Urgent Action Fund for Women’s Human Rights: Grants for Girls and Women

OVERVIEW: Urgent Action Fund for Women’s Human Rights focuses its grantmaking on women’s rights and transgender rights.

IP TAKE: This funder seeks to effect systemic change with its responsive and flexible funding approach.

PROFILE: Ariane Burnet, Margaret (Mudge) Schink and Julie Shaw created the Urgent Action Fund for Women’s Rights (UAF) in 1997 to address the lack of rights funders with the ability to respond quickly to emergencies. By 2001, UAF and 80 other activists created its rapid response grantmaking program to fill this funding gap and “partners with women’s movements worldwide to support women’s human rights defenders striving to create cultures of justice, equality and peace.” The UAF currently invests in three grantmaking opportunities to support women’s and transgender rights.

UAF’s Rapid Response grants support “the resilience of women’s and trans movements by providing flexible and responsive support to women’s and trans human rights defenders who face immediate threats and by supporting advocacy when unanticipated opportunities emerge to set new legal or policy precedents.” It does so through emergency grants available to women’s and transgender rights groups located in Asia, the Middle East, Central Europe, Eastern Europe and North America. This program offers two types of grants. Security grants support women and trans human rights defenders threatened as a result of their rights work. UAF’s opportunity grants support “an unexpected moment or opportunity for advocacy or mobilizations that may result in advancements for women’s and LBTQI’s rights.”

UAF typically responds to funding requests within 72 hours and disburses funds within one to seven days. Rapid Response grants are limited to $5,000. Past grantees include the Legal Center for Women’s Initiatives' “Sana Sezim,” which received support for its anti-human trafficking work, and A New Way of Life Reentry Project, which received a grant for its work with formerly incarcerated women and their families. To learn more about UAF grantees, explore its grants database.

The foundation also operates Sister Funds: UAF Africa, UAF Latin America, and UAF Asia. All three organizations are autonomous and award grants to support and protect human rights defenders in more than 110 countries around the world.

UAF accepts requests for funding from women and trans-led organizations located in Asia, the Middle East, Europe, North America and English/French speaking Caribbean. Organizations in Africa should send inquires to proposals@urgentactionfund-africa.or.ke and those in Latin America and the Spanish-speaking Caribbean should direct their inquiries to apoyos@fondoaccionurgente.org.co.

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