The 2015 edition of Advancing Human Rights: Update on Global Foundation Grantmaking (11 pages, PDF) found that 774 foundations based in 45 countries made nearly 19,000 grants to almost 11,000 nonprofits working to advance human rights. Among the 611 funders whose grants were included in both the 2011 and 2012 data sets, total grant dollars increased 6 percent, while the total number of grants rose 5 percent. For the second straight year, the Open Society Foundations was the largest funder in terms of both total grant dollars and the number of grants awarded, with 2,122 grants totaling $262.2 million, followed by the Ford Foundation, which ranked second in terms of grant dollars ($214.6 million) and fourth in the number of grants awarded (970). The top twenty funders in terms of grant dollars accounted for $1.3 billion of the total $1.8 billion, while the top twenty in terms of number of grants accounted for more than half of all grants awarded in 2012.
The report also found that the greatest share of both the number of grants (40 percent) and grant dollars (45 percent) were directed to North America, followed by sub-Saharan Africa, which received 14 percent of the grants and 13 percent of the grant dollars awarded. By issue area, equality rights and freedom from discrimination received the largest share of total grant dollars (24 percent), followed by efforts to advance human rights in general (15 percent) and sexual and reproductive rights (9 percent). By population group, women and girls were a stated focus of 26 percent of the grant dollars awarded, followed by children and youth (21 percent) and migrants and refugees (11 percent).
"From Brazil to the Netherlands, grantmakers are using this new knowledge to inform their work," said IHRFG executive director Mona Chun. "Whether [grantmakers] 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."