Freedom in Practice

We are interested in projects that go beyond theory, make a tangible change in the lives of real people, and promote greater freedom and prosperity.


Our philanthropic strategy is to support projects that articulate and promote our freedom philosophy, projects that eliminate the obstacles which impede creative individuals, projects that give a hand-up, rather than just a hand-out. We are interested in projects which go beyond theory, that apply these insights in the lives of real people and promote greater freedom and prosperity.

To find out more about our Call for Proposals – Agency and Flourishing, click here.

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What We Fund

Please review our guidelines closely, if you are a not-for-profit organization promoting freedom in practice, we want to hear from you. We receive LOIs year-round without specific deadlines through our grant management system, SmartSimple. Once you have submitted your LOI, you will receive further information regarding the timing and next steps. If you are uncertain about the eligibility of your proposal, please review our Funding Guidelines closely before submitting an LOI.

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

Focus Areas

Individual Empowerment

Does the project enhance individuals’ capacities for self-determination and peaceful, voluntary cooperation?

Teaching Freedom

Does the project discover methods to teach freedom in more effective ways or to new, untapped audiences?

Private Sector Solutions

Does the project develop private sector solutions to societal problems?

Systems Change

Does the project offer solutions to the problems created by government & crony capitalist interventions?

Freedom Philosophy

At Rising Tide Foundation, we believe the market economy, in concert with limited government and rule of law, holds the greatest promise of freedom and prosperity for all. Markets enhance individual flourishing by coordinating diverse interests through voluntary and peaceful exchange.

Limited Government

Rule of Law

Free Markets

Moral Agency

Poverty, in our opinion, cannot be managed by redistributing a perceived finite pie of wealth, nor by gaining control over limited resources. Instead, prosperity is when society respects the dignity of each person and his or her right to act as a moral agent. We seek to unleash this potential by supporting projects that open networks of productivity and exchange to the previously excluded. We believe that individuals in poverty must see themselves as active agents, not passive victims. They must seek and be given empowerment, not paternalistic protection as the key to prosperity.

Personal freedom and the free market economy, as ideals, are continuously threatened by the power of big-government and big-business, intervening to enhance social justice, equity, or efficiency in markets. But these efforts end up leading to the kind of crony capitalism that is so prevalent today – a system that claims to help everyone but benefits only the few at the expense of the many; it is a system that manages rather than solves poverty.

Agency and Flourishing Initiative

What does agency mean to you?

The Rising Tide Foundation has launched an initiative that explores the key link between agency and human flourishing. We plan on exploring this area more in the near future and invite you to join us.

Grantee Community

We at Rising Tide Foundation empower, encourage, and support our community of global and local organizations through person-centered grant funding and access to the Rising Tide ecosystem so that they can continuously improve and maximize their impact to generate a society of free and responsible individuals empowered to live on their own terms.

Lanzarote Co-Creation Forum

In collaboration with the Universidad de las Hespérides, we are hosting our second Lanzarote Forum in October 2024 to support projects advance private sector solutions and put classical liberal principles into action. To find out more and apply with a project of your own, please visit our website.

New Call for Proposals

Rising Tide Foundation has launched a new call for proposals for projects that seek to further human agency and flourishing by removing barriers, enhance mindsets, or cultivate skills.

Rising Tide Grantee Community

The Rising Tide Foundation has supported over 160 projects across the world that advance human agency and flourishing by putting classical liberal principles into action.

Freedom Exchange – Grantee Summit

The Rising Tide Freedom Exchange welcomed nearly 40 of our grantees from over ten countries around the world to build a community where organizational leaders come together to exchange great ideas and spark collaboration.

Freedom in Practice Team

Rising Tide Foundation Board of Directors

Freedom in Practice Advisory Board

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Individual Empowerment

Does the project enhance individuals’ capacities for self-determination, individual choice, and peaceful, voluntary cooperation in society? 

Individuals, as moral agents, have the capacity to make choices and seek the ends they desire. When this capacity for self-determination is supplemented with education, training, investment, and tools that inspire excellence, they are then able to realize their potential. Through peaceful cooperation and voluntary exchange, individuals can improve the world around them.

Teaching Freedom

Does the project discover methods to teach freedom in more effective ways or to new, untapped audiences?

Ideas have consequences. Never was this manifested more than in the destructive ideologies of the 20th century. The free enterprise system has proven to be the normative way through which individuals, and whole societies, rise from subsistence to economic prosperity. It’s important, now more than ever, that these ideas are communicated to untapped audiences in innovative ways so that future generations can enjoy the unimaginable gifts of free economic systems.   

Private Sector Solutions

Does the project develop private sector solutions to societal problems?

Individuals, endowed with creative capacity, have the ability within themselves and their communities to develop effective enterprise solutions to the problems they face without the beneficence of an outsider or professional bureaucrat. Those with local knowledge are best able to allocate scarce resources to their most effective ends as they know best the needs of their own unique circumstance.   

Systems Change

Does the project offer solutions to the problems created by government & crony capitalist interventions and offer strategies to make such interventions unnecessary/unattractive going forward?

The maxim “give a man to fish, he eats for a day; teach a man to fish, he eats for a lifetime” is often invoked when discussing sustainable solutions to poverty. This maxim misses a crucial truth: individuals, at all levels of economic prosperity, already know how to fish. What those on the bottom rung of the economic ladder primarily face is exclusion from the pond. This takes the form of excessive regulations, licensing and other barriers to market entry, corporatism, trade restrictions, lack of Rule of Law, inability to obtain legal title to one’s own property, and much more. When these barriers are removed, individual flourishing increases. 

