Education Resources for LGBTI Philanthropy
Created by Arcus Foundation, 2017
(updated August 2020)
International LGBT Inclusive Funders
Alert – Alert is an independent fund that supports progressive projects by and for youth, all over the world, with small-scale subsidies.
American Jewish World Service – AJWS supports advocates who defend human rights and work to advance civil and political rights at all levels of society, from local communities to national courts. Together, they are demanding safety for human rights activists and building powerful social movements to usher in equal rights, justice and peace.
Amplify Change – A fund which aims to empower young people, men and women to realise their sexual and reproductive rights. Amplify Change’s vision is to help to secure universal recognition of sexual and reproductive health and rights as human rights, enabling women, men and young people to realise their full potential in safe and supportive environments.
Arcus Foundation – The Arcus Foundation is a leading global foundation dedicated to the idea that people can live in harmony with one another and the natural world. Arcus believes that respect for diversity among peoples and in nature is essential to a positive future for our planet and all its inhabitants. They work with experts and advocates for change to ensure that LGBT people and our fellow apes thrive in a world where social and environmental justice are a reality.
Astraea Foundation – Astraea supports lesbian, trans, intersex and LGBTQI groups that promote racial, economic and gender justice and mobilize communities to challenge oppression and claim rights. They fund groups in the United States, primarily led by LGBTQI people of color, and groups across the globe. They strengthen LGBTQI groups by providing flexible general support grants ranging from $5,000 to $30,000 per year in two funding cycles.
The Baring Foundation – The purpose of The Baring Foundation is to improve the quality of life of people experiencing disadvantage and discrimination. They aim to achieve this through making grants to voluntary and other civil society organisations and by adding value through promoting knowledge and influencing others.
Dreilinden – Dreilinden supports social acceptance of gender and sexual diversity by means of grants to existing organizations and project grants, as well as by social investments, and networking. Applications are accepted by invitation only.
Ford Foundation – The Ford Foundations works to enhance public understanding of inequality based on gender, race, and ethnicity, our work supports new kinds of organizing, networks, collaboration, and strategies that include and go beyond the gains made through legal and policy advocacy. They engage groups that are testing new strategies and alliances and that are expanding tactics beyond shifting rules to advancing cultural change.
Foundation for a Just Society – Foundation for a Just Society envisions a world without discrimination — where people are equally valued regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, economic status, or sexual orientation. It understands that gender-based discrimination intersects with other aspects of a person’s identities and circumstances and partners with organizations whose visions of realizing women’s and LGBTI rights cut across multiple issues. FJS provides grants to strengthen movements that advance the human rights of women, girls, and LGBTI people globally — with particular attention given to work in Central America, Francophone West Africa, South and Southeast Asia, and the US Southeast. Through direct grantmaking, capacity building, strategic communications, and leadership in philanthropy, FJS encourages braver strategies and bolder leadership in global movements for women’s and LGBTI rights. It makes 1, 2, and 3-year general operating grants ranging from $25,000 to $500,000/year to local, national, regional, and global organizations. Applications are accepted by invitation only.
Fund for Global Human Rights – The Fund makes grants to local, national, and regional non-profit, human rights organizations based in the countries where we have grant programs. Programs are currently in Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt, India, Pakistan, Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Uganda, Burundi, Thailand, the Philippines, and Burma. The Fund defines human rights activities as those that seek to challenge the structures of power so that they defend, protect, and promote human rights. The Fund does not have thematic restrictions and supports organizations working to address a wide range of human rights problems.
Global Fund for Women – GFW gives “core” funding that helps provide for fundamental things: rent, salaries, computers, travel, training, security, and electricity. They then help women’s groups connect to other local, national, or regional groups to share, learn, and rally together to drive change.
Hirschfeld Eddy Foundation – The Hirschfeld-Eddy-Foundation provides concrete assistance, through international networking and cooperation with partner organizations in the global South and Eastern Europe, for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersexual (LGBTI) people under threat.
Hivos International – Hivos cooperates with defenders of equal rights in Africa, Asia, Central America and South America.
