Domestic Human Rights

In 2005, The Overbrook Foundation first funded organizations leading the U.S. focused human rights movement.  As a founding partner of the U.S. Human Rights Fund, it responded to the growing interest among U.S.-based social justice organizations to use universal human rights standards and strategies to advance their advocacy. By invoking universal claims to dignity, equality and opportunity that go beyond civil rights protections found in the U.S. Constitution, human rights demands can empower vulnerable communities to define, lead and expand their own campaigns against injustice.

As a part of its current strategic review, the Foundation is exploring the possible evolution of this initiative toward a focus that supports organizations using human rights values, frames and organizing principles to challenge systems of mass criminalization and incarceration in this country. This focus will take lessons learned from the Foundation’s past human rights grantmaking and apply them to the important efforts challenging mass incarceration and criminalization. 

This program remains in development. Grants included on this page are 2017 renewal awards to current Overbrook domestic human rights grantees who work on these issues.

American Civil Liberties Union

General Operating Support - $10,000 (first payment of a two-year grant)

The American Civil Liberties Union Foundation (ACLU) will seek to contain and neutralize potential threats to civil liberties and rights proposed by the incoming Trump administration.  The ACLU anticipates defending the Constitution at every turn.  In the immediate term, the ACLU will address threats against immigrants; women; the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community (LGBT); the First Amendment; and core civil rights.

Innocence Project

Uniting Science and Law on Behalf of Justice: Policy Program - $40,000 (second payment of a two-year grant)

The Innocence Project was founded in 1992 to assist prisoners who could be proven innocent through DNA testing. Post-conviction DNA testing has exonerated 325 wrongfully convicted people in the U.S. since 1989, including 20 individuals who had been sentenced to death. The Innocence Project was either the attorney-of-record or assisted in 175 of these cases. The pioneering use of DNA technology has also provided irrefutable proof that wrongful convictions are not isolated or rare events but, instead, the result of systemic flaws that can be identified and addressed. In response, the Innocence Project developed a national policy program to reform the U.S. criminal justice system and protect innocent people from wrongful arrest, prosecution and imprisonment.

US Human Rights Network

General Operating Support - $50,000

The US Human Rights Network (USHRN) is a national network of over 300 organizations working to strengthen and grow a human rights movement and culture in the United States led by the people most directly impacted by human rights violations. USHRN works to secure dignity and justice for all. Since its founding in 2003, USHRN has been instrumental in providing a unifying human rights framework and platform for shaping activism, connecting struggles, and building collective power and voice of the grassroots to advance human rights at home. 

Grantees by Year:  2017  |  2016  |  2015  |  2014