Lizz Carroll
Community Content Manager
Foundation Center
(888) 356-0354 ext. 701

Sarah Tansey
Program Manager, Research & Policy
International Human Rights Funders Group
(646) 381-7582

New York, NY — February 8, 2017. As many advocates see shifting political tides that raise questions about the advancement of human rights — from summary executions in the Philippines to the refugee crisis in the Middle East to questions about the new administration in the United States — it is urgent that funders take stock of their collective efforts to ensure the best match between critical needs and giving strategies. To this end, Foundation Center and the International Human Rights Funders Group announce the release of Advancing Human Rights: Update on Global Foundation Grantmaking.

The 2017 report analyzes $2.7 billion of human rights funding in 2014 — the latest year for which complete data is available — by global region, issue area, intervention strategy, and population group, revealing the actual priorities of foundations and bilateral and multilateral donors. Notable findings for 2014 include:

  • Responding to Ebola and the need for equitable access to healthcare, foundations made health and well-being rights their top funding priority for the first time since data analysis began in 2010, giving $425.8 million
  • Amid renewed conflict, the West Bank and Gaza Strip moved from the seventh largest to third largest recipient of bilateral and multilateral human rights aid from 2013 to 2014
  • Funding for migrants and refugees remained flat at 11%, despite worldwide attention and increased need
  • Compared with funders in the Global North, grantmakers in the Global South and East dedicated a substantially larger share of their funding to support collaboration and coalition-building, as well as public engagement and awareness-raising

The new data have been added to the Advancing Human Rights website, which offers free interactive data and research tools that human rights funders and advocates can use to put their efforts in context, reinforce or adapt their strategies, and find allies worldwide. Bradford K. Smith, president of Foundation Center, said, "We gather, analyze, and make this information freely available so people around the world can see how they can best advance human rights."

"The opportunity is there," said Mona Chun, Executive Director of International Human Rights Funders Group. "Human rights funders should take advantage of these data and the research tools at the Advancing Human Rights website now to see where their efforts are needed, how to become more effective, and what they can learn from their peers, perhaps taking a cue from funders in the Global South and East and finding like-minded partners for collaboration."


About Foundation Center

Established in 1956, Foundation Center is the leading source of information about philanthropy worldwide. Through data, analysis, and training, it connects people who want to change the world to the resources they need to succeed. Foundation Center maintains the most comprehensive database on U.S. and, increasingly, global grantmakers and their grants — a robust, accessible knowledge bank for the sector. It also operates research, education, and training programs designed to advance knowledge of philanthropy at every level. Thousands of people visit Foundation Center's website each day and are served in its five regional library/learning centers and its network of more than 450 funding information centers located in public libraries, community foundations, and educational institutions nationwide and around the world. For more information, please visit or call (212) 620-4230, or tweet us at @fdncenter using the hashtag #AdvancingHumanRights.

About the International Human Rights Funders Group

The International Human Rights Funders Group (IHRFG) is a global network of donors and grantmakers committed to advancing human rights around the world through effective philanthropy. To help funders strengthen the impact and strategic effectiveness of their human rights grantmaking, IHRFG aims to: cultivate thought leadership on strategic human rights grantmaking and future directions for the human rights movement; build stronger and expanded learning, peer education, and community among funders; develop a funder network more truly global in participation, perspective and linkages; broaden opportunities for IHRFG members to engage in key efforts to shape relevant public policies; widen understanding of human rights in the philanthropic community; and, ultimately, expand overall funding for human rights. For more information, please visit or call (646) 381-7580.