Human Rights Watch – Hellman Hammett Grants – Human Rights Watch administers the Hellman/Hammett grant program for writers all around the world who have been victims of political persecution and are in financial need ($10,000 grants).
International Gay and Lesbian Association of the European Region (ILGA – Europe) – ILGA-Europe does not provide recurring funding to LGBTI organizations, but small grants, usually in the context of capacity development and advocacy opportunities in Europe. ILGA-Europe also works to increase funding available in Europe and to ensure that the needs of the LGBTI movement in Europe are understood by funders.
Mama Cash – Mama Cash awards grants to groups, organizations and networks led by and working for the human rights of women, girls and trans people. They provide core grants that support entire organizations as opposed to isolated projects or events.
Open Society Foundations – The Open Society Foundations award grants, scholarships, and fellowships to organization and individuals who are working to build vibrant and tolerant democracies whose governments are accountable to their citizens.
- Open Society Initiative for Eastern Africa
- Open Society Initiative for Europe
- Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa
The Other Foundation – The Other Foundation is an African trust that gathers support for those who are working to protect and advance the rights, wellbeing and social inclusion of homosexual and bisexual women and men as well as transgender and intersex people in Southern Africa.
Planet Romeo – The Foundation supports projects that aim to improve the position of LGBTI people all over the world, with emphasis on the most disadvantaged communities and locations. Projects focus on three priority themes: Safety & Shelter, Education and Sports & Culture. Grant awards range from 500 Euro to 5.000 Euro. Application deadlines are January 1, April 1, July 1, and October 1.
Sigrid Rausing Trust – The SRT supports organizations working to enhance the legal standing and social acceptance of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex people. They have a particular interest in the relationship between discriminatory laws, homophobia and violence. Applications are accepted by invitation only.
Sundance – The Sundance Documentary Fund provides strategic financial support to cinematic, feature documentaries from independent filmmakers globally. They provide $1M-$2M in non-recoupable financing annually across all stages of development, production, post-production, and strategic audience engagement.
UHAI EASHRI – UHAI – the East African Sexual Health and Rights Initiative is an indigenous activist fund which provides flexible, accessible resources to support civil society activism around issues of sexuality, health and human rights in the East African region (Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi) with a specific focus on the rights of sexual minorities, including sex workers. UHAI EASHRI aims to build a strong, diverse and organized movement for change through grant making, capacity support and convening.
XminusY – XminusY supports social movements, action groups and change makers who are fighting for a fair, democratic, sustainable and tolerant world. Direct action grants with a maximum grant of 3.000 Euro.
Government/ Multilateral Donors
European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR) – EIDHR awards grants through competitive calls for proposals listed on their website. These calls for proposals may be launched either by European Union delegations on the ground (“Country-Based Support Schemes”) or by European Commission headquarters in Brussels. Applicants have to follow the instructions given in the “guidelines for applicants” for each call. Grant amounts vary depending on proposal request. (10.000 euro +)
European Endowment for Democracy – European Union Fund for countries bordering the EU (including those in North Africa and Middle East).
Global Equality Fund – LGBT International Fund at the United States Department of State, which operates though specific calls for proposals and small grants via US embassies.
National Endowment for Democracy – The NED is a nonprofit organization created to strengthen democratic institutions around the world through nongovernmental efforts. The Endowment is guided by the belief that freedom is a universal human aspiration that can be realized through the development of democratic institutions, procedures, and values. With its annual US Congress appropriation, it makes hundreds of grants each year to support prodemocracy groups in Africa, Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East.
The following embassies may also be contacted for inquiries about funding for LGBT causes: Australia, Belgium, Canada, Finland, Germany, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States (ask for the officer in charge of grants and/or civil society/human rights).
U.S. Embassy Small Grants Programs – Many U.S. Embassies around the world offer small grants programs to support civil society. Please refer to the website for the U. S. Embassy in your country and/or inquire with your contacts at the embassy for more information.
