The foundation has been making grants in the Middle East and North Africa for more than half a century. Over the years, we have adapted our programs to keep pace with the region's changing needs. Collaborating with leading practitioners, researchers, academics, and policy makers, our staff (primarily professionals from the region) have identified emerging opportunities and developed effective strategies to address a range of pressing issues. Our work has emphasized building institutional capacity, supporting knowledge production, and promoting the growth of networks for social change.

After the foundation opened a regional office in Beirut in 1953 and a country office in Cairo in 1959, we made major grants throughout the Arab region during the 1950s and 1960s that helped train professionals and build institutions in public administration, economic planning, agriculture, and family planning. Many early grants also focused on strengthening higher education through research, faculty training, and library acquisitions.

Beginning in the 1970s, the foundation helped organizations to engage in local, national, regional, and international efforts to address critical issues, such as food security through improved land and water management, urban and rural poverty alleviation, gender equality, and maternal and child health. In 1975, our regional office relocated to Cairo.

In the 1980s, we began what became decades of support to national institutions such as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Institute of Diplomatic Training, the Information and Decision Support Center of the Prime Minister’s Office, and several think tanks and research institutions.

Most recently, we have supported a rights-based approach to development, focused on helping the poor and other underrepresented groups—particularly women and youth—overcome exclusion. We have funded efforts to expand access to basic services, the right to work and social protection policies, quality higher education, knowledge of and access to reproductive health and rights, and free expression through the arts. Grants in Egypt have contributed to the launch of key national strategies to end child marriage and strengthen sexual and reproductive health.

Learn more about our efforts to support growth and development in Egypt.