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Advancing Human Rights Research

What is the Advancing Human Rights research and why is it important?

Advancing Human Rights tracks the evolving state of human rights philanthropy by collecting and analyzing grants data. It answers critical questions about the funding landscape — Where is the money going? What are the gaps? Who is funding what? — to help funders and advocates make more informed and effective decisions. It is also a critical tool in grantmakers’ efforts to be more transparent and accountable. Candid and Human Rights Funders Network lead the research, in partnership with Ariadne and Prospera.

How do we define human rights grantmaking?

Guided by human rights funders and activists, we define human rights grantmaking as funding in pursuit of structural change to ensure the protection and enjoyment of the rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and subsequent human rights treaties. We include any grant that meets our definition, regardless of whether the funder considers their work to be human rights focused. We assign each grant to one of 27 human rights categories, grouped into 13 overarching issues.

Because marginalized groups often face additional barriers to accessing their rights, we track funding for eight populations to offer insights on funding trends for those communities. We also look at the strategies funders support to achieve systemic change, like grassroots organizing and litigation, to gain a more nuanced understanding of funding approaches.

How are funders using the research?

Grantmakers are not only learning from the research but applying the data to their decision-making. Funders who have used the research say it has helped them to:1

  • Increase their knowledge of the funding landscape (91%)
  • Build their awareness about emerging or underfunded human rights issues (72%)
  • Identify other funders working on their regions, issues, populations, or strategies (66%)
  • Inform the strategic direction of their project, program, or organization (50%)
  • Identify funding gaps and increase funding to those areas (42%)
  • Find new partners or grantees in the field (41%)

Where can I learn more?

  • Use our research hub to explore funding over time by regions, issues, populations, and strategies.
  • Dive into the funders-only grants database and mapping platform to see grant-level details and find peers.
  • Follow our blog series where we showcase diverse perspectives to contextualize the numbers.
  • Reflect on reports and analyses of the field’s present and past.

How can I contribute grants data?

Foundations can submit grants data using this template and should anonymize any identifying details that are too sensitive to be made public and could place grantees or communities at risk. If you use software from any of these providers to manage your grants, you can simply export your data to the template. Please email your most recent fiscal year or calendar year grant details by June 30 each year.

To share data, provide feedback, or discuss how to apply this research in your work, please contact us at AHR@hrfn.org.

How do my grants fit into the human rights funding landscape?

Below are the human rights issues, funding strategies, and populations we track in the research. To explore funding by category, or see definitions, visit our research hub at humanrightsfunding.org.

1 These findings are from an evaluation of the Advancing Human Rights research.