According to new trends data released by the Advancing Human Rights research hub, funding in support of human rights from a subset of 561 foundations that provided grants data for each of the five years grew from $1.4 billion in 2011 to $2.33 billion in 2014, before falling to $2.02 billion in 2015. Over that five-year period, the number of grants awarded also increased, from 13,154 to 16,634. (Although 1,193 funders made at least one grant in support of human rights initiatives between 2011 and 2015, they did not necessarily provide grants data for each year.)
In addition, the analysis found that funding for health and well-being rights grew by 77 percent, from $145 million in 2011 to $257 million in 2015, while funding for environmental and resource rights more than doubled, from $69 million to more than $169 million. Funding for disability rights, on the other hand, fell 23 percent, the only subject area that saw a decline over the five-year period. In terms of strategies receiving support, funding for grassroots organizing, litigation/legal aid/advocacy, systems reform, and implementation more than doubled between 2011 and 2015, while support for research and documentation fell 19 percent.
"Our field is characterized by long-term struggle," said HRFN executive director Mona Chun. "A multiyear analysis lets us look past year-to-year fluctuations and identify trends in funding. We hope the human rights community will use this research to assess where the field is headed, where it has work to do, and where they can contribute."
"This is a prime example of our data doing what it's designed to do," said Foundation Center president Bradford K. Smith, "helping social sector leaders track changes in the funding landscape, identify gaps and needs, and collaborate more effectively in meeting the most pressing challenges facing global society."