Human Rights Grants
Grants for human rights and civil rights
Looking for grants to support human rights programs or the general operating expenses of a nonprofit promoting human and civil rights? The Instrumentl team has compiled a few sample grants to get you headed in the right direction.
Read more about each grant below or start a 14-day free trial to see all human rights grants recommended for your initiatives.
The Overbrook Foundation
NOTE: The Overbrook Foundation does not accept unsolicited requests for support from organizations not currently funded by the Foundation. However, we remain committed to our primary fields of interest and are eager to hear news from organizations working in those areas of human and rights and the environment presently of priority to the Foundation.
The Overbrook Foundation is a progressive family foundation that supports organizations advancing human rights and conserving the natural environment.
Honoring the vision and dedication of its founders, Helen and Frank Altschul, The Overbrook Foundation:
- Honors its role as a steward of both the public trust and the Foundation's mission
- Advances programs ethically, responsibly and respectfully
- Is transparent and open
- Engages in its work in a deliberate and thoughtful way
- Takes measured risks
- Employs diverse approaches to seize opportunities and respond to challenges
- Supports social justice and environmental sustainability
- Promotes advocacy, accountability and reform of institutions and government
The Environment Program provides support to environmental organizations in the United States and in Latin America. In Latin America, the Program funds initiatives that advance biodiversity conservation and sustainable community development, with a specific focus on the Mesoamerican region. The Foundation’s Environment Program also seeks out initiatives, primarily in the United States, that tackle some of today’s biggest environmental challenges, including corporate and consumer practices, climate change, and waste. The Program’s Movement Building portfolio aims to understand and support movements – rather than specific organizations or issues – to make them stronger, more resilient, and more impactful.
The Foundation’s Environment Program will consider supporting organizations working on the following issues:
Latin American Biodiversity Conservation
The Overbrook Foundation recognizes the value of protecting endangered biodiversity and the vital environmental and social benefits it provides. The Biodiversity Conservation program area supports programs in Latin America, with a specific focus on Mesoamerica, where globally important species and ecosystems face a wide range of threats. The Foundation seeks out projects that create practical solutions to these threats, particularly those that promote sustainable livelihoods and engage local communities in conservation efforts.
Corporate and Consumer Practices
The Foundation’s Corporate and Consumer Practices program area supports organizations that build towards a sustainable future, particularly by shifting corporate and consumer environmental practices. Funded projects range from direct engagement with corporations, to activism against destructive industries, to public education and media that amplifies efforts to improve consumer behavior surrounding energy and consumption. These initiatives work towards a sustainable economy that relies less on destructive, extractive practices and more on renewable, circular production and consumption models. In seeking projects making an impact in these areas, the Foundation prioritizes organizations that are grassroots-led, that hold the potential to serve as industry or community “tipping points,” and that apply a climate change analysis to their work.
Advances in technology, the growth of social media, and increased global awareness and investment are providing new and exciting environmental tools. The Foundation began a small program area that invests in organizations that are creating, developing, and implementing new and innovative approaches to sustainability and conservation.
The Movement Building program area was created in 2014 in an effort to understand and support movements – rather than specific organizations or issues – to make them stronger, more resilient, and more impactful. This area supports organizations that build networks and alliances, recognize the interdependence of their work with that of other organizations, and seek to advance the mission of the broader progressive movement, beyond individual issue areas. While formally a part of the Foundation’s Environment Program, the Movement Building portfolio ties together the Environment and Human Rights Programs, emphasizing organizations that work in the intersections of both movements.
The Overbrook Foundation has supported civil and human rights since its earliest years. Carrying this legacy forward, Overbrook currently provides funding to human rights organizations in the United States and Latin America.
For Overbrook, human rights organizations are those that see human rights as universal, inalienable, indivisible and interdependent. They lead with the people and communities impacted by the issues they are working on. They are values driven, have an all of us or none of us perspective in their analysis and messaging, and they work across sectors and identities, recognizing the range of their constituents’ needs and rights. Overbrook’s human rights grantmaking is currently focused on three programmatic initiatives and one initiative remains in development.
Internationally, the Foundation funds organizations that support human rights defenders at risk in Mesoamerica. As a part of this focus, Overbrook supports groups providing legal assistance, training, emergency grants, advocacy, accompaniment, networks and/or psychosocial support to human rights defenders at risk given the grave threats many activists face for engaging in their important human rights work.
