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Milestones to $100 Million

The Fund was established with a vision for a new type of philanthropy—one that provides support to local leaders addressing human rights issues within their own communities. Since then, we have distributed over $100 million in support to frontline activists across the globe. Below are just a few highlights from the past 18 years.

  • 2002

    Our launch is catalyzed by a group of three philanthropists dedicated to investing in the long-term success of locally led human rights movements.

  • 2003

    We provide $1 million in grants and strategic support to groups in Latin America, South Asia, and West Africa.

  • 2004

    Our work expands to North Africa, fueling innovative community organizations working to catalyze social, political, and economic reforms.

  • 2005

    We expand again into the Great Lakes region of sub-Saharan Africa, helping to strengthen groups working in areas ridden by conflict and corruption.

    With our support, a women’s rights group in Mexico secures a major victory when a state legislature passes reforms criminalizing domestic violence and marital rape.

  • 2006

    We grow our annual budget to award $3 million in support to more than 150 locally led groups.

    A coalition of activists, including Fund-backed groups, secures landmark legislation in India that recognizes the land rights of more than 40 million Adivasis (indigenous peoples) and forest-dwelling people.

  • 2007

    Thanks to a Fund-supported organization, the Liberian government agreed to require financial disclosures by politicians and to endorse anti-corruption practices to prevent the channeling of funds to rebel groups and warlords.

  • 2008

    We begin supporting groups in Southeast Asia working to challenge impunity, protect people’s land and livelihoods, and drive increased access to justice.

  • 2009

    We deliver more than $4 million in support to local activists across the globe.

    Fund-backed organizations secure two major victories in Guatemala: the first-ever conviction for a forced disappearance and a precedent-setting win that allows indigenous communities to register land titles.

  • 2010

    A Fund-backed group in the Philippines helps a woman win the first ever rape case from Southeast Asia heard by the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women.

  • 2011

    Fund-supported groups in Thailand secure a major win when, for the first time, the country broke its silence on LGBTQ rights at the UN, signing the 85-country joint commitment to end violence and discrimination against LGBT people.

  • 2012

    In Liberia, a collective of Fund supported groups secure passage of a Decent Wage Act to establish a minimum wage board and improve working conditions for laborers. They also obtain commitments from several mining and logging companies to eradicate child labor.

    Our annual budget increases to award nearly $6 million in grants and strategic support to intrepid local leaders worldwide.

  • 2013

    Following international pressure generated by Fund-backed groups, Morocco announces overhaul of its immigration policy, creating a pathway to legal status for an estimated 20,000 sub-Saharan migrants living in the country.

    Our European office opens in London, connecting us with new conversations, advocates, and supporters in Europe dedicated to furthering human rights across the globe.

  • 2014

    Our to-date total of support granted to local leaders and groups worldwide surpasses $50 million.

    With our backing, a group of indigenous peoples whose land had been used without consent wins the first-ever national ruling against a mining concession in Mexico.

  • 2015

    We establish our Enabling Environment for Human Rights Defenders Program, designed to help activists push back against the growing legislative, physical, and digital restrictions on activism.

  • 2016

    After years of advocacy by Fund-backed Congolese groups, the first law protecting human rights activists in the DRC is passed in the South Kivu region. Its provisions include the right to freedom of assembly and expression.

  • 2017

    Following years of advocacy by women’s groups supported by the Fund, Tunisia adopts the country’s first law addressing domestic violence, strengthening protections for women and criminalizing sexual harassment.

    We provide more than $9 million in dedicated support to courageous locally led groups across the globe.

  • 2018

    India overturns a colonial law used to criminalize same-sex sexual relations—the result of more than two decades of tireless organizing and campaigning by Fund-backed LGBTQ and women’s rights groups and their allies.

  • 2019

    In El Salvador, Fund-backed groups secure the first acquittal of a woman jailed under a complete abortion ban after being raped and suffering an obstetric emergency. This sets a critical precedent in a country where women face prison sentences of up to 40 years for suspected abortions.

  • 2020

    We surpass $100 million in support to more than 700 community-based groups in 57 countries since our founding.