Fueling Advocates Initiative Grants Program

Offering grants to non-profit groups to help them use academic research to bolster their work

What is this program?

  • The program offers grants to not-for-profit advocacy and front-line organizations tackling problems and negative impacts generated by global industrial animal agriculture, especially in low- and middle-income countries.
  • The purpose of the program is to incentivize organizations to actually make use of academic research and experts to support their work and help them find practical solutions to problems.
  • Academics play a vital role in this program in that the grants are provided only to those organizations which are interested in using materials, findings, and skills from the academic sector to help them with their work, in particular to assist with the following:
    • Produce new research that is of practical use to the organizations
    • Turn or incorporate information and insights generated by academics into campaigns
    • Evaluate the effectiveness of their programs and strategies
    • Build capacity of advocacy groups in low- and middle-income countries
  • Organizations eligible to apply for and receive FAI grants need not be located in the U.S., but they must be registered charities in their own countries and are comparable to U.S. 501(c)(3) organizations.
  • Applicants can request grants US$2,000 – 20,000 to be used within nine months.
  • Some examples of the purpose for which the grants can be used:
    • A group in a middle-income country can use the grant to arrange and host regular meetings with academic experts in the local area.
    • A group in the U.K. can use the grant for translating Chinese academic papers that provide essential information for a project about China into English.
    • The grant can be used to defray the cost of adding an academic specialist to the team.
    • An organization can use the grant to pay a staff member to spend one day a week on matters that focus on academic research.
    • The grant can be used to engage a team of independent “third party” academic experts to review and evaluate the effectiveness of a campaign.

Why this program and approach?

  • Tiny Beam Fund is very concerned that front-line organizations’ current lack of knowledge and understanding in the issue’s complexities seriously hampers their efforts to stem the rising tide of industrial animal agriculture in developing countries. It believes that relevant, high-quality, practical academic research and the assistance of academic experts is a useful tool that can help them acquire the deep understanding needed to develop and implement practical interventions, to add value, quality, and power to their work.
  • It is not enough to simply urge front-line persons and organizations to use academic research. To “put one’s money where one’s mouth is”, Tiny Beam Fund launches this program to offer grants directly to them to help them do so.
  • The program also provides more opportunities for Tiny Beam Fund to learn about the needs of the organizations in addition to collecting their pressing questions via the Burning Questions Initiative, and to explore with them jointly the best way to “deploy” academic research to solve problems.

Grants Awarded in 2020

The key takeaway from the inaugural Spring/Summer 2020 round is that organizations that work on global industrial animal agriculture are in need of academic research and researchers to help them. They recognize that there are certain things they cannot come up with and cannot achieve by themselves. And these things can be obtained from academia, including:

  • Highly specialized knowledge and expert research skills in various fields, from science, economics, to the history and culture of a country.
  • Research that is done by academics who work/reside in low and middle-income countries and are familiar with local conditions.
  • Data and evidence from academics that governments and industries consider to be credible and relevant to local circumstances, and that cannot be perceived as coming from advocacy groups.

Focus Areas of Grants

  • To support the grantee in its engagement of local academics to research the harm to human health caused by the use of antibiotics and by salmonella contamination in industrial cage egg facilities in each of these three countries: Chile, Columbia, Indonesia.

    Context: The grantee thinks credible scientific evidence that is based on local research is needed in its campaigns, but such evidence is currently unavailable.

  • To enable the grantee to commission local (i.e. Ukraine) academics to do economics-focused research on the issue of egg producers changing from cage to cage-free system in Ukraine.

    Context: The grantee wants to show producers that cage-free system is a better investment than changing to enriched cages which are not good for the well-being of the chickens (although enriched cages seem to be better than battery cages).

  • To help the grantee utilize academic materials and academic experts (in and outside of China) in its efforts to understand the topic of farm animals and animal welfare in Chinese culture and history.

    Context: The grantee wants the two “white papers” it produces on this topic (one for Chinese government officials, one for Western NGOs) to be solidly based on traditional Chinese (not Western) views and values.

  • To enable the grantee to pay a PhD student who will do research, obtain insights from specialists at her university, and write country profiles to accompany the grantee’s reviews of non-U.S. animal charities, including charities in these middle-income countries and regions: Egypt, China, Brazil, Mexico, Turkey, South Asia.
  • To help the grantee seek assistance from local (i.e. Africa) academic researchers and use academic materials in developing a new initiative about factory farming and sustainable food systems in 3-5 sub-Saharan African countries.
  • To enable the grantee to use academic experts to help with its scoping work to set up a regional office in Asia, including experts for three middle-income countries: Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand.

    Context: The grantee is in the process of setting up a regional office that will oversee its work on industrial animal agriculture and farm animal welfare in Asia.

  • To pay for the grantee’s staff time to utilize academic research for its ongoing work against global industrial animal agriculture, especially pertaining to climate change and environmental aspects.
  • To cover the cost of bringing in academics to assist the grantee’s work on conducting focus groups of producers of cage and cage-free eggs in China, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Japan.

    Context: Conducting focus groups is essential in order to understand the challenges faced by farmers in operating high animal welfare cage-free farms.

  • To enable the grantee to use scientists in Mexico to undertake research into the use of growth-promotion chemicals in industrial animal farms in Mexico.

    Context: The grantee thinks that results of this scientific research will play an important role in its discussions with policy makers and in its public campaign.

  • To help the grantee engage with academics in Brazil in order to further the organization’s work to reduce beef overconsumption and encourage plant-based diet in Brazil; also to support its work to develop idea-sharing between academics and food industry representatives in that country.
  • To pay for the cost of commissioning local academics to do literature reviews on the relationship between factory farming and emerging infectious disease and antibiotic-resistance bacteria in Ukraine and Poland.

    Context: According to the grantee, “An independently conducted academic study will be better received by our key partners in media, industry and the government than an in-house review prepared by employees of an animal advocacy organization, which may be perceived as biased. Therefore, we consider independent academic research as more effective in advocacy than research that we could prepare on our own.”

  • To support the grantee’s use of local (i.e. East Africa, Southern Africa) academic researchers to study negative impacts of factory farms and benefits of small-scale high-welfare farms in Africa, so that governments can be presented with credible research that is done in Africa.