NoVo Foundation: Grants for Global Security and Human Rights

OVERVIEW: NoVo seeks to transform society from one based on dominance to one based on equality. It prioritizes protecting girls and women against violence in conflict and post conflict regions, as well as, advocating for gender equality.

IP TAKE: This foundation considers itself a patient funder when it comes to the development of sustainable solutions to entrenched global problems. In other words, NoVo is an NGO's dream—at least for those that can crack the code leading to a proposal invite.

PROFILE: Established by Peter and Jennifer Buffett, the NoVo Foundation supports the notion that girls and women are the “primary agents” of catalytic societal change on a global level. The foundation seeks to “eliminate violence rather than alleviate its effects or lessen its incidence.” It funds both domestically in the U.S. and abroad. 

NoVo’s global grantmaking focuses on its priority initiatives of Ending Violence Against Women and Girls, particularly in conflict and post-conflict regions, and Advancing Adolescent Girls' Rights. The foundation also runs a U.S. program to end domestic and sexual violence against women and children.

NoVo’s Ending Violence Against Women and Girls initiative focuses on projects that empower women and girls in conflict and post-conflict regions to rebuild their countries. The foundation supports organizations that strive to highlight the social and economic value of women and girls, as well as those working to prevent gender-based violence. It also supports efforts to engage boys and men to work together with women to advocate for more equitable and humanitarian public policies that can effectively prevent gender based violence. In this area, NoVo focuses on West Africa and the Great Lakes region. 

The foundation’s Advancing Adolescent Girls Rights program focuses on the hardest-to-reach girls, or those that remain on the “margins” of the Global South. This initiative builds on the work NoVo and Nike have conducted through their Girl Effect program, and focuses on achieving long-term change both in public policy and local cultures. Topics of grantmaking interest include economic migration, girls in emergencies, and sexual violence.  

Foundation-wide, NoVo does make a handful of big grants ranging from $1 million to $5 million, though these are typically awarded to large INGOs. The majority of grants generally fall somewhere between $100,000 and $350,000. To gain a broader understanding of the types of organizations NoVo supports, browse its Reports & Filings webpage.

NoVo does not currently accept unsolicited proposals.  NoVo uses a bottom-up approach in its giving, and likely expects its grantees to do the same. Also, the foundation prizes holistic thinking, and a program that ties these together is more likely to attract attention than one that just focuses on a single facet. 

PEOPLE: 

  • Jennifer Buffet, President, Co-Chair
  • Pamela Shifman, Executive Director
  • Jody Myrum, Director, Initiative to Advance Adolescent Girls’ Rights
  • Puja Dhawan, Director, Initiative to End Violence Against Girls and Women

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