Freedom House – The Dignity for All: LGBTI Assistance Program provides emergency funds, advocacy support, and security assistance to human rights defenders and civil society organizations under threat or attack due to their work for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) human rights.
Front Line Defenders – Front Line Defenders Security Grants can pay for organizational and personal provisions to improve the security and protection of human rights defenders and their organizations. Grants can pay to improve physical security of an organization, digital security, communication security, and legal fees for HRDs who are being judicially harassed. They can pay for medical fees for HRDs who have been attacked or who have suffered a medical condition as a result of their peaceful human rights activities. They can also provide family assistance for imprisoned HRDs. Grants are for amounts up to a maximum of €7,500.
Gender-Based Violence Emergency Response and Protection Initiative – U.S. Department of State and USAID, the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor (DRL) launched the GBV Emergency Response and Protection Initiative to provide urgent assistance to threatened individuals with rapid, targeted, short term assistance. To refer potential emergency cases, contact GBVresponse@gmail.com for review, vetting, and follow up.
Lifeline: Assistance Fund for Embattled Civil Society Organizations – The Lifeline Embattled CSO Assistance Fund provides emergency financial assistance to civil society organizations (CSOs) under threat or attack and advocacy support responding to broader threats to civil society.
Urgent Action Fund for Women’s Human Rights – Rapid Response Grants are a funding tool used to support interventions by activists in a strategic and timely manner. Urgent Action Fund accepts requests 365 days per year, in any language, from activists around the world. Each request receives a response within 72 hours and funds can be wired within a week. Requests can be made for up to $5,000 USD.
The purpose of this document to provide a comprehensive and fluid list of academic and funding opportunities for scholars and activists in the Global South.
The structure of the list is as follows: scholarships for international students, scholarships for LGBTQ+ students, academic opportunities for studying international human rights with significant funding, studying international human rights with seemingly lesser funding, other forms of training in human rights, and master’s programs in queer studies.
The situation for funding changes frequently and this list attempts to organize based on what seems to be current available opportunities. Note that in addition to scholarships, many U.S. programs also provide work study. Many PhD and Masters programs will provide positions for students as teaching assistants and cover tuition or offer scholarships and assistance if they want you as a student.
Guides to Funding and Higher Education Applications
Scholarships for International Students
Aga Khan Foundation Scholarship Programme
Need-based scholarships for African students.
Asia Foundation Development Fellows
Merit-based scholarships for students from developing countries in Asia.
British Council scholarships
For Indian students to study in the UK.
Canadian Commonwealth Scholarships
For postgraduate students within the Canadian commonwealth wishing to study in Canada.
Chevening is the UK government’s international awards scheme aimed at developing global leaders. Chevening offers two types of award – Chevening Scholarships and Chevening Fellowships – the recipients of which are personally selected by British Embassies and High Commissions throughout the world.
For master’s students from developing countries in Asia, Africa, Pacific Islands, Central and South America and central and Eastern Europe to study in Germany.
Dag Hammarskjöld Journalism Fellowships
Journalism fellowships for African, Asian, Latin American and Caribbean nationals.
East-West Center Scholarships and Fellowships
Funding aimed at nationals from the Asia-Pacific region to study in the US at specific institutions.
Erasmus-Mundus – India4EU II
For Indian nationals to study in Europe.
Erasmus Mundus Scholarships
Initiative led by the European Commission to provide funding for students all over the world to study in Europe at selected institutions.
IOE – Commonwealth Distance Scholarships
Commonwealth scholarships for African students from Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Kenya. Distance learning with a restricted choice of programs.
IOE – Conicyt Chile
For Chilean nationals to study a master’s in education anywhere in the world.
INSEAD Business School International Students Scholarships
Over 50 different business school scholarships, many aimed at students from a number of developing regions.
Lalji LSE PfAL Scholarship Programme, London School of Economics
Academic scholarships for African students with leadership potential to study at the London School of Economics (LSE) on a related master’s degree program.
MasterCard Foundation Scholarships
For African, Latin American and Caribbean students to study in Costa Rica.
