By HRFN Steering Committee, published April 8, 2019
The last year has been one of change for our community at Human Rights Funders Network. Our human rights movement continues to face restrictions and backlash as it undertakes critical work across the globe, but we are hopeful to see communities making historic strides when we look at the long-term trajectories of human rights progress. In this context, HRFN is expanding and taking exciting new directions that impact the work of all its members. Our membership has grown to more than 1,800 human rights grantmakers across 70 countries, a testament to the power of global community. Together, we’ve encouraged our field to increase human rights funding by nearly 45% over the last several years.*
At HRFN, research, learning, and collaboration continue to develop and serve as key tools for understanding and advancing the global human rights landscape. The momentum is high from a successful conference in Mexico City — the first meeting based in the Global South and the most highly attended in the network’s history. We are all excited to build upon the 30% increase in participation from members located outside of the US.
Amidst these changes is one more: the Steering Committee would like to share the news that Mona Chun is stepping down as Executive Director of the Human Rights Funders Network and will transition out of the role in June 2019. While we are saddened by her departure, we are proud of the contributions Mona has made to establish a vibrant global network that supports our work in myriad ways and will continue to flourish for the future of human rights.
For ten years, Mona has worked tirelessly to grow and strengthen the network. We celebrate her vision and leadership in building our global community, which has allowed us to interrogate our work in a trusting space. Under Mona’s strategic leadership, HRFN has developed and grown our programming and groundbreaking research initiatives, hired talented and committed staff, expanded the membership and laid the groundwork for the network’s future. She has created the space for us to have tough conversations about human rights philanthropy, while building a warm and welcoming community and will be greatly missed.
Reflecting on Mona’s contributions to the human rights ecosystem, Regan E. Ralph, President and CEO of the Fund for Global Human Rights, remarked: “Mona has been a champion of building a global community of donors that will try new things, bring new resources and thinking to human rights, and combine collaboration with risk taking. Her pioneering ways have encouraged us all to grapple with the changing context, and the network has become a critical part of the human rights ecosystem.”
The Steering Committee has created a transition team (see below) that will support Mona and the HRFN staff during this time of transition and as it enters its next phase. We are committed to ensuring that the next phase of HRFN’s leadership is bold, impactful and committed to advancing the protection of human rights through effective philanthropy and will share more details in the coming weeks. We would also like to use this as an opportunity to encourage members to support the transition and share feedback as HRFN embarks on this next phase as we know our human rights movement is in this for the long-term struggle. In the meantime, we thank you for your patience.
Our next global conference is being planned for 2020 and we look forward to sharing those details later this year. HRFN staff are committed to ensuring that the member experience remains uninterrupted and exemplary. We hope you will continue to engage with fellow network members through HRFN’s various learning communities and webinars that aim to strengthen the impact and effectiveness of funding. Members will continue to have access to HRFN’s comprehensive research on human rights philanthropy and to each other via networking opportunities, such as the Young Professionals Initiative.
With our deepest appreciation, we hope you will join us in expressing gratitude for Mona’s leadership. Her unique (and colorful) style has created a strong foundation for us to grow further and grow together to co-create an exciting new future.
HRFN Steering Committee
Hanan Elmasu, Oak Foundation
Rachel Gore Freed, Unitarian Universalist Service Committee
Maitri Morarji, Foundation for a Just Society
Mandy Van Deven, Foundation for a Just Society
*This statistic is based on a subset of 561 funders who shared grants data each year from 2011-2015.