This year Seattle International Foundation will celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Central America Donors Forum (CADF) by recognizing the reinvention and resistance of civil society organizations in Central America in times of crisis.

CADF 2020 will be held from September 1 to 3 and for the first time in its history will take to the virtual stage and include two awards. The Reinvention and Resistance Awards, which consist of two grants of US $10,000 each, will recognize and support the incredible work of two outstanding Central American civil society organizations.

SIF will launch an open call for proposals from July 29thto August 16th.  Finalists will be chosen by a selection committee and invited to pitch their work and ideas to hundreds of leaders from business, philanthropy, government, and civil society at the Forum. The two winners will be selected from the group of finalists by a vote at the Forum.

An organization may apply for Resistance Award or the Award Reinvention, not both. The selection committee will consider the reinvention or resistance of organizations based on work they have demonstrated in the context of the pandemic and following the thematic areas described below.

Reinvention Award

This award focuses on uncommon solutions during this unprecedented crisis, and recognizes the organization that has best seized this moment as an opportunity not simply to adjust—but to reinvent itself. Reinvention may consist of: 

  • Meaningful innovation (e.g. use of new technology to reach and connect with a wider audience and both be more inclusive across populations and across geography, a new way of delivering services and making them more accessible);  
  • Creative and/or innovative partnerships;  
  • Pivoting and reimagining programming to make the greatest impact with available resources; and 
  • New methods of engagement and visionary creativity in upholding their mission through turbulent times and adjusting to an uncertain future.   

Resistance Award

This award focuses on work protecting essential human rights and recognizes the organization that has persisted in this work, resisting authoritarian change and repression in the midst of the pandemic.  Resistance may consist of:  

  • Combating corruption and inequality; 
  • Leading and/or supporting initiatives to promote government transparency and accountability;  
  • Securing access to justice;  
  • Increasing and protecting public access to information; and 
  • Leading frontline opposition to human rights violations. 

Who can apply for the CADF Awards?

All applicants must comply with the following in order to be considered:

1. A nonprofit community-based organization in Central America focused on the defense of human rights. An organization that represents the community it serves or a significant segment of the community and works to meet its needs.   

2. An organization working with communities impacted by COVID-19 and whose work falls into one or more of the thematic areas described below: 

  • Increasing Access to Opportunity: The pandemic has devastated Central American economies and highlighted the profound economic inequality that has characterized the region for decades and unveiled the vulnerabilities of infrastructures and institutions. Over half of the labor force is employed in the informal economy, women representing an even larger percentage, lack of public services and opportunities, especially for young people, are among the many that influence the decision to migrate. The organization is working to reduce socioeconomic inequalities and improve access to opportunity for at-risk populations, employing strategies such as, but not limited to, building community resilience, capacity building and skills training for labor market insertion, movement building to develop regional solutions, and resource management.
  • Strengthening Rule of Law: The pandemic has resulted in major dislocations and disruptions for all Central Americans. Many activities like travel and grocery shopping remain severely restricted, and heavy-handed enforcement, often through brutal and targeted policing, has violated basic human rights. Striking the right balance between a public health policy requiring limitations on movement and criminalizing protected behaviors poses an enormous challenge. The organization is working on civic engagement and advocacy efforts to ensure government accountability and transparency for a just society, employing strategies such as, but not limited to, access to justice and protecting due process, protection of human rights, ensuring public access to information, and strengthening checks on democratic power. 
  • Addressing Intersections of Inequality: The pandemic has further illustrated the mutually reinforcing nature of existing gender, racial and youth inequality in Central America, and how these growing inequalities impact every aspect of life in the regionGender-based violence, criminalization of youth, and racial and ethnic discrimination and exclusion remains embedded in the structures of society, yet is rarely denounced by those in power. The organization is working on addressing the intersectionality of inequality reinforced by the pandemic and how it affects social justice, employing strategies including but not limited tocreating or building critical narratives about inequality and advocacy efforts aimed at constructing a more just society, and engaging traditionally excluded groups in decision-making processes. 

3. Demonstrated commitment to incorporating diverse perspectives, including but not limited to those related to gender, ethnicity, race, class, disability, sexual orientation, religion, status, age, and nationality, as evidenced by the composition of the organization leadership and team and its strategies.

4. nonprofit community-based civil society organization, which includes non-governmental organizations, associations, collectives, networks and grassroots organizations such as social movements.  

5. An organization based and legally registered in Central America, or have a fiscal sponsor that is a legally registered organization. 