Domestically, the Foundation currently awards grants in two areas. First, it supports organizations challenging the undue influence of moneyed interests in the U.S. political system. These organizations are working to make our government and policy makers more accountable to the people by reforming the role of money in our political system. The Foundation’s gender rights program currently supports organizations working across reproductive justice and LGBT rights issues. This includes a focus on funding organizations advancing the reproductive justice movement and those challenging overly broad religious exemptions being used to undermine LGBT rights, racial justice and reproductive justice.
Finally, the Foundation is exploring a newer area of grantmaking using a human rights approach to challenge mass incarceration and criminalization, building on Overbrook’s long term support for organizations advancing a U.S. human rights movement. This initiative remains in development.
As described above, the Foundation’s Human Rights grantmaking can be divided into the following initiatives:
- Domestic Human Rights
- Gender Rights
- Human Rights Defenders
- Money in Politics
Semnani Family Foundation
The mission of the Semnani Family Foundation is to find creative and effective ways of serving the needs of marginal and vulnerable communities around the world, particularly those whose survival and security is at grave risk or immediate danger due to forces and factors beyond their control. Whether it is helping communities recover from disease, famine, earthquake or war, or promoting research, educational and civic initiatives, we focus our giving where we can make the most difference.
The Semnani Family Foundation focuses primarily on promoting the health, education and disaster relief for marginal communities in the United States and around the world.
The philosophy of the Foundation is guided by a desire to empower the most vulnerable members of society, where ever they may be. The Semnani Family Foundation seeks to leverage its resources in a cost effective and efficient manner that delivers the maximum benefit to help the most marginal of communities—those who would otherwise be left out, forgotten or neglected, or those who would risk serious and irreversible damage and injury from exposure to natural or man-made disasters such as famine, floods, earthquakes and war.
The Semnani Family Foundation partners closely with organizations and individuals with a demonstrated record of delivering significant, sustainable and lasting change in the field. Over the years, the Foundation has worked with the major international and national as well as local charities to advance its mission. The Foundation’s partners over the past twenty years have included the American Red Cross, UNICEF, LDS Humanitarian, Globus Relief, Global Health Alliance, Special Olympics, the American Cancer Society, the Huntsman Cancer Institute, Habitat for Humanity, High Road for Human Rights, Faith Voices for the Common Ground, the League of Women’s Voters and others.
The Semnani Family Foundation gives grants for projects that address social issues such as homelessness, literacy, hunger, violence and rape. Over the past twenty years, we have supported Oxfam America, Wasatch Homeless Healthcare, the Road Home, Planned Parenthood, Rape Recovery Center, Prevent Child Abuse, and Gun Violence Prevention Center.
Health is the one of the core mission areas of the Semnani Family Foundation. We have supported a broad range of health initiatives from funding research to providing care, from helping institutions build their capacity to train and teach students, pharmacists and nurses to joining partnerships for vaccination campaigns designed to eradicate measles and other crippling diseases. Since 1993, the Foundation has collaborated on a broad range of health issues ranging from AIDS, Alzheimers, Arthritis, Cancer, Diabetes, Cystic Fibrosis, Epilepsy, Leprosy, Multiple Sclerosis, Cystic Fibrosis as well as Mental Health.
Since inception, our partners have included the National Kidney Foundation, Alzheimer’s Association, American Cancer Society, American Leprosy Association, American Diabetes Association, Epilepsy Foundation, Utah AIDS Foundation, Utah Valley Mental Health, the University of Utah, Utah Rural Association of Nurses and others. We have teamed with the Moran Eye Center, Surgical Eye Expedition and others to extend the gift of sight to marginal communities. We have also partnered with Special Olympics, Kostopolous Dream Foundation, Wheelchair Foundation and a number of other organizations to provide assistance for people with disabilities.
Children’s health and welfare is of vital importance to the Semnani Family Foundation. Whether they suffer from disease, hunger, abuse or poverty, the Semnani Family Foundation has made the health and education of vulnerable children a priority. Over the last twenty years, we have partnered with groups such as Primary Children’s Medical Foundation, Save the Children Foundation, Orphan Kids Inc, Odyssey House, National Center on Shaken Baby Syndrome, Make a Wish Foundation, Simon Says Foundation, Shriners Hospital for Children, Pediatrics Radiology, Voices for Utah Children and Utah Boys Ranch.
The empowerment of women, particularly in developing countries is one of the Foundation’s leading priorities. Since 1993, we have worked with Mothers without Borders, Women for Women International, Worldwide Organization for Women, Salt Lake League of Women’s Voters and other organizations dedicated to improving the life of women.
