Disability Rights Fund: Grants for Human Rights

OVERVIEW: The Disability Rights Fund centers grantmaking on advocacy for rights of people with disabilities and to advance the UN Convention on the Rights for Persons with Disabilities.

IP TAKE: This fund supports groups at all levels. The fund wants to see people with disabilities well represented within the organizations it supports.

PROFILE: The Disability Rights Fund (DRF) was initially established as a project of the Tides Center. DRF eventually established itself as an independent nonprofit in 2012 in order to “[a]chieve the goal that persons with disabilities participate fully in society and enjoy equal rights and opportunities.” DRF largely focuses its grantmaking on advancing the U.N.’s Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The CRPD's current model of disability causes replaces an older one, and in brief, acknowledges that differently abled persons share the same rights as everyone else. Representing the largest minority group globally, an estimated 80 percent live in developing countries. On the whole, people with disabilities represent 1 billion of the world's population, or one in every seven people. 

Specifically, the DRF focuses its grantmaking on Ghana, Malawi, Haiti, Indonesia and Myanmar. DRF also awards grants to groups working in Bangladesh, Uganda and Rwanda. The DRF operates as a "pooled fund," meaning it combines "t[]he resources of multiple governmental and private donors" so donors can harmonize efforts to reach marginalized groups of people with disabilities.

The fund operates three grant programs that address the rights of persons with disabilities at the local and national levels. The fund’s Small Grants program awards from $5,000 to $20,000 in grants to help groups build rights movement capacity at the state and local levels. Its Mid-Level Coalition program awards two-year grants of $60,000 to $80,000 to organizations at the sub-national level that advocate for national legislation and policy change. DRFs National Coalition program also makes two-year grants of $60,000 to $100,000 to outfits advocating the advancement of the U.N.'s CRPD at national levels.

The fund accepts unsolicited LOIs from groups working in its geographic priority countries. LOI deadlines are announced each year. 


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