New grantmaker tools focus on human rights and social change philanthropy

Advancing Human Rights: Knowledge Tools for Funders is the first-ever effort to track the evolving state of global human rights funding and to create a set of powerful, interactive data and research tools to help rights funders and advocates increase their effectiveness. The International Human Rights Funders Group and the Foundation Center launched this multi-year partnership in 2010, in recognition of the difficulty of advancing human rights worldwide without a more definitive understanding of the breadth, diversity, and depth of human rights funding. The benchmark this initiative sets addresses numerous challenges faced by human rights grantmakers, including: tracking funder responses to pressing human rights issues; gauging the impact of new grantmakers entering the rights funding landscape; and identifying opportunities for coordination and collaboration with funders that may not self-identify as supporting human rights.

KT_Front coverThe partnership has released two tools for grantmakers:

Report on the state of global human rights funding: This report illuminates the state of human rights grantmaking and sets the first-ever benchmark for the field, enabling us to measure trends in human rights philanthropy moving forward.

Online interactive map of human rights funding: This interactive map enables grantmakers to search for rights funding by issue, country, and population. Grantmakers interested in accessing this tool should contact Christen Dobson at

Grantmakers can use these tools to: analyse funding streams and identify gaps; inform their strategic planning and decision-making; identify potential grantees and funding partners; leverage additional funding on behalf of issues, regions, and populations they care about; and better understand where they fit within the field of human rights and social change philanthropy and where they can make the greatest impact.

This initiative is also in collaboration with Ariadne/European Human Rights Funders Network and the International Network of Women’s Funds and we hope to collaborate with other funder networks to collect grants data from a diverse range of funders based across the globe. Next steps for this initiative include: assisting funders in applying the research through in-person strategy sessions; collecting more non US-based funder data and data on bilateral and multilateral rights giving; exploring the intersections between rights funding and funding in other fields; and creating a public map of global human rights funding that human rights advocates can use in support of their work.

If you are interested in becoming involved with this initiative by submitting your grants data or learning more, contact Christen Dobson, Program Manager for Research and Policy with IHRFG at “Some may be surprised to learn that many foundations who do not call themselves human rights funders are nevertheless engaged in supporting human rights work,” said Bradford K. Smith, president of the Foundation Center.

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