Cheryl Loe
Communications Project Manager
Foundation Center
(888) 356-0354 ext. 701

Christen Dobson
Program Director, Research and Policy
International Human Rights Funders Group
(646) 381-7581

New York, NY -- July 16, 2015. Released today, the 2015 edition of Advancing Human Rights: Update on Global Foundation Grantmaking analyzes $1.8 billion granted by 774 foundations in support of nearly 11,000 organizations worldwide. Among a consistent subset of human rights funders, giving increased 6 percent between 2011 and 2012, the latest year for which data are available. The third in an annual series produced jointly by Foundation Center and the International Human Rights Funders Group (IHRFG), this report is part of an ongoing effort to advance knowledge and facilitate strategic decision making in the field of human rights philanthropy.

"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. "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."

Advancing Human Rights explores grantmaking by issue, population, and regional focus. Among the areas of human rights activity it analyzes -- such as access to justice and equality before the law, sexual and reproductive rights, and environmental and resource rights -- the area that benefited from the largest share of funding in 2012 (24 percent) was equality rights and freedom from discrimination. By population, women and girls were a stated focus of 26 percent of funding, followed by children and youth (21 percent) and migrants and refugees (11 percent).

"Each year more human rights funders conclude that their effectiveness depends upon understanding the interests and priorities of their peers," said Bradford K. Smith, president of Foundation Center. "Foundations that understand the full landscape of human rights grantmaking will have the advantage in helping to bring about a more just world."

The new report captures giving by 774 funders from 45 countries. Of the top 20 human rights funders, five are located outside of the United States. The Open Society Foundations and Ford Foundation ranked as the largest human rights funders by grant dollars, providing more than $200 million each.

This report is created through the Advancing Human Rights: Knowledge Tools for Funders initiative, a multi-year effort to track the evolving state of global human rights funding and to create a set of dynamic, interactive data and research tools to help human rights funders and advocates increase their effectiveness. The first edition of this research was launched in 2013, providing important baseline data that enables tracking trends in human rights funding for years to come.

The 2012 data have been added to the Advancing Human Rights interactive website, which was launched last year to enable funders, activists, researchers, academics, and others interested in human rights funding to explore giving by issue focus, population focus, and region. The partners have future plans to add information about giving by bilateral and multilateral donors and strategies supported by human rights funding, such as litigation, documentation, and advocacy.

This multi-year partnership between Foundation Center and IHRFG is also in collaboration with Ariadne - European Funders for Social Change and Human Rights and the International Network of Women's Funds. The project is part of Foundation Center's Knowledge Services designed to empower donors with the knowledge tools they need to be strategic while communicating philanthropy's contribution to making a better world. The initiative is supported by the Ford Foundation, Oak Foundation, Open Society Foundations, and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

Advancing Human Rights: Update on Global Foundation Grantmaking can be downloaded for free at the Advancing Human Rights website where visitors can also interact with the data.


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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.

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. IHRFG's overarching goal is to assist funders in strengthening the impact and strategic effectiveness of their human rights grantmaking. To achieve this goal, 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.