MSFS Full-Tuition Scholarship, Georgetown University
Scholarships for Africans from sub-Saharan Africa to study in the US on the Master of Science in Foreign Service (MSFS) program at Georgetown University in Washington DC.
President Obama’s Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders
Scholarships for African students from sub-Saharan African countries to study in the US and gain leadership and business skills.
Ruth First Scholarship, Durham University
Scholarships for Africans from Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe to undertake postgraduate study in the UK at Durham University.
Saïd Foundation Scholarships
For Iraqi, Jordanian, Lebanese, Palestinian and Syrian postgraduate students to study in the UK.
Slovak Government Scholarships
Funding provided by the Slovak government, for students from developing countries.
Southern African Scholarships, The University of Edinburgh
Merit-based graduate scholarships to study in the UK at the University of Edinburgh (Scotland) on a master’s or PhD program. Open to Southern African students from Angola, Botswana, the Congo, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Swedish Institute Study Scholarships
Scholarships for full-time master’s students from developing countries, covering tuition fees and living costs.
Tullow Group Scholarship Scheme
Postgraduate scholarships for African students from Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya and Uganda to study in the UK at selected universities. Students from the Ivory Coast and Mauritania also have opportunities to study in France.
Wells Mountain Foundation
For students from developing countries to study at home or in another developing country.
Zawadi Africa Education Fund Scholarships for Young African Women
For female students from Uganda, Ghana, South Africa and Kenya to study in the US.
Scholarships Relating to LGBT Development
Asian Pacific Islander Queer Women & Transgender Community
Supports API Queer and Transgender women in pursuit of technical/professional training or a bachelor degree and recognizes those who are active in the LGBT community
Colin Higgins Youth Courage Scholarship
Awarded to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Two Spirit, Queer and Questioning youth activists (through age 20) who have transformed their experiences with bigotry and discrimination into opportunities to inspire others by taking action, rallying support, building community, and working to change the systems and institutions that impact their lives.
Davis Putter Scholarship Fund
Funds needs-based scholarships for students actively working toward peace and justice at an accredited institution.
The Dawn Wilson Scholarship for LGBTQ+ Students of Color
Dawn Wilson Scholarship will be awarded to subsidize the cost of higher education at the University of Louisville for undergraduate LGBTQ+ students of color. The amount of the scholarship will be determined by funds available at the time the scholarships are granted.
Scholarship available for LGBTI (lesbian, gay, trans- and intersexual persons) activists participating in the MA Programme in Development Studies at the International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University Rotterdam.
Fund for Gay and Lesbian Scholarships (FLAGS)
This fund provides financial assistance to gay, lesbian, and bisexual students involved in the community. The scholarship amount varies and depends on financial need. The deadline is mid-September for the current school year.
Gamma Mu Foundation
Grants scholarships to gay men pursuing vocational or academic training, with preference given to those who are from or plan to attend school in an underserved area, and to those who have overcome significant discrimination and/or marginalization in their community.
Additionally, this foundation offers the Folisi & Goodwin Scholarship In Memory of Ray Williams to a member of the broader LGBTQ+ community with preference based on the same standards mentioned above.
The Gene and John Athletic Scholarship
Offers scholarships of $2,500 and $5,000 with a reliable pool of resources (both monetary and community-based) to gay and lesbian athletes looking to continue their education while pursuing athletics in order to help them reach their potential and realize their dreams.
Human Rights Campaign
List of scholarships, fellowships and grants for LGBT and allied students at both the undergraduate and graduate-level.
LGBT Liberation Scholarship
The LGBT Liberation Scholarship honors students courage in the face of adversity and discrimination by awarding $1,000 – $2,500 individual grants to LGBTQIA activists who have transformed their experiences with bigotry and discrimination into opportunities to inspire others.
Live Out Loud
Provides financial support for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) youth who are pursuing a college degree.
Messenger-Anderson Journalism Scholarship
Funds scholarships for GLBT students pursuing a degree and/or career in journalism.
National AIDS Memorial Grove Young Leaders Scholarship Program
Awards up to $2,500 to high school seniors or college undergraduates who have demonstrated leadership in HIV/AIDS awareness and advocacy.