Limited Government

Limited Government means that a government’s power over its citizens has limitations. Governmental authority is prescribed, restricted, and limited by law or by the constitution. An individual’s rights and liberties are protected against governmental power even if that power is exercised in the name of a majority of people. In a limited government, there exists minimal governmental intervention in personal liberties and the economy.

Rule of Law

Classical liberals believe that a spontaneous, cooperative, predictable, non-violent, stable, and fair social order arises only by following rules that are general (without a bewildering mass of exceptions), universal (applying to everyone), and stable (not changing so often that people get confused about what they are). Since most of us could not explain the rules of grammar, never mind the rules of social life, it makes sense to keep things simple.

Free Markets

Cronyism, also known as corporatism, which weakens the free market by using government influence to favor certain businesses over others. Lobbying, subsidies, tax breaks, regulations, and legislation are all tools used by corporations and government agencies to give unfair advantages to certain businesses while harming their rivals.

Moral Agency

A moral agent is a person who has the ability to discern right from wrong and to be held accountable for his or her own actions. Moral agents have a moral responsibility not to cause unjustified harm.

Isabelle Hirs-Schaller

Head of Freedom in Practice Programs

As Head of Freedom in Practice Programs, Isabelle works closely with the Rising Tide Foundation board and advisory board to shape the strategic direction of the Freedom in Practice funding area. She oversees the active grant portfolio and works closely with  existing and potential grantees and stakeholders to maximize the impact of the foundation’s grant making. Isabelle graduated with a master’s in international affairs & governance. She likes to spend her free time with her two kids, husband, and dog in the mountains – skiing, hiking, and enjoying nature. 

Patrick Oetting

Program Manager in Freedom in Practice

As Program Manager in Freedom in Practice, Patrick oversees a portfolio of grants that aim to bridge theory and practice, empowering individuals to live life on their own terms. Patrick previously worked in a variety of roles at the Acton Institute where he advanced enterprise solutions to poverty. Patrick has written for a variety of outlets and has spoken on topics related to economic development and local/global aid. Patrick loves spending time with his wife and two children, traveling, and reading history, philosophy, theology, and economics.

Alexander Hammond

Program Manager in Freedom in Practice

As a Program Manager in Freedom in Practice, Alexander oversees a portfolio of grants promoting moral agency, the rule of law, free markets, and limited government worldwide. Previously, Alexander was the founder and director of the Initiative for African Trade and Prosperity. He is also the author of Heroes of Progress: 65 People Who Changed the World. 

Alexander has a BA in history and politics, and a master’s degree by research in political economy. In his spare time, he enjoys writing  and spending time with his wife Maria and giant schnauzer Brunya.

Shawn Stephenson

Foundation Board Chairman

Shawn is creator and chairman of the board for Rising Tide Foundation and Rising Tide Foundation for Clinical Cancer Research. Together with his boards, he provides strategic guidance for the senior management team of both our foundations and our subsidiaries. A graduate of Wabash College, and a 32nd degree Master Mason, Shawn is also the chairman of several investment committees.

Pierre Bongard

Foundation Board Deputy Chairman

Pierre is an independent board director and consultant. He is the founder and managing partner of Wisebow Advisers LLC, the chairman of the supervisory board of Mirabaud SCA and the chairman of the audit & risk committee of the Cantonal Bank of Neuchâtel. A former partner at KPMG, Pierre oversaw Advisory Financial Services for Western Switzerland. Pierre has acquired vast multidisciplinary experience in management and consultancy, specializing in banking and financial services.

Gabriel Calzada Alvarez

Foundation Board Member

Gabriel holds a doctorate in economics from Rey Juan Carlos University in Spain, and has published over a thousand articles across a variety of international media outlets. He is the founder of the Institutio Juan de Mariana and is currently the president of Universidad de las Hesperides and the Mont Pelerin Society.

Eveline Mumenthaler

Foundation Board Member

Eveline served as director of both Rising Tide Foundation and Rising Tide Foundation for Clinical Cancer Research until 2017. She is now the managing director of Epos One Group, a boutique advisory firm for nonprofits and startups. She has held several leading positions in academia, non-profit management, and research administration, including director at Gateway for Cancer Research in Illinois, and technology transfer expert at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).

Lenore Ealy

Foundation Board Member

Lenore is currently working in the executive offices at Universidad Francisco Marroquín (UFM) in Guatemala City, and in 2022 will become Vice President of the university. From 2019-21 she served as Senior Fellow, Communities, with the Charles Koch Institute, where she helped guide the Institute’s vision, strategy, and research priorities on communities and poverty. 

Elena Leontjeva

Foundation Board Member

Elena co-founded the Lithuanian Free Market Institute (LMFI) in 1990 and acted as its President from 1993 until 2001. Currently, she is the President of LMFI again and serves as chairwoman of the Board of LFMI. Elena holds degrees in economics, mathematics, and programming. Having retired from the presidency of LMFI in 2001, she dedicated herself to writing fiction.

Roberta Herzberg

Advisory Board Member

Roberta advises the board of directors and the team with her wealth of experience in the global liberty movement. Her expertise helps shape the strategic focus of the Freedom in Practice funding program through grant selection and advice throughout the process. She is an Emeritus Associate Professor of Political Science at Utah State University, and a Distinguished Senior Fellow in the F.A. Hayek Program in Advanced Studies in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University.

Andreas Widmer

Advisory Board Member

Andreas advises the board of directors and the team with his extensive experience in the areas of enterprise solutions to poverty, entrepreneurship, and impact investing. He contributes to the grant selection and due diligence process, while helping to shape the strategic focus of the Freedom in Practice funding program. As the Director of The Arthur and Carlyse Ciocca Center for Principled Entrepreneurship, he helps to develop and support entrepreneurship programs at the Catholic University of America, and teaches courses on entrepreneurship, management, and ethics.