Overbrook Foundation Grant Program
The Overbrook Foundation
Grant amount: US $10,000 - US $210,000
Fields of work: Social Justice / Human Rights Environmental Conservation Sustainability Environmental Justice & Advocacy Reproductive Rights Sexuality & LGBTQ Rights
Applicant type: Government Entity, Nonprofit
Funding uses: Education / Outreach, General Operating Expense, Project / Program
Location of project: Central America, South America, United States
Location of residency: Central America, South America, United States
NOTE: The Overbrook Foundation does not accept unsolicited requests for support from organizations not currently funded by the Foundation. However, we remain committed to our primary fields of interest and are eager to hear news from organizations working in those areas of human and rights and the environment presently of priority to the Foundation.
The Overbrook Foundation is a progressive family foundation that supports organizations advancing human rights and conserving the natural environment.
Honoring the vision and dedication of its founders, Helen and Frank Altschul, The Overbrook Foundation:
- Honors its role as a steward of both the public trust and the Foundation's mission
- Advances programs ethically, responsibly and respectfully
- Is transparent and open
- Engages in its work in a deliberate and thoughtful way
- Takes measured risks
- Employs diverse approaches to seize opportunities and respond to challenges
- Supports social justice and environmental sustainability
- Promotes advocacy, accountability and reform of institutions and government
The Environment Program provides support to environmental organizations in the United States and in Latin America. In Latin America, the Program funds initiatives that advance biodiversity conservation and sustainable community development, with a specific focus on the Mesoamerican region. The Foundation’s Environment Program also seeks out initiatives, primarily in the United States, that tackle some of today’s biggest environmental challenges, including corporate and consumer practices, climate change, and waste. The Program’s Movement Building portfolio aims to understand and support movements – rather than specific organizations or issues – to make them stronger, more resilient, and more impactful.
The Foundation’s Environment Program will consider supporting organizations working on the following issues:
Latin American Biodiversity Conservation
The Overbrook Foundation recognizes the value of protecting endangered biodiversity and the vital environmental and social benefits it provides. The Biodiversity Conservation program area supports programs in Latin America, with a specific focus on Mesoamerica, where globally important species and ecosystems face a wide range of threats. The Foundation seeks out projects that create practical solutions to these threats, particularly those that promote sustainable livelihoods and engage local communities in conservation efforts.
Corporate and Consumer Practices
The Foundation’s Corporate and Consumer Practices program area supports organizations that build towards a sustainable future, particularly by shifting corporate and consumer environmental practices. Funded projects range from direct engagement with corporations, to activism against destructive industries, to public education and media that amplifies efforts to improve consumer behavior surrounding energy and consumption. These initiatives work towards a sustainable economy that relies less on destructive, extractive practices and more on renewable, circular production and consumption models. In seeking projects making an impact in these areas, the Foundation prioritizes organizations that are grassroots-led, that hold the potential to serve as industry or community “tipping points,” and that apply a climate change analysis to their work.
Advances in technology, the growth of social media, and increased global awareness and investment are providing new and exciting environmental tools. The Foundation began a small program area that invests in organizations that are creating, developing, and implementing new and innovative approaches to sustainability and conservation.
The Movement Building program area was created in 2014 in an effort to understand and support movements – rather than specific organizations or issues – to make them stronger, more resilient, and more impactful. This area supports organizations that build networks and alliances, recognize the interdependence of their work with that of other organizations, and seek to advance the mission of the broader progressive movement, beyond individual issue areas. While formally a part of the Foundation’s Environment Program, the Movement Building portfolio ties together the Environment and Human Rights Programs, emphasizing organizations that work in the intersections of both movements.
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:
You can learn more about this opportunity by visiting the funder's website.
- The Foundation makes grants only to organizations that meet Internal Revenue Code 501(c)(3) requirements as nonprofit, tax-exempt organizations or to qualified governmental units or agencies.
- The Foundation does not make grants to individuals and rarely for endowments, building campaigns, direct services, deficit financing, or religious purposes.
- Grant funds may not be used to participate in or intervene in any political campaign on behalf of or in opposition to any candidate for public office or to conduct, directly or indirectly, any voter registration drive (within the meaning of Section 4945(d)(2) of the Internal Revenue Code).
- Grants are not made for debt reduction.
- Funding for conferences, publications and media is limited to projects directly related to priorities in the Foundation’s program areas.
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