The Semnani Foundation has partnered with the American Red Cross, LDS Humanitarian Services, Globus Relief, World Food Program, Islamic Relief, Oxfam America and others over the past twenty years, providing disaster relief to victims of earthquakes, floods, tsunamis, famine and other natural disasters. Since its inception in 1993, the Foundation has supported disaster relief efforts in Iran and Haiti following earthquakes, in Indonesia after the tsunami, in Pakistan after the floods, in Ethiopia, Somalia, Yemen and Eritrea following famines, and in the Sudan and Syria following civil wars. We have also supported the New York Firemen 911 Relief Fund.
Iranian American Issues
The Semnani Family Foundation has played an active part in promoting Iranian culture in the United States. The Foundation has supported the Encylopedia Iranica Foundation, Parsa Community Foundation, Persian Heritage Foundation, Hafez Foundation for Literature, Roodaki Foundation, the Iranian-American Society and countless other educational and cultural initiatives. Due to sanctions, the Foundation is unable to support philanthropic projects in Iran at this time.
Religious Tolerance and Interfaith dialogue
Given the importance of religion to the life of many immigrant communities and refugees, the Foundation has worked closely with religious communities and leaders to promote interfaith dialogue, understanding and integration. We have helped immigrant and refugee communities build houses of worship, extend and expand social services, and fight prejudice. The Foundation has worked closely with LDS Humanitarian, Holy Cross Ministries, Islamic Society of Greater Salt Lake, Jewish Family and Children’s Services, Faith Voices for the Common Good and others to promote religious tolerance and bridge cultural divides.
View the grant page for the Utah priority area here.
Cowles Charitable Trust
NOTE: The Trust Board of Trustees meets four times a year in January, April, July and October to consider grant requests. An eligible request that arrives too late for one meeting will be placed on the agenda of the following meeting. Proposals must be received on the following dates to be included in the agendas noted:
December 1 - January agenda
March 1 - April agenda
June 1 - July agenda
September 1 - October agenda
If any of the above dates fall on a weekend or holiday, the proposal must be received the first working day following the published deadline.
Our mission is to continue and further the philanthropic legacy of Gardner Cowles, Jr. and the Cowles family, which includes promotion of education, social justice, health, and the arts.
The Cowles Charitable Trust was first established in 1948 by Gardner “Mike” Cowles, Jr. (1903-1985). Born into the Cowles publishing family of Des Moines, Iowa, Mike was the youngest of Gardner Cowles and Florence Call Cowles’ six children. A newspaper editor and publisher by trade, he was committed to his family’s traditions of responsible, public-spirited, and innovative journalism as well as philanthropy.
Mike always said that his mother, through her liberal social views, humor, and soft-spoken nature, was his greatest influence. One of the first women in Iowa to earn her college degree, Florence Call made philanthropy her life’s work, beginning by establishing a seed savings bank in her living room to help neighboring farmers through the winter. A strong advocate of women’s reproductive rights and family planning, she supported Margaret Sanger’s mission, including bailing her out of jail on more than one occasion.
Mike continued his mother’s legacy of activism and was politically engaged both nationally and internationally. The Cowles family was passionate about civil rights and race relations in 20th century America, as demonstrated not only through their philanthropy but also via their trade. In a 1955 speech detailing what makes a great editor, Mike said:
“The greatest editors I know are just like the greatest educators and are successful for the same reason. They are thoughtful men with scrupulous regard for the truth. They are men who strive to stir the best in the human race, not pander to the worst. They are men who dare to lead, even when the direction is temporarily dangerous and unpopular.”
With his brother John, Mike was co-owner of Cowles Media Company. In 1937, he published the first issue of LOOK, a national picture magazine with roots in Mike’s passion for photojournalism and the journalistic innovations that the brothers had implemented at their newspapers. For Mike, LOOK was a visual tool meant to inspire and open the world to its readers; an instrument meant to facilitate one of his greatest passions: education. Of education, Mike stated in a 1949 speech:
“The only answer to ignorance is education and more education. And I mean more than just the formal education in more and better schools, colleges and universities. I mean more adult education, more public forums, more discussion groups. But above everything else, I mean better newspaper and magazine editing, better news and discussion and debate programs on the radio. And I mean the use of the powerful new medium of television to make people understand and think. Too much thinking nowadays goes on in a bath of noise, because life is so busy, so complex…leaving the common man appallingly confused and misinformed.”
Mike Cowles left to his family a philanthropic legacy that continues to this day. The majority of the Cowles Charitable Trust’s current trustees are Mike’s direct descendants.
For more information on Mike Cowles and the Cowles family, click here.
