Agency and Flourishing Initiative

“It is only where the individual has choice, and its inherent responsibility, that he has occasion to affirm existing values, to contribute to their further growth, and to earn moral merit.”

Through the Agency + Flourishing Initiative, RTF seeks to open discussions and promote projects that enhance the mindsets, skills, and freedoms by which individuals can live life on their own terms.


The capacity to shape one’s life path through self-directed decision-making and accept the responsibility for how these actions impact oneself, others and one’s community.


Finding fulfillment through the pursuit of excellence and building a better future for yourself and those around you.

A free society, providing freedom of choice and opportunity is a prerequisite for expanding the sphere of human agency and driving societal progress. Yet, only when people are empowered with the skills and belief that they can strive towards their goals and accomplish meaningful tasks can individual progress and flourishing occur.

Internal and external barriers such as fixed mindsets, insufficient skills, oppression or onerous governmental policies that limit an individual’s ability to act freely restrict flourishing and quell agency.

Governments worldwide attempt to centrally plan flourishing through misguided interventions that maximize social welfare and breed cultures of state dependency. Simultaneously, such government planning erects obstacles that limit opportunity and impede individuals’ freedom to act, build a better future, and serve others.

Our approach presents an alternative to the narrow minded paternalistic top-down methods found in much of the development, education, aid, and philanthropic sectors. Rather than being planned from above, we believe greater agency and flourishing comes when individuals are empowered, capable, and free to take responsibility to direct their own lives and be the protagonists of their lives. By removing barriers and increasing economic freedoms, an environment is created in which individuals have more opportunities to innovate, solve problems, and create value that benefits not just themselves, but society as a whole.

Whether it be non-profits working to improve individuals’ capacity for self-determination, developing private sector solutions to enhance people’s skills to build a better future, or advocating the removal of policy barriers that inhibit opportunities, the Rising Tide Foundation has supported dozens of projects that enhance the ability of individuals to live life on their own terms.

How can you get involved?

If you are a not-for-profit organization that promotes agency and flourishing and has a project aligned with our focus areas, we want to hear from you.

We receive LOIs year-round without specific deadlines through our grant management system, SmartSimple. Please review our guidelines closely, and once you have submitted your LOI, you will receive further information regarding the timing and next steps.

If your project meets our funding criteria, we will contact you and extend an invitation to submit a full proposal for further consideration. Our board meetings take place in May, August, and December. The evaluation period is generally between 3 and 6 months. If you require further support, please email us at

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