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‘Better Preparedness: Funding Resilience,’ is an initiative hosted by Human Rights Funders Network (HRFN) and brings together peace and security and human rights funders so that they can deliver more coordinated, effective, and efficient resources in contexts of extreme threat or crisis. In 2023-2024, a series of dedicated labs will bring funders together to reimagine resourcing in restricted civic space and in crisis. In learning sessions and through joint prototyping, we will:

  • Explore how to move money to frontline movements in the increasingly challenging terrain of human rights;
  • Build concrete steps for coordination within our own institutions and across the field;
  • Practice, design, and refine systems to prepare for an uncertain future; and
  • Work in partnership with civil society and movements to develop funding that is responsive and grounded in the realities activists face.


This initiative is first and foremost for human rights and peace and security foundations working in highly restricted civic space and/or in crisis contexts.

To participate, complete this form. All submissions will be reviewed for final confirmation.


There are two ways staff from foundations can participate:

Core Group: Foundations that commit to participating in the full initiative and attending most sessions. Core Group members will be eligible for Co-design Labs, where we will actively co-design the tools and approaches crafted through this initiative. Staff members may rotate based on interest and topic.

HRFN Community of Practice (CoP): Foundation staff interested in attending distinct, open sessions. Participants from funding institutions will be vetted through HRFN’s community of practice for human rights defenders and closing civic space. To receive regular updates, sign up here.

Civil Society

Throughout the series, we will work with civil society and movement partners to ensure that any outcomes reflect the analysis and needs of those leading change. Civil society and movement representatives are invited to participate in a number of dedicated sessions, open learning labs, and an accountability session to provide input on the initiative direction.


The series will include a range of learning and codesign labs, building toward coordination mechanisms and approaches by mid-2024.

Due to the nature of initiative, some labs will be held in closed sessions with Core Group members only. Others – including a Learning Labs Week in early November – will be open to a broader community of funders and civil society and movement partners.

Initiative Launch
Tues, 12 September 2023

11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. ET
Register Here

Open event for foundations and civil society representatives to learn about the initiative and determine their level of involvement

Learning Lab: Successes & Failures – CIVIL SOCIETY
Wed, 11 October 2023

9-10:30 a.m. ET

Participants: Civil society

In a closed session (no foundations), explore: How have foundations met or failed to meet the needs of civil society in crisis and closing civic space? What critical questions should they be asking to support movements most effectively? Focus on a range of case studies to unpack different kinds of contexts: Afghanistan, Burkina Faso, India, Myanmar, Nicaragua, Syria, and Ukraine.

Learning Lab: Successes & Failures – FOUNDATIONS
Wed, 25 October 2023

11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. ET

Participants: Core Group (staff from regional portfolios and different areas of grantmaking are encouraged to attend)

Drawing on the experiences of civil society, explore the successes and failures of foundation funding in meeting the needs of civil society in acute human rights crises and longer term entrenched civic space conditions.

Learning Labs Week (open)
13-17 November 2023

11-10 a.m. ET, Monday-Friday
5 x 60 minute brown bag sessions
Participants: Open (Core Group, HRFN CoP, and civil society)

Topics will vary based on input during the first three sessions. Some sessions will be open, while others may be held in closed sessions.

Codesign Lab – Crisis Drill
December 2023

Participants: Core Group

Codesign Labs – Coordination blueprint components & influencing agenda
January-April 2024

Participants: Core Group

Validation Session – CIVIL SOCIETY
April 2024

Participants: Civil society

Consultation to share outputs to date. Focus on transparency, accountability, and input on initiative direction.

Validation session – CORE GROUP

HRFN Festival (Tbilisi)
Week of 22 April 2024

Participants: Core Group


We gratefully acknowledge the partnership and guidance of the team at FICS (Funders Initiative for Civil Society).

This work is made by possible by HRFN membership dues and the generous support of our initiative sponsors:


We gratefully acknowledge the partnership and guidance of our co-sponsors:

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