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A Farewell Letter From Regan Ralph

Dear friends and allies,

I have always believed in the power of people to change the world.

Growing up in the United States in the 1970s, I came of age in a time when the news and the air were full of inspiring stories of moral courage. I read Stories for Free Children in Ms. magazine. I listened to the soundtrack of the musical Hair and to an album of songs challenging traditional gender norms called Free to be You and Me (my favorite track was Rosey Grier, a former defensive tackle for the LA Rams, singing “It’s Alright to Cry”). I remember the heroism and bravery of the Freedom Riders; student protesters demanding an end to American involvement in Vietnam; women’s rights activists calling for equality.

These movements taught me about real change. They created opportunities where there had been none, removing barriers to participation in the life of our society, embracing the worth of every human being, regardless of race, sex, or national origin. In these movements, I saw brought to life the vision of Irish poet Seamus Heaney that: “The longed-for tidal wave / Of justice can rise up / And hope and history rhyme.”

That belief—that people have the power to change their world for good—has guided my career in human rights. And it led me, 20 years ago, to join forces with a visionary group of activists, allies, and donors to create the Fund for Global Human Rights.

Over the past two decades, we’ve grown from a radical start-up to a pillar of the human rights movement. And what we’ve achieved has been nothing short of remarkable. Activists we support have done amazing things—from stopping the use of child soldiers in the Congo and prosecuting the Guatemalan military for crimes against humanity, to changing social norms around violence against women in Uganda and ending the criminalization of homosexuality in India.

Leading the Fund has been the greatest privilege of my life. I am so grateful to have joined this organization, to have worked alongside my brilliant colleagues, to have learned so much from the activists we support, and to have been a part of this incredible journey.

I truly believe that local activists, organizations, and movements are the greatest light and hope for the future. They are forging common cause across differences and borders to offer an alternative to the authoritarian, punitive systems that are rising to power across the globe. We look to their hope, creativity, and leadership in times of possibility—but we especially need it in these times of difficulty.

As Bryan Stevenson, director of the Equal Justice Initiative, says, “Hope is your superpower. Don’t let anybody or anything make you hopeless. Hope is the enemy of injustice. Hope is what will get you to stand up when people tell you to sit down.”

For 20 years, the Fund has supported people who stood up when told to sit down. And we were able to do all of this because of all of you—our community. By supporting the Fund in myriad ways, you have placed your trust in us. And every single one of you has contributed to the Fund’s ability to deliver on its audacious vision.

This transition is a moment of great possibility for the Fund. It’s a chance to open an exciting new chapter, to embrace new opportunities, and to emerge ready for tomorrow’s challenges. But the mission remains the same: delivering resources to activists fighting for justice, equality, and freedom in a way that respects their vision and leadership. The same values that have been foundational to the Fund since day one—respect, integrity, sustainability, agility, and inclusiveness—will guide it into the future.

I know I’ll be cheering on everything the Fund does as a member of this inspiring community. And I hope you’ll continue to be a part of it, too.

Thank you for believing that people can change the world. Thank you for supporting the Fund for Global Human Rights.



P.S. As someone who dearly loves the Fund and believes fervently in its mission, I would be remiss if I didn’t ask you to check out our latest campaign—Local Heroes, Global Change. It’s a timely reminder of the vital role that human rights activists play in creating a better world.