Types of Grants & Criteria

Urgent Action Fund was established to provide support to women and trans human rights defenders or organizations led by women or trans* activists when an unexpected situation arises that requires an immediate and time-urgent response to uphold human rights.

Urgent Action Fund’s Rapid Response Grants complement traditional donor funding in cases of crises, emergencies, or opportunities that are not expected or predictable, and when funding is needed immediately to address the current situation.

Before applying for a Rapid Response Grant please review our Types of Grants, Grant Criteria, and information on our Geographic Focus below.


Urgent Action Fund provides two types of Rapid Response Grants. To receive a Rapid Response Grant, your proposal must fall under at least one of these situations:

  1. Security Grants – The safety and security of women or trans* human rights defenders/activists/organizations is threatened due to their human rights work.
  2. Opportunity Grants – An unexpected moment or opportunity for advocacy or mobilization that may result in advancements for women’s and LBTQI’s rights, such as changes in legal decisions, policy and laws, or a shift in public attitudes and practices in their local context.


Grant proposals must fit four Criteria:

  1. Women/Trans-led – women/trans people must be the primary decision-makers in the organization, group, or action.
  2. Women or Trans Human Rights Focus – the actions proposed will promote the advancement of women’s or trans human rights using nonviolent tactics or strategies.
  3. Unanticipated and Time Urgent – the specific event or situation your organization is responding to was unanticipated, and actions must happen quickly to be effective. Actions must be implemented within 3 months of approval of an application.
  4. Supported/Networked – the group has the support of others involved in women’s human rights or related fields, locally or globally.

For applicants from the United States, please note that Urgent Action Fund prioritizes funding for organizations that have an operating budget size of less than $1 Million.


This Urgent Action Fund provides Rapid Response Grants to women and transgender human rights defenders or to organizations led by these activists in Central Asia, the Middle East, Eastern or Western Europe, The South Caucasus, Canada, Russia, Turkey, and the United States.

Our Sister Fund Urgent Action Funds provide support to defenders in Africa, Latin America & the Spanish speaking Caribbean, East and South Asia or the Pacific. Applications from these regions must be sent directly to the appropriate Sister Fund.

To apply for support in Africa, please send all inquiries directly to our Sister Fund, Urgent Action Fund-Africa, at: proposals@urgentactionfund-africa.or.ke.

To apply for support in Latin America: please send all inquiries directly to our Sister Fund, Urgent Action Fund – Latin America, at: apoyos@fondoaccionurgente.org.co.

UAF- Latin America is no longer funding in the Caribbean. We suggest checking back next year to see if they have been able to expand their work. For more information, please see UAF-LA website: https://fondoaccionurgente.org.co/

UAF – LA ne fournit plus de financements dans cette région. UAF-LA n’est pas actif non plus dans votre pays mais vous suggère de les contacter l’année prochaine pour voir si ce fonds a pu élargir les régions qu’il finance. Pour plus d’informations, veuillez consulter le site web de UAF-LA: https://fondoaccionurgente.org.co/

To apply for support in Asia and the Pacific: please send all inquiries directly to our Sister Fund Urgent Action Fund – Asia & the Pacific, at:grants@uafanp.org.


Urgent Action Fund does not fund the following types of requests:

  • Cisgender[1] male-led organizations or networks.
  • Individual requests without an organization or network affiliation.
  • Projects focused on long-term development aid or charity assistance.
  • Natural disaster relief.
  • Annual operating budgets and/or bridge funding (to fill a funding gap).

[1] A cisgender person is someone who identifies as the gender and sex that person was assigned at birth.

Approval Process: Urgent Action Fund’s grantmaking is informed by our country and regional advisors on whom we rely on for assessment of recommended applications. Final decisions are communicated to applicants after we have received endorsements from advisors, Urgent Action Fund’s peer networks, or references provided by the applicant.

Confidentiality note: The proposal will only be shared with regional and country advisors, or Urgent Action Fund’s trusted contacts as needed. We respect and value the privacy and confidentiality needs of our partners, particularly in contexts where security is a concern.

Things to know about applying to Urgent Action Fund:

  • We accept grant applications in any language, 365 days per year.
  • We will respond to your request within 24 hours; however, proposals in languages other than Arabic, English, Spanish, Russian, or French may require additional time for translation.
  • The maximum grant request can be up to $8,000 USD.
  • Once a grant has been approved, funds are usually delivered within 1 to 10 days.
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