Grant Programs

The Sabancı Foundation Grant Programs celebrate their 15th year! Sabancı Foundation has been the only foundation in Turkey that has continuously offered civil society grants for 15 years, and it has supported 183 projects so far.

76 Cities
183 Completed Projects
225 THOUSAND People Accessed Directly
900 THOUSAND People Accessed Indirectly

Sabancı Foundation has been supporting the projects of civil society organizations for the last 15 years in order to promote access women, youth and persons with disabilities to participate in all aspects of society through its Grant Programs. A total of 32 million Turkish Liras has been given to 183 projects conducted in 76 cities up to today.

Sabancı Foundation adopted the approach of “making a lasting impact” so that the effect brought about by the Foundation’s Grant Programs can be amplified and give rise to true social change.

With this strategy, on the one hand, the Open Call Grant Program continues for education-themed NGO projects, while on the other hand, projects in areas such as disability rights, the prevention of child and forced marriages, and the empowerment of teachers are supported as part of the Invited Grant Program, which is based on long-term and in-depth cooperation.

There were 346 project applications from 54 cities across Turkey for the Open Call Grant Program in 2021. These applications were reviewed by Sabancı Foundation experts and further assessed by independent experts before several were handpicked for grants. Below is a list of the seven projects the Foundation supported following the approval of Sabancı Foundation Board of Trustees:

Projects Supported Under Open Call Grant Program
Project Title Conducted By Project Goal
Value to My City Four Seasons Lifelong Play and Learning Association Playing an active role as young people in creating an innovative, inclusive, and needs-based urban policy, and developing the practice of working together between young people and local governments
Kids: The Compass of a City Hempa Children’s Association Developing awareness of the right to the city of socio-economically disabled or refugee children living in two neighborhoods in Altındağ district of Ankara and increasing their belonging to the city
Social Gender Sensitivity of Gender-neutral Professional and Professional Chambers Anka Producing Women’s Association Disseminating awareness of gender equality to all segments of society through training and advocacy activities for professional chambers
We Empower Women in Local Governments Association for Supporting of Women Candidates Contributing to the mainstreaming of gender equality through trainings for the personnel of 14 municipalities in seven different regions, NGOs in the provinces and women, establishing of a municipality-NGO network
Deaf and Hearing Impaired Women’s Rights Education Platform Dem Association Increasing awareness of deaf and hearing-impaired women about their rights, especially violence against women and mechanisms to combat violence
Parıltı and TÜRGÖK Prepare Blind Youth for YKS Parıltı Support Association for Children with Visual Impairments Informing young people with visual impairment who are studying in the 12th grade or who have graduated from high school and will take the Higher Education Institutions Exam (YKS) about the process and supporting them in their preparation for the exam
Bilingual Reading Development Applications for Turkish Sign Language Knowing Deaf Children 2 Association of People with Hearing Impairment of Turkey Creating five bilingual electronic interactive children’s stories in Turkish Sign Language and Turkish to support the reading development, linguistic and cognitive development of deaf and visually impaired children over the age of 4

Under the category of Invited Grant Program, projects on Disability Rights, Early and Forced Marriages, and Teacher Empowerment were supported.

Projects Supported Under Invited Grant Program
Project Title Conducted By Project Goal
Dream Designers Technology Development Foundation of Turkey Raising students who can take advantage of the digital transformation in education and use these skills in both academic and business life.
Purple Certificate Program Sabancı University Implementing gender equality awareness at different levels of education
Teachers Network Education Reform Initiative Uniting teachers with their colleagues as well as people and institutions from other disciplines to empower them through a sustainable exchange and cooperation network.
Prevention of Child Marriages Project 2 United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) A comprehensive and local intervention mechanism and education to prevent child marriages

Highlights from the Grant Projects Completed in 2021

Being a Woman in Yüksekova

Association of Supporting Women and Culture in Yüksekova

The project aimed to educate women on gender equality, teach them about fundamental rights and services, and support their access to services to combat violence and discrimination against women.

  • We conducted awareness workshops on gender equality with the participation of 303 women from different neighborhoods of Yüksekova.
  • In cooperation with representatives from public institutions, including Bars, Violence Prevention and Monitoring Centers (ŞÖNİM), and the District Directorate of Health, who act to prevent violence, we organized informative seminars in neighborhoods with the participation of 120 women.
  • Throughout the year, the District Governorship hosted Public-Community Coordination Committee meetings to bring together relevant public institutions. This coordination committee aims to be a crucial mechanism in curbing violence against women in the province.

Koza (Cocoon) Project: Development of Parent-to-Parent Support Program

Eskişehir Development Foundation (EGEV)

The program aims to formulate an educational program to inform children and parents concerning special needs in early childhood, brief them of their rights, and provide them social and emotional support.

