Where the funding goes
Our research finds that 99% of human rights funding from foundations is granted by funders in the Global North, and 88% of that funding stays in the Global North. Very limited funding is reaching communities leading change in the Global South and East. This scarcity of funding also affects the philanthropic infrastructure in the Global South and East as many local and regional foundations struggle to secure the resources they need to fully support and sustain local activists and movements. The substantial and persistent regional disparities in who has access to and control over funding have serious repercussions for human rights movements globally, which require resources to sustain and expand their work.
Our research indicates that the trust gap is evident across a range of funding decisions and practices, from where organizations are based that are funded to lead human rights work, to the size of the grants they receive, to the extent they have the flexibility to decide how to use the funding.
A bare minimum standard should be that two-thirds of human rights funding is granted to those in the region – if not the country – that is meant to benefit from the grants and that a preponderance of the funding is flexible. That is simply not happening.
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What You Can Do
We invite you to move from reflection to action. You can do a lot within and beyond your institution—individually, collectively, and systemically—to more deeply and effectively support movements for justice around the world. As a starting point, use our self-assessment tool to take stock of your grants and identify biases.
In October 2023, HRFN held a virtual briefing for the Trust Gap report. You can watch the recording of the briefing in English, Spanish and French below.