Proteus Fund: Grants for Global Security and Human Rights

OVERVIEW: The Proteus Fund is a passthrough funder that channels money from foundations and individual donors to support work related to human rights, democracy and peace.

IP TAKE: This approachable funder has a long history of supporting progressive advocacy work. 

PROFILE: Established in 1997, the Proteus Fund (not to be confused with the Proteus Foundation), has awarded over $145 million in grants to organizations supporting the fund’s mission to “advanc[e] justice through human rights, democracy, and peace.” Proteus, unique among funders, pools funding in strategic ways in order to broaden organizations' impact on major initiatives, create innovative and bold action, and respond to dynamic situations more quickly on the ground. The Proteus Fund also prioritizes a long-term view of security and human rights by supporting funding for the dissemination of best practices. The Proteus Fund features several affiliated initiatives. Among them are: the Civil Marriage Collaborative, the Piper Fund, and the Colombe Foundation; however, its Security and Rights Collaborative is most targeted to supporting security and human rights objectives. 

The Security and Rights Collaborative (SRC), partnered with a variety of organizations, awards over $1 million in grants per year to organizations that address human rights issues such as hate crimes, surveillance, and racial profiling. The fund particularly supports proposals that support Muslim, Arab, and South Asian Communities (MASA) that have been disproportionately affected by national security surveillance and profiling in the post-9/11 environment. According to Proteus, the SRC also awards grants to “advance progressive national security policy goals.”

In addition, the Colombe Foundation, a Proteus Fund initiative, also awards organizations that seek to support global security through "foreign policy that is balanced with diplomacy and prevention rather than dominated by Cold War threats, war and aggression." Proteus also links to the Advancing Women's Human Rights initiative, which seeks to connect grantmakers and grantseekers in order to advocate for women's equity. 

Grant seekers are advised to contact this funder directly. They support both international and grassroots organizations; however, while approachable, their grantmaking is competitive. 

PEOPLE: 

  • Dini Merz, Peace and Security Program Director
  • Lindsay Ryder, Security and Rights Collaborative Program Officer, lryder@proteusfund.org 

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