Equal Rights in Action Fund

Democracy is more likely to develop and endure when all segments of a society are free to participate without suffering discrimination or reprisal. Recognizing the fundamental rights of all citizens, NDI has launched the Equal Rights in Action Fund (ERA Fund) to provide small grants to local organizations around the world who work to promote and defend the human rights of marginalized groups. Assistance provided through the ERA Fund is dedicated to achieving:
  1. Safe and Secure Environments
  2. Political Participation
  3. Empowered & Inclusive Movements & Organizations

These three objectives set the parameters of the Fund and its assistance to organizations led by and for different populations - including people with disabilities; ethnic and religious minorities; and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) communities.

To date, the ERA Fund has supported 49 organizations across 38 countries. In addition to financial resources, NDI provides ongoing technical assistance based on the particular needs and priorities of each grantee.  These relationships are structured to ensure open and honest feedback that flows in both directions. 

Organizations may apply to the ERA Fund only by invitation. In order to receive an invitation, organizations must be nominated by staff at local US Embassies or NDI offices. For LGBTI grantmaking, local embassies of countries that participate in the Global Equality Fund may also nominate organizations.

NDI is currently accepting nominations of LGBTI organizations from embassies in the following countries:

Angola, the Bahamas, Bangladesh, Belarus, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burma, Burundi, Cabo Verde, Cameroon, Chad, Cote d'Ivoire, DRC, Ecuador, Equatorial Guinea, Eswatini, Fiji, Gabon, Georgia, Ghana, Guyana, Haiti, Indonesia, Jamaica, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Mauritius, Moldova, North Macedonia, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Sudan, Suriname, Tajikistan, Thailand, Togo, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Uganda, Ukraine, Zimbabwe, other Pacific islands, and other Caribbean islands (excluding Cuba)

NDI is not accepting nominations from other countries at this time.

Embassies that can submit nominations include the United States and the following GEF partners: 

Argentina, Australia, Canada, Chile, Croatia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Italy, Montenegro, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Uruguay

LGBTI organizations interested in being nominated should contact local embassy staff. Organizations are not able to nominate themselves directly. The deadline for embassies to submit nominations is Friday, October 9, 2020.

 

Frequently Asked Questions:

  1. Who is eligible to apply to the ERA Fund?
    • Qualified applicants must be non-U.S or Western Europe. based regional and local non-governmental organizations (NGOs) or private, non-profit organizations, professional associations, and relevant special interest associations or coalitions, or fiscally sponsored by such. Unaffiliated individuals will not be eligible to receive awards. Applicants should be doing work toward long-term social change by and for marginalized communities. Organizations applying for funds must have a yearly budget of less than $500,000. 
  2. What is the average size of the awarded small grants?
    • Awards range in size from $15,000 to $50,000. 
  3. When is the ERA Fund accepting applications?
    • The application period for each round of grantmaking is determined on an annual basis. NDI will update this page to note when an application period is open.

For additional questions about the Equal Rights in Action Fund, please email: [email protected]

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