The U.S. Human Rights Fund (USHRF) is a time-limited partnership of donors who provide strategic field-building support to social justice organizations engaged in human rights work within the United States. The Fund’s mission is to promote dignity, equality and opportunity for all people by advocating for the U.S. to uphold international human rights values and standards within its borders.
The USHRF makes grants in four strategic areas:
- Human Rights Training and Education: to build the capacity of activists and organizations to utilize human rights values, strategies and standards across different issues and sectors.
- Regional and National Networks: to foster linkages between human rights organizations and the broader social justice community, and support skills transfer, collaboration and outreach to new allies.
- Communications and Messaging: to encourage common and more effective messaging about human rights and their relevance to U.S. practice and policy.
- Strategic Thought and Advocacy: to support strategic thinking and advocacy work that effectively uses human rights to advance domestic policy and legal objectives.
Several donors have joined the USHRF’s two sub-fund initiatives, which provide streamlined support to specific human rights advocacy campaigns. The Funds advocate for the elimination of life without parole sentencing for juveniles and U.S. accountability to international human rights standards. In addition to providing grants to social justice, grassroots, academic and legal organizations, the Fund educates donors about the value of human rights to achieve social change. It also supports a variety of technical assistance and capacity building for its grantees and partners.
Since launching in July 2005, the USHRF has raised more than $16 million and awarded grants to more than 60 organizations. In 2010 the Fund aims to provide close to $5 million in support to U.S. advocates who are using human rights in their organizing and advocacy efforts. Individual grants range from $25,000 to $200,000 per year.
The USHRF Steering Committee consists of institutional donors who work closely with staff to determine the Fund’s strategic direction and programmatic activities. Importantly, the Committee also helps secure new resources for human rights work, both bilaterally and through the Fund. Current members include the Atlantic Philanthropies, Butler Family Fund, Ford Foundation, Libra Foundation, Mertz Gilmore Foundation, Oak Foundation, Open Society Institute, Overbrook Foundation, Shaler Adams Foundation, Starry Night Fund of the Tides Foundation and an anonymous donor.
For more information about the Fund and its work visit the USHRF website.