6. Complete an application via SIF’s online platform by Sunday, August 16th 11:59pm CST. 

7. If selected as a finalist, participate in a fast-pitch virtual event and discussion at the 2020 Central America Donors Forum, where participants will vote on the two winners. 

How to Apply

To apply for one of the two CADF awards follow the instructions below:

Step 1: If this is the first time your organization is submitting a grant application to Seattle International Foundation or to any of its programs, first create your organizational profile by following these steps. If this is not your first time applying, skip to step 2 below

  1. Visit this link.   
  2. Click “Create New Account” 
  3. Complete the information about your organization and click “Next Step” at the bottom of the page 
  4. Complete information about yourself and click “Next Step” at the bottom of the page 
  5. Answer “Yes” or “No” to the question about whether you are the Executive Director 
  6. Complete the information about the Executive Director and click “Next Step” at the bottom of the page 
  7. Create a password and click “Finish” to complete the process.    

Step 2: Next, follow these steps to log in and access the application form:

  1. Visit this link and log in using your email and password 
  2. You will arrive at a page titled “Applicant Dashboard” – Click “Apply” on the top menu bar 
  3. You will see a box on the top right of the page requesting the Access Code: enter RR2020 and click “Enter Code” 
  4. You will then see an application titled CADF Awards/Premios CADF 2020 – select this application to complete. Please do not complete any other form 
  5. Once complete, click “Submit Application” 

When applying, choose one of the two awards and describe your efforts as they relate to one or more of the thematic areas described above. Please see the FAQ section for additional information. If you still have questions, contact Olga Vnodchenko at  


Q: Can my organization apply if it is based outside of Central America? 

A: These awards aim to recognize locally led efforts by organizations based in Central America, and applications from organizations based outside of this region will not be considered.  

Q: Can I apply for both awards? 

A: No, please choose and apply for one award that best captures your efforts in the context of the pandemic. Each award will recognize a distinct organization. 

Q: Can I submit more than one application? 

A: No, please submit one application for one of the awards only. If we receive more than two applications per organization, only the application received first will be considered. 

Q: Can I win both awards? 

A: There are many organizations doing incredible work in the face of a global crisis and each award will recognize a distinct organization.  

Q: Do I have to have US 501(c)(3) status to apply? 

A: No. This opportunity is specifically aimed for organizations based in Central America, however if those organizations also have 501(c)(3) status in the US, they may still apply, however it is not a requirement. 

Q: I am a current grantee partner of SIF, can I apply? 

A: Yes. 

Q: When is the deadline to apply? 

A: The application opens on Wednesday, July 29th and will close on Sunday, August 16th at 11:59pm CST. 

Q: How do I apply? 

A: Please review the How to Apply section above. 

Q: How will the winners be chosen? 

A: The review and selection of proposals is a three-tiered process involving SIF staff, CADF sponsors and CADF attendees. This approach not only engages the CADF participants, but also gives the applicants a wider exposure to a community of peers and donors. All applications will be ranked according to the established criteriaThe top applicants will participate in a fast-pitch event and discussion at CADF (September 1st through 3rd), where the Forum participants will vote on the winners. The winners will be announced on the last day of the CADF, and will be asked to submit additional documentation to finalize the grant process. 

Q: Do I have to register for the Central America Donors Forum (CADF) to apply? 

A: No, however we highly encourage your participation in this timely and dynamic space. The finalists will be asked to participate in CADF to share about their work and will need to register. Finalists will receive a complementary ticket to CADF. 

Q: How do I register for CADF? 

A: You can register for CADF by visiting or clicking this link 

Q: When is CADF? 

A: This year’s CADF will take place September 1st through September 3rd online. Learn more here. 

Q: What does it mean for the finalists to participate in CADF? 

A: 2020 has been a difficult year and we are striving to recognize the hard and brave work by local incredible organizations in defense of human rights in Central America amidst a global pandemic. In this spirit, finalists will be asked to participate in a fast-pitch event on September 1st to share about their work, and in a follow-up panel on September 2nd. All CADF participants will be given the opportunity to vote on the finalists throughout the three days of the Forum (September 1st through 3rd) and the winners will be announced on September 3rd.   

Q: I am a finalist, do I have to pay to attend CADF? 

A: Thanks to our generous sponsors, finalists will receive complimentary tickets to CADF. 

Q: Can I have a discount to attend CADF? 

A: Thanks to our generous sponsors, we will consider all applicants for discounted/scholarship tickets to attend the 2020 CADF. 

Q: Who do I contact if I have more questions not answered in this FAQ? 

A: Please email Olga Vnodchenko, Senior Grants & Program Officer at