  • Following lengthy discussions with experts and experienced parents (butterfly parents) of special needs children, a dedicated educational program has been developed to incorporate social and emotional learning, access to information, and rights advocacy.
  • Fifteen butterfly parents volunteered to join in the support and mentoring meetings.
  • Then each caterpillar parent whose children have been recently diagnosed was matched with a butterfly parent to ensure one-on-one support for the caterpillars. Another goal was to promote mutual support between butterflies as well.
  • A booklet was developed with useful content and materials to help and guide parents during meetings.
  • A website was then launched to share information and receive butterfly-caterpillar parent applications.

Once Upon a Time Sur was Playing

Colorful Hopes Association

The goal is to curb discrimination and violence by nurturing self-acceptance and diversity in children and helping them recognize cultural diversity, trust individuals of other identities in their community, and boost their self-confidence.

  • Children of different age groups in the Sur district of Diyarbakır participated in workshops on oral history.
  • 15 children of primary school age and 26 of middle school age listened to and recorded the stories of adults recounting oral history about the children’s plays, fairy tales, and stories of Sur. These games and fairy tales were mapped and collected in a book.
  • 13 children of high school age listened to the oral history of Sur as told by adults and recorded the stories. Children learned about their ethnic identities, nearly forgotten crafts and cultural patterns, then put on a comedy theater.
  • Six fairytale nights were organized to bring children together with dengbej (folk poets) and storytellers.

Dream Designers

Technology Development Foundation of Turkey

The goal was to raise students who can take advantage of the digital transformation in education and use these skills in both academic and business life.

  • In Adana, Adıyaman, Afyon, Balıkesir, and Bartın, 189 teachers received a two-day face-to-face training on design-oriented thinking.
  • Teachers who participated in the training programs developed together with their students 46 technology-based projects on smart cities, smart agriculture, education, and health.
  • Moreover, a website was launched to offer online courses on programming, design, and project management. A total of 568 people registered for these courses. The website was transformed into an online platform accessible to everyone. (
  • On the final day of the activity, the top 10 and top 3 projects were introduced and awarded.

The projects that have been supported are being supervised through monitoring-evaluation and impact studies.

Grant Program Monitoring - Evaluation Work

Impact and monitoring-evaluation work is conducted for projects supported by Sabancı Foundation Grant Programs. Depending on the needs of the project, the support of independent professionals or monitoring – evaluation experts within the project team is solicited.

Independent monitoring-evaluation studies were conducted on the results of the projects that were supported under the Invited Grant Program in 2020 – 2021, namely the projects by UNFPA, Sabancı University Gender and Women’s Studies Center of Excellence (SU Gender), and Technology Development Foundation of Turkey.

The objectives of the projects were set out together with the grantee organizations, and through a collaboration with YADA Foundation, the projects were monitored by independent experts in accordance with concrete and measurable targets, and reports were prepared.

After the goal-setting process of other projects, the monitoring-evaluation studies were conducted by methods and experts who were designated by the organizations themselves.

Remarks from a Project to Empower Women…

A Field Worker in the Being aWoman in Yüksekova Project:
“The awareness efforts helped us perceive the importance of creating a positive environment where women could talk, question, understand, and receive accurate information. We’ve learned to change our perspective on family conflicts and realized there are many women who are actively trying to change this.”

In order to maximize the impact of the supported projects, communication support is offered during the project, and once the projects are completed, experiences are shared at the Sowing Season meeting. In addition, the project stories are compiled in a book.

Sowing Season: Experience Sharing Meeting
On October 6, 2021, the “Sowing Season” activity was held face to face with a limited number of participants and the event was also broadcasted live on the Sabancı Foundation’s YouTube channel and Instagram account. At the event, the eight organizations that completed their projects in 2020-2021 shared their experiences. Following up with that activity, the Sowing Season: Grant Program Stories book was published on the web and in print. The program also celebrated the 15th anniversary of the Grant Program, and an online Sharing Meeting was organized the next day on October 7, 2021. At the “Sabancı Foundation Grant Programs at 15 Years” meeting, we shared experiences on running a grant program and provided information on application criteria, project admission processes, and support mechanisms. Additional meetings were also organized on “Designing Accessible Events” and “Gender Based Discrimination”.

Remarks from a Project aimed at Rights of Persons with Disabilities

A Father Participating in the Koza (Cocoon) Project - Development of Parent-to-Parent Support Program:
“Searching for another family with a child with Down syndrome is not your first thought when trying to figure things out. But then, you begin to wonder ‘Should I maybe go see this other family, see how they do, how they overcame that stage?’ and about other such information.”