The Pinnacle Foundation
Scholarships provided for 16-24 year old LGBTIQ* students who desire to undertake full-time education at a public or private secondary school (final year) or public institution of higher education in Australia.
Awards scholarships to LGBTQ+ students (enrolled in the USA) based on academic track record, commitment to bettering the LGBTQ+ community, and financial need.
Offers an essay-writing contest that may result in a scholarship towards college studies.
Academic Opportunities for International Human Rights (Significant Funding)
American University District of Columbia, USA
American University has a highly diverse student body comprising more than 1,600 international students. AU offers partial scholarships to international students to help defray the cost of tuition. For more information on financial aid, please visit:
Auckland University of Technology Auckland, New Zealand
Master of Human Rights
The Auckland University of Technology offers a Master’s degree in Human Rights through covering theory and skills related to advocacy, treaty body reporting, human rights campaigns and media and communication strategies. The university also offers a scholarship for the Master of Human Rights.
Balsillie School for International Affairs Waterloo, Ontario
MIPP—Master of International Public Policy
The Basillie School for International Affairs offers two advanced degree programs related to human rights work. The school has a commitment to the financial assistance of students, and offers several awards and scholarships to provide for them.
Brock University St. Catharines, Ontario
MA in Social Justice and Equity Studies
Brock University offers a Master of Arts in Social Justice and Equity Studies. According to the university, “Our program seeks to enact an emancipatory politics of knowledge in favouring voices and perspectives that have been historically marginalized and who are actively resisting domination.” Financial aid through Brock University is offered through scholarships, assistantships, and various fellowships.
Central European University Budapest, Hungary
MA in Human Rights
The Central European University offers a Master of Arts in Human Rights. This program combines social science, policy-based approach with legal science to address important questions in Human Rights, and there are several outlets available for financial assistance.
City University London, UK
MA in International Politics and Human Rights
City University London offers a program that combines international political analysis and a theoretical and empirical approach to human rights issues. The university provides various scholarships specifically for international students.
European Inter-University Centre for Human Rights and Democratisation, San Nicolo, Italy
European Master’s Programme (E.MA) in Human Rights and Democratisation
This program uses an action- and policy-oriented approach to learning that combines legal, political, historical, anthropological, and philosophical perspectives with skills building activities. EIUC offers financial support in the form of a partial contribution towards living expenses and/or a full or partial tuition waiver.
Higher School of Economics, Russia
International Institute for Social Studies The Hague, Netherlands
MA in Human Rights, Gender and Conflict Studies: Social Justice Perspectives
Located in Rotterdam, this ISS program offers critical reflections on issues relating to gender, human rights, conflict and social mobilization, which are all key to social justice. There are a variety of scholarships available to those wishing to study at the institute.
London School of Economics London, England
MSc in Human Rights
The London School and Economics is one of the leading academic institutions in the world, and offers an MSc in the study of human rights. There are several scholarships offered by LSE itself, as well as a wealth of external scholarships available to international students.
School for International Training Battleboro, USA
University of Bergamo, Italy
Master’s Degree in Human Rights and the Ethics of International Cooperation
This Master Degree Program seeks to provide graduates with intellectual tools and practical skills required to function in a multi-faceted and contradictory world of international cooperation. At UB, students are able to pay fees according to their financial status, and are also offered a number of small scholarships to defray the cost of tuition.
University of Glasgow, Scotland
MA in Human Rights and International Politics
This programme offers a thorough academic analysis of one of the most salient and pressing issues in the contemporary world: the place of individual human rights in a system of international relations. The University of Glasgow has an extensive database of scholarships available, including to international students.
Universität Hamburg, Germany
MA in Human Rights and Democratisation
The European Master’s Degree in Human Rights and Democratisation is a one-year, multidisciplinary academic postgraduate program run jointly by 41 European universities and institutes. The university abolished tuition fees in 2012, yet still provides external scholarships to aid in living expenses.
