posted on 9/14/2023
Climate, Crisis, and Care: Our Approach to Philanthropic and Policy Advocacy
Urgent Action Fund was founded in 1997 when feminist activists around the world said they needed a Fund that could provide grants quickly and with very little bureaucracy in order to respond to critical human rights situations. From the beginning, our mission to resource intersectional feminist movements has included a commitment to philanthropic advocacy, with the goal of equipping feminist activists with the significant resources they need to transform society.
Through our advocacy work, we aim to increase access to human rights spaces for feminist activists, improve the quantity and quality of resources available to fund movements, and help ensure protection for those on the frontlines of mitigating and visibilizing rights violations and conflict.
Why is Urgent Action Fund for Feminist Activism Uniquely Positioned in the Advocacy Space?
- Removing Barriers to Entry: Feminist movements in most of the regions we serve have historically had limited engagement in multilateral spaces like the UN, have faced particular barriers (e.g. visa restrictions, travel bans), and have reported that they benefit from our support and accompaniment in these spaces. Consequently, we support and amplify our partners’ advocacy efforts and engage in advocacy with them.
- Our Geographic Location: Due to our location in the United States, we have close proximity to geopolitical power hubs in the U.S. and Europe, such as the UN human rights and peacekeeping institutions as well as the European Union, which gives us unique access to these decision-makers, and the spaces in which to influence them.
- Strengthening Connections: Finally, many of the movements we serve are in crisis. We are strategically positioned – because of our proximity to the UN, our expertise in UN human rights advocacy, and our feminist analysis on crisis and response – to strengthen connections between humanitarian actors and feminist human rights movements.
Advocating for a Better Future
While Urgent Action Fund for Feminist Activism has always engaged in philanthropic advocacy, since 2015, we have expanded our efforts to policy advocacy to better support the work of our grantees. We aim to influence not only the quantity and quality of funding available to feminist activists but also policy decisions that impact the safety and rights of activists, as access to resources and protection are interconnected and indispensable for movements to thrive.
Finally, as a grantmaking organization that is directly plugged into the movements themselves, we have real time information about the most pressing issues that feminist movements are facing today. Grounded in that data, we are choosing to focus our advocacy work on the following three areas, which reflect the priorities of the movements we support and fill key gaps in the overall advocacy landscape:
- Climate and Environmental Justice: We aim to ensure protection for feminist environmental defenders, amplify their voices in climate advocacy spaces, and advocate for resources to advance climate justice from a feminist perspective.
- Collective Care and Protection: We seek to strengthen protections for feminist human rights and environmental defenders to address reprisals while resourcing them to build a holistic infrastructure of care for themselves and their movements.
- Crisis and Response: We aim to clarify a conceptual framework for feminist crisis response and shift humanitarian responses towards equipping movements to address the root causes of crises before they begin.
Advocacy is a central element of our work here at Urgent Action Fund for Feminist Activism and we view it as critically important to challenge systems of oppression, mobilize resources and support to grow feminist movements, and strengthen the resiliency of intersectional feminist activist movements worldwide.
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Three Ways Funders Can Act Today to Protect Reproductive Rights
The United States Supreme Court reversed Roe v Wade, a decision that protected the right of millions of people across the country to an abortion without government interference. Today’s decision changes that, and people across the country find their reproductive rights further restricted and access to abortions considerably limited. Here are three ways other funders can step up for a pro-choice future.
The Potential Consequences of Overturning Roe V. Wade
At Urgent Action Fund for Feminist Activism, we fund and support many reproductive justice organizations, the organizations that help abortion seekers in times of need, raise awareness around legal policies, and mobilize women, trans men, and non-binary persons to protect their reproductive rights. We will continue to support these abortion funds and reproductive justice organizations today – and when and if Roe is overturned.