Below you will find Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Urgent Action Fund’s grantmaking.

What does unanticipated/time urgent mean to Urgent Action Fund?

It means that something unexpected has happened in the course of your work that is outside the scope of your planning and there is an urgent need to respond, either to protect an individual or organization that is suddenly at risk, or to take advantage of an opportunity to protect or promote women’s human rights in your community or beyond. This is the core of Urgent Action Funds Rapid Response Grants program and is the reason why we were founded: women’s human rights activists said that they needed a funder who would support responses to unanticipated situations and opportunities for action that need urgent attention.

What is the time frame for actions you support?

We provide grants for efforts that take place in short-term, unfolding, precedent-setting situations. Security requests should take place within 3 months of fund disbursal. Opportunity requests should take place within 6 months of funds disbursal. (Note: We cannot provide support for an action that is planned months in advance, as this would fail to meet our “unanticipated” criteria.)

I work for a development organization and want to write a project to support women. Can I apply?

Please review the criteria before applying. It is not within Urgent Action Fund’s mandate to fund previously planned projects.

What is the maximum grant amount?

$8,000 USD.

I am an activist affiliated with a local women’s rights organization. Those threatening me are also targeting my family. Will an Urgent Action Fund security grant also offer support to my family?

Yes! Urgent Action Fund understands the risks inherent in human rights work. When we support a threatened WHRD, we understand it is imperative to support her family as well.

I am an individual activist. Can I apply for a grant?

Urgent Action Fund supports individual activists who are affiliated with an organization or movement. The support of a women’s organization (local, national or international) is required when you apply. If an individual activist is threatened and needs support for herself and her family, an organization can apply for a security grant, which is a type of Rapid Response Grant, or evacuation grant on her behalf.

Can LGBTQI (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Questioning, Intersex) rights organizations apply?

Yes! We are committed to supporting LGBTQI activists and organizations. We support mixed-gender/trans organizations as long as women/trans are in key leadership positions.

Does my organization have to be registered in my country?

No. Urgent Action Fund does not require organizations to have official registration. We understand that in some areas this can put activists and organizations at greater risk. When possible, we send funds to a fiscal sponsor organization.

Do you support coalitions?

Yes! Due to the nature of our grantmaking, we also support networks and coalitions that come together for a common and/or urgent cause. Networks or coalitions use a fiscal sponsor to receive grant funds on their behalf.

What countries are eligible for funding?

Urgent Action Fund has four Sister Funds that cover all countries throughout the world.

  • If you are applying for funds in Africa, apply to Urgent Action Fund-Africa.
  • If you are applying for funds in Latin America, apply to Urgent Action Fund-Latin America.
  • If you are applying for funds in Asia or the Pacific, apply to Urgent Action Fund-Asia Pacific.
  • If you are applying for funds in the Middle East, Central Asia, Eastern or Western Europe, The South Caucasus, United States, Turkey, Russia, or Canada, please apply to this Urgent Action Fund office. If you are located in one of these regions, apply here.

If you have questions about where to apply, email proposals@urgentactionfund.org.

My language is not listed on your website. Can I apply in other languages?

Yes! Urgent Action Fund will accept proposals in any language. We apologize if a language you need is not on our website. We recommend using Google Translate to view text in your own language.

I would like to attend a conference that will broaden my understanding of women’s human rights. Can I apply?

No. It does not fall within UAF’s mandate to provide grants for conference attendance. Rare exceptions occur when an unanticipated opportunity arises to make a special presentation at a conference that will have a precedent-setting impact on women’s human rights.

I want to apply for a Rapid Response Grant, but I’m not sure if I am eligible. Can I contact someone to get more information?

Yes! Please feel free to contact us. You can send an email to: proposals@urgentactionfund.org, send an SMS to +1 415-496-6365 or call +1 415-824-8384. We will respond to you as quickly as possible.

What are “women’s human rights defenders”?

Urgent Action Fund supports women’s human rights defenders (or WHRDs) throughout the world. This term is used by the United Nations and many international organizations to highlight the work by activists on the ground.

The United Nations defines “human rights defenders” as such:
“To be a human rights defender, a person can act to address any human right (or rights) on behalf of individuals or groups. Human rights defenders seek the promotion and protection of civil and political rights as well as the promotion, protection and realization of economic, social and cultural rights.”

This distinction of “human rights defender” for activists working on the protection or fulfillment of human rights was given international recognition and protection through the passage of the United Nations Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (commonly known as the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders). The UN General Assembly adopted this document in December 1998 after 14 years of negotiation.

The Women Human Rights Defenders International Coalition (WHRD IC) provides further definition for women’s human rights activists: “Those advocating for women’s human rights – no matter what gender or sexual orientation they claim – are in fact human rights defenders. Their gender or the nature of their work has made them the subject of attacks, requiring gender-sensitive mechanisms for their protection and support.”