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 Foundation

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

The ACLU Foundation seeks to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties that the Constitution and laws of the United States guarantee everyone in this country. It defends constitutional rights, especially in priority areas of immigrants’ rights; LGBT rights; voting rights; speech, privacy, and technology; criminal justice reform; and reproductive 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 is a national litigation and public policy organization that provides pro bono post-conviction legal assistance to the wrongfully convicted and works to reform the criminal justice system to prevent future injustice.


General Operating Support - $40,000 (first payment of a two-year grant)

JustLeadershipUSA (JLUSA) was established with the belief that this is a watershed moment in America’s history that must be defined by the meaningful inclusion of those most impacted by our government’s failed policies. Leveraging the guiding principle that those closest to the problem are closest to the solution, JLUSA invests in the talent of formerly incarcerated leaders and advocates across the country.

Legal Services for Prisoners with Children

General Operating Support - $25,000

Legal Services for Prisoners with Children organizes communities impacted by the criminal justice system and advocates to release incarcerated people, to restore human and civil rights, and to reunify families and communities.

National Economic and Social Rights Initiative

General Operating Support - $50,000

In partnership with communities, NESRI works to build a broad movement for economic & social rights, including health, housing, education and work with dignity. Based on the principle that fundamental human needs create human rights obligations on the part of the government and the private sector, NESRI advocates for public policies that guarantee the universal and equitable fulfillment of these rights in the United States.

New York Civil Liberties Union Foundation

General Operating Support - $20,000 (first payment of a two-year grant)

The NYCLU’s mission is to defend and promote civil liberties and civil rights. It works to ensure that core values and principles of equality, liberty and due process are more fully and consistently realized in the lives of all New Yorkers.

Solitary Watch

General Operating Support - $30,000

Solitary Watch is a national watchdog group that investigates, documents, and disseminates information on the use of solitary confinement in U.S. prisons, jails, and immigrant and juvenile detention.

US Human Rights Network

General Operating Support - $50,000

The US Human Rights Network 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.

Grantees by Year: 2019 | 2018  |  2017  |  2016  |  2015