The Ford Foundation has long supported Amnesty International, having awarded the organization a $400,000 grant in 2006 to develop and implement its National Leadership Training Strategy. Since then, Ford has awarded Amnesty good-sized grants on a relatively regular basis, including a $1 million give in 2008 to support its Global Dignity Campaign, which focused on poverty as a human rights issue and campaigned against the unlawful detention of migrants.
Although listed grants were made prior to its 2015 programmatic changes, according to the Ford Foundation’s grants database, it looks like Amnesty International is still making the funding cut at Ford.
The Ford Foundation recently awarded Amnesty International a $1.15 million grant, its largest grant to the human rights organization to date. It was awarded out of the Ford Foundation’s Strengthening Human Rights Worldwide program, an initiative of its Human Rights grantmaking issue area. Amnesty International is using the funds to support its Global Transition program.
Amnesty International has been trying to implement its Global Transition program for restructuring since 2010. The overall goals, here, are to decentralize its current corporate structure in order to build a greater global presence. To those ends, Amnesty opened up hub offices in Johannesburg, Hong Kong, Nairobi, Dakar Mexico City, Bangkok and Delhi last year. This year, the plan has been to open additional offices in either Lima or Bogota; the Middle East or North Africa; and expand its current office in Moscow.
Earlier this year, the Ford Foundation announced that it would be restructuring to whittle its major grantmaking programs down from eight to six, and to narrow its focus to fighting inequality in all forms. According to foundation President Darren Walker, Ford’s trustees have authorized the allocation of up to $1 billion “for a concerted effort to support stronger, more sustainable, and more durable organizations.” Walker also says that these key anchor organizations could possibly see “larger, longer-term grants that can be used more flexibly.”
Ford also noted that in doing so, it would increase its core support to what it considered to be “key anchor organizations.” Who knows whether Amnesty International will be considered as one of Ford’s key anchors? But given the size and scope of the organization and its human rights work, it’s a reasonable candidate. However, these big changes are expected to occur from 2016 to 2020, so this is still very much a fluid situation at Ford. For now, no one really knows exactly where Ford’s funding ax will fall, or which organizations are lined up for the chopping block.