendly donors and the AIC?

Some institutional partners of the AIC have strict non-solicitation policies that prohibit fundraising from their members, a common practice among philanthropic donor affinity groups that want their proceedings to be relational, not transactional. The ABSGEF program creates an opportunity for donors to opt-in to fundraising solicitations through a structured program that permits donors to pick and choose from potential partners anonymously, or otherwise. The program also enrolls locals in processes that endorse new projects and foster collaboration among leading Amazonian bioeconomy entrepreneurs and allies.

How can I learn more?

Funders and potential grantees who are interested in learning more about the program should write to

Which regranters can donors possibly work with?

A wiki of Amazon-focused regranters is offered here.

How large is this program?

We’re still in the preliminary phases of launching this program. Currently, scale is limited by the quality and quantity of funding and partners.

How do you measure impact?

Each applicant is required to indicate how impact will be measured. The selection criteria of the program will help guide grantees and their plans for impact measurement.

What about issues beyond bioeconomies?

Sustainable bioeconomic development is the focus of the program. Issues that are peripheral to economic activity, such as health and education, may be considered but their relation to bioeconomic performance must be argued convincingly in the proposal.

What are the relevant geographies?

The program will prioritize support of activities in the Amazon biome and basin. Candidates from all countries in the region are eligible including Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Peru, Suriname, and Venezuela.

How can new donors participate?

Send an email to and introduce yourself.

Who is on the Program Advisory Council and nominator network?

Select staff from the organizations represented in the Program Advisory Council inform the program selection criteria, review the proposals submitted, and nominate projects for funding.

What about investments?

If some of the qualifying proposals come from for-profit companies, and donors seek to provide support in the form of investments from Donor Advised Funds, there is help available. Realize Impact has agreed to serve as a conduit for DAF investments by providing an investment committee that can conduct due diligence and mitigate risks. More details about Realize Impact are available here.

How do I apply?

Applicants can apply here.