CPPS Heritage Mission Fund
The CPPS Heritage Mission Fund, imbued with the gospel message and the mission and charism of the Sisters of the Precious Blood, responds to requests for financial support for programs and projects that promote the values of Precious Blood Spirituality, dignity of all life, healing and reconciliation, solidarity with the poor, the common good and meeting the unmet needs of the time.
The values foundational to the CPPS Heritage Mission Fund flow from the Spirituality of the Precious Blood, that is, the redeeming love of Jesus. The values listed here have been essential to the lives and ministries of the Sisters of the Precious Blood throughout their history. No matter what ministries the Sisters were involved in, these values gave life and spirit to their service. These values are truly the heritage and legacy of the Sisters of the Precious Blood.
As grants are received and reviewed by the Distribution Committee of the Board, they will be evaluated in light of these values. Each grant, in some way, should be able to exhibit how one or more of these values are essential to the services offered in the project or program for which funds are being requested.
Precious Blood Spirituality: This foundational value expresses the redeeming love of Jesus which holds each person as precious in God’s sight. No one is beyond the love of God and each person bears the responsibility to care for the other. All other values flow from this.
Promotion of the dignity of and respect for all life: This value recognizes the interconnectedness of all living beings from the earth itself to human beings created in the image and likeness of God. All are stewards of this creation and of all life that God has entrusted to our care.
Healing and reconciliation: This value acknowledges that the world and the people in it are wounded and in need. The fruit of healing and reconciliation — flowing from Precious Blood Spirituality — is the restoration of wholeness in people’s lives and in the world.
Solidarity with the poor: The Gospel values of compassion and mercy make it necessary that we minister to those who are suffering from oppression, poverty and/or exclusion. These needs can be of a material, spiritual, psychological or social nature.
Emphasis on the common good: This value seeks to shift the focus from an emphasis on individual rights to one which would benefit the common good. This value places the good of the whole in right relation to that of the individual.
Responding to unmet needs of the time: The CHM Fund seeks to support those projects that address needs not being met by government, local or other organizations, non-profit or otherwise.
Types of Grants
The Letter of Inquiry must be submitted and accepted by the Executive Secretary before the application forms below are available. A link to a grant application will be sent to you by the Executive Secretary once the Letter of Inquiry is approved.
Types of Applications: The five types listed below identify the programs/projects that would be acceptable. Ordinarily grant amounts range from $5,000.00 to $100,000.00. Read each description carefully and decide which type best suits your need.
- Type One: Start Up Support for a New Program/Project is for organizations that are requesting start up support for a new program. The grant would be used to launch a new program and cover new expenses that are not currently a part of the organization’s budget.
- Type Two: Operating Support for Existing Programs/Projects is for organizations that are requesting operating support to continue an existing program(s)/project(s).
- Type Three: Expansion/Enhancement of Existing Programs/Projects is for organizations that are requesting funds to expand or enhance an existing program/project. That is, grant funds would be used to serve more people or to improve services and would cover new expenses that are not part of the organization’s current operating budget.
- Type Four: Capital Projects is for organizations that are requesting funds for capital support for facility construction or renovation.
- Type Five: Mini-grant is for organizations that have already received a grant within the past year and find themselves in need of funds not in excess of $5000.00 for unanticipated costs.
In the rare instance that you feel your request does not fit any of the above categories, e-mail the Executive Secretary at execsec [at] cppsheritagemissionfund.org for further assistance.
The FAWCO Foundation Development Grant
The FAWCO Foundation Development Grants financially assist projects which are passionately supported by FAWCO Member Clubs and FAUSA. The purpose of the program is to fund projects that can make an immediate impact and lead to success for the people they support. The assistance offered should be direct, with a goal of sustainability.
Through The Foundation, FAWCO Member Clubs and FAUSA have been aiding worthy and reputable charitable projects around the globe for over 45 years. Some clubs are working “hands-on” with their projects while others make financial contributions or donations of goods. FAWCO Member Clubs and FAUSA are passionate about supporting projects that improve the human condition throughout the world. The DGs provide the financial assistance that can help the recipients achieve their goals.
The Development Grant categories are aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals in the areas of Education, Environment, Health and Human Rights.
The Foundation encourages FAWCO clubs to nominate grassroots organizations that receive little or no great sponsorship or support. Each FAWCO club may nominate two different projects each year.
The grant categories are aligned with the UN Millennium Goals.
The FAWCO Foundation 2020 Development Grants will be offered in these categories:
For projects promoting literacy, supporting academic studies, building or providing classrooms, libraries or general learning facilities for disadvantaged children or providing training designed to lead to economic and other types of empowerment for women and girls.
