11th Hour Project: Grants for Human Rights

OVERVIEW: 11th Hour supports human rights projects that relate to the environment and intersect with energy, food and water systems. While the project does not have stated geographic restrictions, its human rights grantmaking tends to support developing countries.

IP TAKE: 11th Hour is not one of the more transparent funders out there. The best bet for would-be grantees is to reach out to program staff and highlight not only how their project aligns with 11th Hour’s mission, but demonstrate how it addresses the relationship between human rights and the environment.

PROFILE: In 2006, Wendy and Eric Schmidt established the Schmidt Family Foundation with the intent of advancing “the wiser use of energy and natural resources,” and to “empower communities to build resilient systems for food, water, and human resources.” Prior to launching the Schmidt Family Foundation, Wendy Schmidt created the 11th Hour Project.

While the 11th Hour Project is a self-governing outfit, it is considered a subsidiary of the Schmidt Family Foundation. It shares the Schmidts' funding interests, and awards grants through its Renewable Energy & Climate, Ecological Agriculture, and Human Rights programs.

Much of the 11th Hour Project’s programmatic giving is interrelated. For example, in the human rights space, it is not uncommon for the organization to support proposals that foster both global equity and its relationship to the environment. However, equal rights and resource rights remain at the heart of the 11th Hour Project's mission.

More specifically, 11th Hour pays particular attention to human rights projects associated with energy, food, and water systems. While the project does not have stated geographic priorities, it channels the majority of its human rights grantmaking toward less-developed countries like Haiti and the Democratic Republic of Congo. On occasion, 11th Hour funds human rights organizations that conduct widespread international rights efforts rather country-specific work.

To get a broader sense of the types of human rights NGOs benefiting from 11th Hour’s support, prospective grantees should read its grantees list. Grant amounts typically range from about $50,000 to $200,000. The 11th Hour doesn’t accept unsolicited proposals or letters of inquiry.

PEOPLE: 

  • Wendy Schmidt, Founder
  • Amy Rao, President, 11th Hour Project
  • Joe Sciortino, Executive Director
  • Maria Koulouris, Program Director, Human Rights
  • Erin Strain, Program Manager, Human Rights
  • Lauren Davis, Program Manager, Human Rights 

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