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 primarily renewal awards to current Overbrook domestic human rights grantees who work on these issues.

American Civil Liberties Union Foundation

General Operating Support - $10,000 (second 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.

Borealis Philanthropy

Transforming Movements Fund - $100,000

The Transforming Movements Fund is a donor collaborative at Borealis Philanthropy that supports organizing led by young, LGBTQ people who are working across issues and building inclusive movements that embrace people’s multiple identities.

Innocence Project

Uniting Science and Law on Behalf of Justice: Policy Program - $40,000 (first 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 (second 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 (LSPC) 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.

New York Civil Liberties Union Foundation

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

The New York Civil Liberties Union Foundation (NYCLU)’s mission is to defend and promote the principles and values underlying our democracy, including freedom of speech and religion, the right to privacy, equality and due process of law.

Solitary Watch

General Operating Support - $30,000

Solitary Watch is a national watchdog group that investigates, reports on, and disseminates information on the use of solitary confinement and other forms of extreme isolation in U.S. prisons and jails.

The New Press

Support for The New Press "Fearless Books in Perilous Times" Series - $30,000 (second payment of a three-year grant)

The New Press is a not-for-profit publisher in the public interest, committed to publishing in innovative ways works of educational, cultural, and community value that, despite their intellectual merits, may be deemed insufficiently profitable by commercial publishers.

US Human Rights Network

General Operating Support - $40,000

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.

Youth First Initiative

General Operating Support - $25,000

The Youth First Initiative is a national advocacy campaign to end the incarceration of youth by dismantling the youth prison model, closing youth prisons and redirecting resources toward effective community-based programs, services and opportunities for youth.

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