Due to the generosity in sponsorship, there are three awards available which will be given to the three projects receiving the most votes.
- AW Surrey Hope Through Education $5,000
- Educating Women & Girls Worldwide, sponsored in part by Renuka Matthews $5,000
- For programs specifically aimed at women and/or girls.
- Pam Dahlgren Educating Africa’s Children $5,000
- For programs specifically in the geographical area of Africa and will be awarded to the Africa-focused nominated project which receives the most votes.
For projects in a FAWCO Member Club’s host country or the world:
- providing vocational training, teaching practical skills, promoting social entrepreneurial initiatives for at-risk/marginalized population groups,
- or addressing the critical problems of violence, food and shelter, healthcare, education, poverty, advocacy, human trafficking, prostitution, refugees, including all those impacted by economic, political or other forced migration,
- or promoting cultural understanding.
Due to the generosity in sponsorship, there are three awards available which will be given to the three projects receiving the most votes.
- Breaking the Cycle, sponsored in part by AW Eastern Province $5,000
- FAUSA Effecting Change for Women and Children at Risk $5,000
- Safe Haven, sponsored in part by the family and friends of Louise Greeley-Copley $5,000
- For programs specifically supporting the Human Right to Safety and Shelter including:
- Refugee Programs
- Protection for Women and Children Fleeing Violence
- Victims of Human Trafficking
- Shelters for Natural or Man-made Disasters
For projects promoting the responsible use of the environment to provide for the basic needs of a family or a community.
- Nurturing Our Planet - $5000
Global Issues - NEW for 2020!
Close To Home $5,000
This Grant can be placed within any of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals to which we align our Development Grants in the areas of Education, Environment, Health and Human Rights. In order to recognize FAWCO club’s local charities that are often overlooked on the world’s stage, the TFF is offering this Development Grant that is available for projects that take place in the nominating Club’s home country.
For projects providing medical treatment, diagnostic services, preventive care or medical counseling. This can include, but is not limited to, cancer, HIV/AIDS, communicable, non-communicable and environmental diseases, substance abuse, life-improving surgeries, mental issues, the critically ill, the disabled, the aged, medical transport, special needs and maternal health for mothers and children.
Critical Health Concerns - $5000
Note: The latest deadline is listed above; the application could close earlier if the expected volume of submissions has been met.
We partner with communities, providing resources for projects defined by local leaders to improve the lives and well-being of the people in the community.
We see a world where every person has the basics for well-being: clean water, good food, housing, health care, safety, education, social activity, and jobs. We know that the current state of the world represents many unmet needs. Despite the size of the need which seems unlimited, we choose to act. We believe that small change leads to bigger change and is a preferred option to a default acceptance of the status quo.
Why This Program
We hold that we are connected with one another in the world community. Like thousands of individual cells connected within a single body shaping its health, the actions of individuals within the world community effect the wellbeing of all. Discomfort in a part of our collective body impacts the whole and serves as a source for other downstream social ills. This program is designed for individuals who share a view of a larger self, have decided that they have enough means to live comfortable lives, and want to share their resources with others in a creative and smart way.
The following core values inform our mission and guide our actions as investors:
- Respect: We believe the community should decide what the community needs
- Optimism: We believe that good outcomes can be the rule, not the exception, based on disciplined and continuous effort
- Innovation: We challenge ourselves and our collaborators to think creatively
- Leverage: We expect that a smart investment process will grow resources, not waste them
- Accountability: We deliver what we promise and avoid promising more than we can deliver.
- Efficient: We are careful managers of resources
- Life Affirming: We enjoy being alive and want the same opportunity for all
- Enlightened Compassion: We care for the well-being of others without neglecting care of self
How We Work
NextWorldNow learns about community based projects that need more resources to meet their goals. We connect with the leaders, learn about their work, and decide which projects to invest in. Investments may include time spent supporting a project, in-kind resources, and financial grants. We invite community proposals. We rate the likely success and the impact of the project – such as how many people will benefit. We look for people and groups who have new ideas for old problems. We prefer to invest in a variety of geographic locations and issues in order to learn more about the world and its people. We may take on projects that are beyond our funding means by seeking like organizations to partner in the investment.
What are our target investments?
Consistent with our mission, we are interested in supporting many types of community programs:
- Civic Participation
- Effective Development
- Environmental Mediation – Water, Sanitation, Deforestation
- Health Care Access and Treatment
- Human Rights
- Peace and Human Security
- Smallholder Productivity and Food Security
- Sustainable Markets/Livelihood