University of London, UK
MA in Refugee Protection and Forced Migration Studies
The University of London provides Masters degrees related to human rights, both in the theoretical understandings of the field, as well as the first major to focus on refugee protection and forced migration. UL maintains a significant database where scholarships may be browsed by academic department and country of origin.
University of Oxford, UK
Master’s in International Human Rights Law
At one of the oldest academic institutions in the world, the purpose of the Master’s programme at Oxford University is to develop your understanding of, and ability to use, international human rights law. The university offers scholarships to students broadly, as well as those specifically pertaining to the IHRL major.
University of Sussex Brighton, UKd
MA in Human Rights
Human rights at Sussex goes beyond a narrow legalistic approach and explores how human rights are socially embedded in wider processes of poverty, violence, identity, globalisation and the emergence of global forms of governance. University of Sussex offers a number of scholarships to Global South students based on geographic location.
Other Academic Opportunities in Human Rights (Lesser Funding)
Addis Ababa University Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Arizona State University Tempe, USA
Bard College Annandale-On-Hudson, USA
Bologna University, Italy
Boston University Boston, USA
Carleton University Ottawa, Onatario
Columbia University New York, USA
MA in Human Rights Studies
MA in International Affairs
Curtin University Perth, Australia
Faculté Libre de Droit Lille, France
Harvard University Cambridge, USA
Academic Human Rights Program at Harvard Law School
Specialization in Conflict and Peace Studies
Specialization in Human Rights
Leuphana University of Luneburg Luneberg, Germany
National University of Ireland Various locations, Ireland
Makerere University Kampala, Uganda
New York University New York, USA
Paris School of International Affairs Paris, France
Rutgers University New Brunswick, New Jersey, USA
MS in Global Affairs
Concentration in Genocide, Political Violence, and Human Rights
Ryerson University Toronto, Ontario
South Methodist University Dallas, Texas, USA
BA in Human Rights
Minor in Human Rights
Trinity College Hartford, USA
University of Auckland Auckland, New Zealand
Université de Bourgogne Dijon, France
University of California Various locations, California, USA
Université Catholique de Lyon Lyon, France
University College of London London, England
University of Dayton Dayton, USA
University of Denver Denver, USA
University of Essex Colchester, England
University of Gothenburg Gothenburg, Sweden
Université Grenoble-Alpes Grenoble, France
University of Minnesota Minneapolis, USA
Université de Nantes, France
University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, USA
University of Oslo, Norway
Université Paris Saclay Saint-Aubin, France
Université Paris 1 (Panthéon-Sorbonne) Paris, France
Université Paris 10 (Paris Ouest-Nanterre) Nanterre, France
Université de Pau et des Pays de l’Adour Pau, Pyrénées-Atlantiques, France
University for Peace San Jose, Costa Rica
University of Roehampton London, England
Université de Strasbourg, France
Master in Human Rights, concentrations in:
University of Sydney, Australia
University of Toronto, Canada
University of Virginia Charlottesville, USA
Utrecht University, Netherlands
Vrije Universiteit (Free University) Amsterdam, Netherlands
Webster University Webster Grove, USA
Yale University New Haven, USA
York University Toronto, Ontario
Other Forms of Training in Human Rights
Boston College, USA
Boston University, USA
Columbia University New York, USA
Human Rights Advocates Program (Funding Available)
Harvard University Cambridge, USA
London School of Economics, UK
Rockwood Leadership Institute Oakland, USA
Several public trainings focused on capacity-building for leaders in social justice non-profit and philanthropic organizations
Rutgers University New Brunswick, USA
University of Chicago, USA
University of Connecticut Mansfield, USA
University of Massachusetts Boston, USA
Queer and Gender Studies Masters Programs
Central European University Budapest, Hungary
Goldsmiths University of London, UK
Birkbeck University of London, UK
University of Birmingham, United Kingdom
Queen’s University Kingston Kingston, Canada
University of Toronto, Canada
York University Toronto, Canada
University of British Columbia Vancouver, Canada
Rutgers New Brunswick, USA
SOAS University of London, UK
University of Manchester, UK