$1.8 Billion Targeted Human Rights Issues

Foundations distributed $1.8 billion to charities worldwide working to promote human rights. The report “Advancing Human Rights: Update On Global Foundation Grantmaking,” by Foundation Center and International Human Rights Funders Group, found a jump of 6 percent in human rights funding compared to 2011. Some 774 committed the monies to nearly 11,000 nonprofits around the world.

“From Brazil to the Netherlands, grantmakers are using this new knowledge to inform their work,” said Mona Chun, executive director of International Human Rights Funders Group, via a statement. “Whether they are trying to better understand funding flows for ending gender-based violence, identify peer donors supporting human rights in the Caribbean, or leverage additional resources to support people with disabilities, this research helps them find partners, understand the landscape, and be more strategic.”

The most recent report is the third iteration. The first was released in 2013, based on data from 2010. According to this year’s report, the Open Society Foundations committed the most dollars to human rights — $262.2 million in 2012 — for the second year in a row. It also gave the most grants: 2,112.

The Ford Foundation was also highly committed to human rights, granting more than $214 million. At more than $80 million each, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Comic Relief U.K. and Vanguard Charitable Endowment Program round out the top five. The top 20 organizations, of which 15 are based in the U.S., contributed about $1.4 billion, more than three-quarters of the 2012 total dollars.

Organizations in North America received the lion’s share of dollars, at $821 million. Top focuses on that continent were equality rights and freedom from discrimination ($241.4 million), followed by sexual and reproductive rights ($90.6 million) and health and well-being rights ($86.6 million). Global programs received $258 million. Those results were not broken out by issue area.

Sub-Saharan Africa received $237 million, the next highest total. The top three issue areas were equality rights and freedom from discrimination and general human rights, both at $40.3 million, followed by freedom from violence at $37 million.

Sub-Saharan Africa was followed by: Asia and Pacific, $141 million; Latin America and Mexico, $132 million; Western Europe, $110 million; Eastern Europe, central Asia and Russia, $79 million; Middle East and north Africa, $56 million; and, the Caribbean, $17 million.

Worldwide, funding for equality rights and freedom from discrimination made up the largest portion of grant dollars, at 24 percent. General human rights constituted 15 percent. Areas receiving at least 5 percent of the total include sexual and reproductive rights, health and wellness rights, freedom from violence, civic and political participation, social and cultural rights, and labor rights.

Organizations working for women and girls received the most grants and the most grant dollars, 27 percent and 26 percent. Children- and youth-focused organizations received 21 percent of grants and 19 percent of grant dollars, followed by migrants’ rights organizations, with 12 percent of grants and 11 percent of dollars, and LGBT organizations, with 8 percent of grants and 5 percent of grant dollars.

Civic and political participation and sexual and reproductive rights saw the biggest growth, at 107 percent and 100 percent respectively. “This large growth in funding in the area of civic and political participation coincides with the 2012 presidential elections in the U.S., when a number of funders increased their grantmaking around voting rights,” according to the report.

Visit http://humanrights.foundationcenter.org to view the full report in interactive format or to download a PDF version.