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They’re Here! | The Human Rights Grantmaking Principles

Blogs Grantmaking Principles

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Last year, HRFN, in collaboration with Ariadne and PAWHR set up a funders advisory committee and embarked on a journey to identify guiding principles for human rights grantmaking. For us, this journey meant that we had to be introspective and honest with ourselves about what it means to be bold and just in the field of philanthropy. Today, we are pleased to launch these Human Rights Grantmaking Principles, which reflect the contributions of approximately 300 human rights contributors including funders and activists from over 40 countries.

The process wasn’t perfect, but we are committed to learning and improving along the way. The first step in our learning motivates us to include more voices and work in ways that authentically meet the needs of impacted communities. We believe the final product, these six principles, are a launching pad for the next phase of growth for funders, and the field of philanthropy broadly.

We can’t thank you all enough for sharing your valuable ideas, critiques, and recommendations as our networks grapple with what it means to be human rights funders and what principles should guide our work.

Without a doubt, we currently face considerable challenges to protecting and advancing human rights, and ensuring that human rights laws and frameworks are relevant for people’s lived realities and our evolving political, social, economic, and cultural contexts. This, however, has not meant that the demand for human rights has declined – quite the opposite.

Today we are seeing strong demand for human rights witnessed by mass protests in places like the U.S., Hong Kong, Russia, Lebanon, Brazil and Mauritius where people are calling for their rights to be restored, respected, and protected. While human rights movements are struggling in these challenging times, this moment presents an opportunity to shift the power to those who can build a better future. This remains true for the human rights philanthropic world.

It is not a coincidence that the launch of these principles is happening in this critical moment. If we are to make the most of the opportunities in front of us, we need to invest more in aligning grantmaking practices with human rights values, which is the very intention of these principles.

Mark your calendars for our six-part workshop series for funders and human rights activists and organizations where we will dive into the grantmaking principles, jointly exploring how we can apply them in practice. (All workshops will be held at 11:00-12:30 Eastern Time.)

Access all other workshops below:

For questions about the project, please contact us at We hope you will join the conversation as we continue on this journey together.

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