Human rights

The Overbrook Foundation has supported civil and human rights since its earliest years. Carrying this legacy forward, Overbrook currently provides funding to human rights organizations in the United States and Latin America.

For Overbrook, human rights organizations are those that see human rights as universal, inalienable, indivisible and interdependent. They lead with the people and communities impacted by the issues they are working on. They are values driven, have an all of us or none of us perspective in their analysis and messaging, and they work across sectors and identities, recognizing the range of their constituents’ needs and rights.  Overbrook’s human rights grantmaking is currently focused on three programmatic initiatives and one initiative remains in development.

Internationally, the Foundation funds organizations that support human rights defenders at risk in Mesoamerica. As a part of this focus, Overbrook supports groups providing legal assistance, training, emergency grants, advocacy, accompaniment, networks and/or psychosocial support to human rights defenders at risk given the grave threats many activists face for engaging in their important human rights work.

Domestically, the Foundation currently awards grants in two areas.  First, it supports organizations challenging the undue influence of moneyed interests in the U.S. political system. These organizations are working to make our government and policy makers more accountable to the people by reforming the role of money in our political system.  The Foundation’s gender rights program currently supports organizations working across reproductive justice and LGBT rights issues. This includes a focus on funding organizations advancing the reproductive justice movement and those challenging overly broad religious exemptions being used to undermine LGBT rights, racial justice and reproductive justice.   

Finally, the Foundation is exploring a newer area of grantmaking using a human rights approach to challenge mass incarceration and criminalization, building on Overbrook’s long term support for organizations advancing a U.S. human rights movement.  This initiative remains in development.

As described above, the Foundation’s Human Rights grantmaking can be divided into the following initiatives:

For information about the Human Rights Program's past program areas, please see:


Header Photo: Courtesy of the New York Civil Liberties Union