Urgent Action Fund for Women's Human Rights

Braver strategies.
Bolder leadership.

Mission

Poverty. Climate change. Access to justice. Healthcare. Land rights. Migration.

There are no issues that don’t touch the lives of women, girls, and LGBTQI people. And no one is better at creating solutions than those most affected by the problems.

Foundation for a Just Society supports innovative, intersectional, grassroots strategies that meet immediate needs while igniting long-term, structural change in communities and regions that have been overlooked by philanthropy.

We support the entire ecosystem of transformative movements — across issues and regions — by following the lead of marginalized women, girls, and LGBTQI people who catalyze change every day in their communities and countries.

We share resources to strengthen the movements that create a world where all people are valued and lead self-determined lives.

History

In 2011, Audrey Cappell brought together a group of women to achieve a simple yet ambitious vision: a world without discrimination. Under her leadership, Foundation for a Just Society was established and began making grants to advance the human rights of marginalized women, girls, and LGBTQI people globally.

To date, we have provided more than $43 million in grants to visionary leaders who are creating a more just world through transforming their communities and countries.

We believe the best solutions come not from funders, but from the people most affected by injustice. And we continue to evolve by learning from experience and our grantee partners how to most effectively leverage our resources to strengthen the movements that secure justice for women, girls, and LGBTQI people globally.

Theory of Change

Social transformation doesn’t happen by accident; it requires a roadmap for change. We achieve our mission through four, interconnected elements:

Direct Grantmaking

We support organizations that meet the immediate needs of marginalized women, girls, and LGBTQI people while igniting long-term, structural change.

Capacity Building

We strengthen organizational and movement sustainability by investing in coalition building, leadership training, resource exchange, and infrastructure development.

Strategic Communications

We enhance the movement’s ability to engage new and existing audiences through the creative use of media, storytelling, research, and technology.

Leadership In Philanthropy

We advocate a gender justice approach, support activist-led funding and initiatives, and mobilize resources to support innovative, intersectional, grassroots strategies that advance the human rights of marginalized women, girls, and LGBTQI people.

Grantmaking Strategies

Our grantmaking strategies are designed to support the entire ecosystem of transformative movements by following the lead of marginalized women, girls, and LGBTQI people who catalyze change every day in their communities and countries. We seek to develop a cohort of long-term grantee partners that work at the intersections of multiple issues.

Grantmaking Approach

How can I apply for a grant?

Instead of reviewing unsolicited grant applications, we invite organizations to submit proposals when we have reason to believe their work is aligned with our mission, Theory of Change, and regional focus. This is a strategic decision that saves our time, and yours, so that we can focus on our respective work to build a more just world.

What is a field-led approach to grantmaking?

We engage in grantmaking that is based on building relationships, trust, transparency, and mutual accountability — not easily measurable results — because we want visionaries to focus on changing the world, not meeting narrow grant mandates. We work to eliminate barriers to funding of organizing efforts considered too experimental or too unfamiliar to traditional philanthropy. With strategy and intention, we seek to develop a cohort of long-term grantees that work at the intersections of multiple issues and fill critical gaps in local, national, regional, and global movements to advance the human rights of marginalized girls, women, and LGBTQI people.

Why do you take a field-led approach?

We believe the best solutions come not from funders, but from the people most affected by injustice. We try to address the power imbalance that exists between funders and grantees by taking the time to develop collaborative partnerships and incorporating the feedback we receive. In doing so, we are able to better understand the gaps in philanthropy, improve our approach, and nurture philanthropic practices that align with our vision of a world where all people are valued and lead self-determined lives.

Where do you support work?

We make grants to local, national, regional, and international organizations that strengthen the women’s and LGBTQI rights movements in Central America, Francophone West Africa, South and Southeast Asia, and the US Southeast — places with a long history of innovative, intersectional, grassroots strategies and that have been overlooked by philanthropy. We are exploring New York City grantmaking by participating in the Philanthropic Table for Girls and Young Women of Color.

What is a typical grant?

We prioritize multi-year and general operating support because organizations are able to work more strategically when they are trusted to determine the best use of resources they can count on from year to year. Our grants are made for up to three years and range in size from $25,000-$500,000 per year.

Do you fund direct services?

While we do not fund organizations that provide direct services without a vision for transformation, we do fund organizations that provide services to meet the immediate needs of marginalized women, girls, and LGBTQI people while igniting long-term, structural change.

What is your grantmaking calendar?

We make grants in our Global and Central America portfolios in May/June. Grants in our Francophone West Africa, South and Southeast Asia, and US Southeast portfolios are made in November/December.

Who are your current and past grantee partners?

Explore our Grants Directory and stories of impact.

Do we need to be a 501(c)(3) to apply?

Grants are made only to organizations that meet the US Internal Revenue Code 501(c)(3) requirements as a nonprofit, tax-exempt organization — or the equivalent in the country where the organization is based.

Where does your funding come from?

We are a private, women-led foundation with an endowment.

What do you not fund?

We generally do not fund:

  • Individuals
  • Educational scholarships
  • Endowments or capital campaigns
  • Partisan organizations or political parties
  • Institutions that, in policy or in practice, discriminate on the basis of gender, race, ethnicity, nationality, economic status, religion, or sexual orientation.

Grants Directory

We have provided more than $43 million in grants to just over 100 local, national, regional, and international organizations that strengthen women’s and LGBTQI rights movements in Central America, Francophone West Africa, South and Southeast Asia, and the US Southeast. Meet our grantee partners.

Explore

Staff + Board

{{ popupMember.first_name }} {{ popupMember.last_name }}

{{ popupMember.position }}

@{{ popupMember.twitter }}