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 American Civil Liberties Union Foundation (ACLU) will seek to contain and neutralize potential threats to civil liberties and rights proposed by the 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.

Borealis Philanthropy

Transforming Movements Fund - $100,000

The Transforming Movements Fund supports grassroots organizing to achieve systemic and culture change. It supports local, regional, and national organizations and networks engaged in cross-movement organizing led by LGBTQ young people with an emphasis on immigrant rights, police accountability/criminal justice reform, and reproductive and gender justice

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) is emerging on the criminal justice stage with a bold new approach to reform. The organization 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 is investing in the talent of formerly incarcerated leaders and advocates across the country. JLUSA’s core programmatic activities include leadership development, advocacy, membership and communication.

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. LSPC builds public awareness of structural racism in policing, the courts and prison system and advances racial and gender justice in all their work. Their strategies include legal support, trainings, advocacy, public education, grassroots mobilization and developing community partnerships.

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. Founded in 1951 as the New York affiliate of the American Civil Liberties Union, it is a not-for-profit, nonpartisan organization with nine offices and nearly 200,000 members and supporters statewide. Through a combined program of public education, legislative advocacy and impact litigation, the NYCLU promotes the obligations of state and local government to act in accordance with the principles of human dignity and self-determination that are at the core of a free and democratic society.

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 mission of Solitary Watch is to shine a light on one of our nation’s most pressing—but most hidden—human rights issues.

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. The New Press performs a unique role as a bridge between the world of artists and writers and the communities of activists, public policy reformers, and academics. Linking these constituencies, The New Press publishes well written, coherently-argued books that wage "hearts and minds" social justice campaigns. Books are developed with an eye to their potential impact on public debates; their ability to play a communications role for the nonprofit sector; and their potential role as tools for educators, activists, and policymakers.

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 a human rights movement and culture within the United States led by the people most directly impacted by human rights violations. It works to secure dignity and justice for all.

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