Foundations made more than 12,000 grants totaling $1.2 billion in support of some 6,800 organizations worldwide to advance human rights in 2010, a report from the Foundation Center and the International Human Rights Funders Group finds.
The first data-driven portrait of human rights philanthropy around the world, Advancing Human Rights: The State of Global Foundation Grantmaking (142 pages, PDF) is based on an analysis of the grants of more than seven hundred funders in twenty-nine countries and ten rights-related issue areas, including human rights, access to justice and equality before the law, environmental and resource rights, and freedom from violence. According to that analysis, the largest share of grant dollars — $61.6 million, or 36 percent — went to support individual integrity, liberty, and security, followed by human rights ($194 million), health and well-being rights ($119.3 million), and sexual and reproductive rights ($103.4 million). In terms of target populations, the largest share of grant dollars were directed to programs focused on the rights of women and girls (23 percent), followed by children and youth (14 percent), migrants and refugees (12 percent), LGBT individuals (6 percent), people with disabilities (3 percent), and indigenous peoples (2 percent).
Created in collaboration with the Ariadne/European Human Rights Funders Network and the International Network of Women's Funds, the report notes that the Ford Foundation was the top human rights funder in terms of grant dollars ($159.5 million), followed by the Open Society Foundations ($140 million), which also awarded the largest number of grants (1,248), and Atlantic Philanthropies ($48.2 million). Based on interviews with grantmakers, the report also examines factors shaping the current human rights landscape, from shifting global power dynamics, to the increasing influence of non-state actors, to the use of technology that can be used both to empower and to repress.
"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 Foundation Center president Bradford K. Smith. "Not only does this finding help us understand the true scope of the human rights funding community, it also opens up new possibilities for foundations that want to leverage their investment through collaboration with others."