Ford Foundation: Grants for Human Rights

OVERVIEW:  Human rights grantseekers are going to want to investigate Ford’s Gender, Racial, and Ethnic Justice, as well as its Civic Engagement and Government programs, for possible funding.  

IP TAKE: Ford’s recent restructuring resulted in a decrease of grantmaking initiatives overall, thereby rendering the grant process more selective.  In light of the restructuring, the foundation emphasizes providing general operating support in addition to backing specific programs and projects.

PROFILE: The Ford Foundation’s reorganization concentrates its grantmaking efforts on combatting global inequality in all of its forms.  Since human rights are inextricably linked to inequality, related grantmaking at Ford isn’t expected to be widely impacted by its restructuring.

All of Ford’s programs address inequality in some form, based on what the foundation identifies as the “five underlying drivers of inequality.” However, its Gender, Racial, and Ethnic Injustice and Civic Engagement and Government programs address human rights issues more directly than Ford’s other grantmaking agendas. The foundation’s Equitable Development program also advances human rights, though on a smaller scale, concentrating efforts on land rights and marginalized populations in its regional areas of grantmaking interest. While the Ford Foundation maintains offices around the world, it applies geographic restrictions to each of its grantmaking programs.

Grantseekers are advised to delve into the Ford Foundation's excellent website, which features an up-to-date grants database. Despite the size and the scope of Ford's grantmaking, this is a foundation that has always prided itself on transparency. As an aside, inquiries for Ford’s JustFilms and Fellowships program remain open.

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