Asfari Foundation

The Asfari Foundation is a grantmaking organisation established in 2006 by Ayman and Sawsan Asfari that focuses on the Levant and the UK. The foundation invests in, and supports the sustainability of, an empowered civil society infrastructure and innovative youth, able to lead positive change in their communities and countries. The foundation’s grantees range from small, independent NGOs to international development organisations and universities. Asfari Foundation is also the founder of Midan, an online knowledge hub for civil society actors in the Middle East and North Africa region.

Focus areas

Focus sectors

  • Education
  • Human services
    • Youth development
      • Youth mentoring
  • Public affairs
    • Public policy
    • Leadership development

Focus populations

  • Young adults
  • At-risk youth
  • Immigrants and migrants
    • Refugees and displaced
  • Victims and oppressed people
    • Victims of conflict and war
  • Internally displaced people
  • Undocumented immigrants
  • Asylum seekers
  • Migrant workers
  • Cross-border families
  • Victims of disaster
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Focus geographies

  • Europe
    • United Kingdom
  • Middle East
    • Syria
    • Lebanon
    • Jordan
    • Palestine
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  • Alfanar
  • Al-Nayzak
  • Basma and Zeitooneh
  • Challenge to Change
  • Fondation Diane
  • Galilee Foundation
  • Gaza Sky Geeks
  • Pitchworthy
  • ShareQ
  • United Lebanon Youth Project
  • YMCA
  • Al-Jumhuriya
  • Al Share Media
  • Atlantic Council of the United States
  • Badael
  • CanDo
  • Dawlaty
  • Enab Baladi
  • Hands Up Foundation
  • Lebanon Support
  • Masar
  • Megaphone
  • Nahnoo
  • Roia
  • Syrian Centre for Legal Studies and Research
  • Syrian Centre for Media and Freedom of Expression
  • Syrian Centre for Policy Research
  • Syrian Archive
  • The Asfari Institute for Civil Society & Citizenship at AUB
  • The Syria Campaign
  • Women Now
  • Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Citizens Build a Community
  • Global Health Institute at the American University of Beirut
  • Hakini
  • Humanitarian Leadership Academy
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  • The Youth Learning, Entrepreneurship & Innovation Programme (YLEAP)
    YLEAP offers funding and wider support to organisations that support young entrepreneurs, from ideation to impact investment. Asfari Foundation invests in organisations that offer innovative solutions to social problems, and connect actors from across the entrepreneurship ecosystem – local, regional and global – who share a vision for the region, promoting learning, knowledge-sharing and mentorship support. Through YLEAP, the foundation seeks to build a global community of practice dedicated to social and economic change in the Levant, guided by evidence and experience, and led by innovative youth
  • The Civil Society Programme
    The Civil Society programme invests in the capacity building and organisational development of small to medium-sized CSO organisations within the Levant, with the aim of increasing their resilience and strengthening their impact.
  • Research
    The Asfari Foundation funds research through its through a network of partners and acdemic institutions, including Chatham House, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, the Atlantic Council and The Asfari Institute at The American University of Beirut.
  • Midan
    An initiative of the Asfari Foundation, Midan is an online resource platform for civil society organisations, donors, knowledge producers, and other local and global entities working to further the development of the MENA region.
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Annual budget

  • £3.4m (2020)

Funding model

  • Private
  • Endowment
  • Pro bono programme design and analysis services

Primary funders

  • The Asfari family

Types of funding and awards

  • Cash grants
  • Foundation-administered programme awards
  • Matching grants
  • Pro bono services
    • Pro bono strategic management services
    • Pro bono advocacy services


Key staff

  • CEO, Saba Almubaslat
  • Maria Ali-Adib Pravda, head of strategic learning & engagement

Board members

  • Chair, Ayman Asfari
  • Board member, Sawsan Asfari
  • Board member, John Ferguson
  • Board member, Marwan Muasher
  • Board member Rasha ElMasry
  • Board member, Adeeb Asfari
  • Board member, Kareem Asfari
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Contact details

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Further information

Related sustainable development goals

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