Domestic Human Rights Movement

Beginning in 2005, The Overbrook Foundation assumed a leading role in developing the domestic human rights movement. It joined as a founding partner the U.S. Human Rights Fund to respond to the burgeoning interest among social justice organizations in using universal human rights standards and strategies to advance their social justice advocacy. By invoking universal claims to dignity, equality and opportunity that go beyond civil rights protections contained in statutory law or the Bill of Rights, human rights empower vulnerable communities in the U.S. to define and lead their own campaigns against injustice.

Below is a list of the Foundation’s 2015 grantees working to build a domestic human rights movement.  Please scroll to the bottom of the page to access a full list of grants, including those that are ongoing, awarded in 2014 and earlier.

American Civil Liberties Union
Human Rights Program $60,000 (second payment of a two-year grant)

The American Civil Liberties Union’s (ACLU) Human Rights Program contributes to the overall development of the U.S. domestic human rights movement through capacity-building, and through cross-cutting strategies that build coalitions and raise awareness to domestic human rights issues. ACLU uses human rights instruments and mechanisms, including the human rights legal framework, to effect long-term change and to showcase U.S. abuses of human rights standards, including international and regional advocacy to press for U.S. government accountability.

Innocence Project
Uniting Science and Law on Behalf of Justice: Policy Program - $40,000

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.

NEO Philanthropy
The Sunrise Initiative for Human Rights in the U.S. - $150,000

The Sunrise Initiative for Human Rights in the U.S. (Sunrise) is the newest funding collaborative housed at NEO Philanthropy. Its focus on domestic human rights recognizes that when the federal, state, or local governments within the U.S. violate basic human rights, they threaten the dignity and freedom of all people and betray the promise of the country’s deepest values and noblest aspirations. Sunrise advances human rights in the U.S. through strategic investments in two key areas: 1) reversing the criminalization of immigration enforcement and 2) strengthening human rights accountability.

US Human Rights Network
General Operating Support - $40,000 (second payment of a two-year grant)

The US Human Rights Network (USHRN) is a national network of organizations and individuals 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 the collective power and voice of the grassroots to advance human rights at home.

Grantees By Year:  2015 / 2014 / 2013 / 2012 / 2011