Oak Foundation: Grants for Human Rights

OVERVIEW: The Oak Foundation's grantmaking focuses on protecting people’s individual rights by supporting groups that uphold international rights frameworks, activism, and groups working to deliver systematic change through human rights. Oak also has a strong grantmaking program dedicated to women’s rights.

IP TAKE: The foundation is an equal-opportunity funder. Oak does not award many human rights-related grants annually, so grantseekers should expect competition.  

PROFILE: The Oak Foundation is a sizable funder that runs around 10 total grantmaking programs, two of which award grants for human rights.

Oak’s International Human Rights program works to "end impunity for the gross violations of human rights; uphold prohibitions on arbitrary detention and torture; protect human rights defenders at risk; and multiply and amplify influential voices on IHRP global priorities." In order to better frame proposals in this area, it is strongly recommended that grantseekers read the foundation's "strategies" section under this program to understand the four prioritized areas in human rights. Its grantmaking in this area potentially provides core, project, and seed funding in multi-year grants to support activism, uphold international rights frameworks, work to deliver systematic change, and those that contribute to strengthening the global human rights movement. Grants through this program can range from $100,000 to $250,000.

The Oak Foundation also supports human rights grantmaking through its Issues Affecting Women program. It seeks to “contribute to a world in which women have the rights, capacity and opportunity to experience safety from violence and to enjoy their full and equal human rights.” Oak funds programs related to ending violence against women, curbing domestic violence, fighting against the exploitation and trafficking of women and girls, and providing assistance to women in conflict, post conflict, refugee, and immigration situations. In addition, this program supports the global movement for gender equality and the protection of women’s rights. Grants in this area often range from $100,000 to $3.5 million. However, most grants typically fall into the $100,000 to $300,000 range.

To gain a deeper understanding of what kinds of organizations the Foundation funds, grantseekers may examine a grants database.

The Oak Foundation accepts unsolicited letters of inquiry throughout the year. Grantseekers should keep in mind that the grant application process can take anywhere from two to nine months.

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