Moriah Fund: Grants for Human Rights

OVERVIEW: A relatively low-profile fund with a big policy footprint, the Moriah Foundation is inspired by Jewish philosophies of social justice. Moriah supports a variety of organizations that expand the rights of underserved and oppressed persons.

IP TAKE: In general, the Moriah Fund seems to target lesser appreciated and underfunded nonprofits that serve populations marginalized by institutional forces, which are thus less likely to get funding from "safe" or more conventional philanthropic sources.

PROFILE: The philanthropic legacy of what began as a dry goods business in Indiana more than a century ago, the Moriah Fund supports organizations devoted to human rights and democracy work around the world. While rooted in Jewish values, the Fund does not limit its giving to Jewish causes and identifies with “a desire to improve the quality of life for Jews and non-Jews alike.” Indeed, only a small fraction of its dozens of annual grants go toward overtly Jewish institutions. If a project involves social justice and expanding basic human rights for vulnerable populations, the Moriah Fund is interested, regardless of religious affiliation.

The Moriah Fund’s human rights grantmaking permeates all of its main areas of programmatic focus, which include: Promoting Civil Rights, Social Justice and Democracy in Israel, protecting and advancing Human Rights, and Promoting Women's Rights and Reproductive Health.

Moriah's international grants range from around $25,000 to $100,000; however, there are some exceptions which grantseekers are advised to research through the fund's past grants. The Moriah Fund awards somewhere between $100,000 and $300,000 to a handful of larger organizations every year.

The majority of the fund’s grants toward building civil society and promoting social and economic justice in Israel are awarded through the New Israel Fund (NIF) and range from between $40,000 and $450,000. Although nearly all of Moriah’s Israel-related grants are awarded to NIF's programs, there occasional outliers. 

The Fund's Promoting Women’s Rights and Reproductive Health program specifically supports human rights and global security. Grant seekers should note that Moriah focuses its giving for sexual and reproductive health primarily on the U.S. Its international SRHR giving is considerably smaller by comparison.

Another important note: Moriah no longer awards grants to country-specific sexual and reproductive health rights programs outside of the U.S. This means that it mainly funds widespread advocacy work that is internationally applicable. In addition to awarding women’s sexual and reproductive health rights grants, the fund also awards those related to gender-specific discrimination, violence and abuse, government accountability, new equitable standards, and safety and freedom for women.

The Moriah Fund does support a few organizations with broad-based human rights platforms. However, the majority of its giving, here, is directed to the Fund for Global Human Rights. Currently, the Moriah Fund is explicit in its "no unsolicited proposals" policy. It says on its website that it wants to "save organizations the work of preparing proposals that cannot be funded." 

PEOPLE: 

  • Mary Ann Stein, President
  • Rubie Coles, Deputy Director 

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