Foundation Center and the International Human Rights Funders Group have announced the launch of an interactive website designed to advance knowledge and facilitate strategic decision-making in the field of human rights philanthropy.
The website is part of the Advancing Human Rights: Knowledge Tools for Funders Initiative, a multiyear effort, in collaboration with Ariadne – European Funders for Social Change and Human Rights and the International Network of Women’s Funds, to track and analyze the evolving state of global human rights grantmaking. Supported by Humanity United and the Ford, MacArthur, Oak, and Levi Strauss foundations, the initiative aims to provide a set of dynamic, interactive data and research tools to help human rights funders and advocates increase their effectiveness. In addition to analyzing data on funding flows by issue, region, and population group, the website lists top funders in the field and features sample grants and case studies.
The latest findings are highlighted in an accompanying report, Advancing Human Rights: Update on Global Foundation Grantmaking (11 pages, PDF), which found that 745 foundations in thirty-four countries awarded more than 17,000 grants totaling $1.7 billion in support of human rights in 2011, the most recent year for which data are available. The report updates a study (142 pages, PDF) released last year by Foundation Center and IHRFG that put global human rights grantmaking in 2010 at $1.2 billion. In 2011, 44 percent of grant dollars ($751 million) supported rights-related work in North America, 13 percent ($227 million) in sub-Saharan Africa, 8 percent ($142 million) in the Asia/Pacific region, and 7 percent ($120 million) in Latin America and Mexico. Among a matched subset of 503 foundations reporting human rights funding in both 2010 and 2011, the number of grants rose 16 percent from 2010 to 2011, while the total grant amount increased 10 percent.
“Grantmakers, advocates, and others working to advance human rights need to understand and learn from existing funding flows, especially in light of limited resources and the immense challenges we face,” said Christen Dobson, program director for research and policy at the International Human Rights Funders Group. “Better data on the state of human rights funding can facilitate strategic and coordinated grantmaking, help activists and NGOs leverage additional support to sustain their work, and ensure that those new to the field have an accessible introduction to the funding landscape.”