With Leona focused on fundraising in New York, Susane worked out of Rio traversing the country in search of social entrepreneurs leading organizations worthy of additional funding. From the onset it was decided the Foundation would focus on five main areas: education, human rights, culture, health, and participatory development.


In 2002, less than two years after the initial idea took shape, the Brazil Foundation was ready to make grants with an open call that drew seventy-three project proposals, out of which four were selected. As word spread of a new foundation looking to support smaller scale, community-driven solutions the number of applicants multiplied. In the following year, close to 900 proposals were submitted.