The Disability Rights Fund focuses all grantmaking on disabled persons’ organizations (DPOs) working in specific countries. Grants should be used to advance the human rights of all persons with disabilities and to ensure equitable and inclusive societies for all, using the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).
Disabled persons’ organizations or DPOs are representative organizations or groups of persons with disabilities (PWDs), where PWDs constitute a majority of the overall staff, board, and volunteers in all levels of the organization. It includes organizations of relatives of PWDs (only those representing children with disabilities, people with intellectual disabilities, and/or the Deafblind) where a primary aim of these organizations is empowerment and the growth of self-advocacy of persons with disabilities.
DPOs have an understanding of disability in accordance with the social model.
DRF encourages applications from DPOs representing marginalized sectors of the disability community.
- Legally registered non-governmental organizations, which are Disabled Persons Organizations (DPOs); or
- Groups of persons with disabilities acting under the fiscal sponsorship thereof;
- Partnerships between self-help or self-advocacy groups of people with disabilities and other civil society organizations;
Small Grants are aimed at DPOs operating at sub-national levels. Partnerships are encouraged.
Examples include, but are not limited to:
- Increasing DPO knowledge on specific CRPD articles, for instance those referring to legal capacity and the autonomy to make decisions (Articles 12, 15, 17, 19), to inform concrete advocacy to government in those areas;
- Advocating for the establishment of local disability rights focal points to monitor CRPD implementation in close consultation with DPOs, in line with Article 33;
- In line with Article 4, advocating for concrete changes in local policy and legislation to accord with the CRPD. This could be done for example by: a) assessing accordance of local laws or polices with the CRPD to inform proposals for policy and legislative reform, where needed, or b) gathering information on human rights abuses of PWDs to inform policy advocacy;
- In line with Article 28, developing advocacy strategies to include PWDs as beneficiaries of local poverty reduction strategies and social protection programs.
A fiscal sponsor is a registered non-governmental organization (NGO) that is able to receive funds from abroad and agrees to channel those funds to your organization. If you select to apply via a fiscal sponsor, you must submit as part of your application the following additional documentation:
- Proof of legal registration of the fiscal sponsor;
- Copy of the fiscal sponsor’s Incorporation Documents, Constitution or By-Laws (in English, preferred);
- A memorandum of understanding that outlines the relationship between your organization and the fiscal sponsor and includes the signature of the legal representative of the fiscal sponsor;
- Organizational contact information and mission description for the fiscal sponsor.
In DRF’s understanding of the term “partnership,” a partnership is a collaborative effort of two or more organizations, where each organization has been involved in the design of the project, and each organization has specific roles and responsibilities in project implementation and evaluation. The partnership must be mutually beneficial to participating organizations, and all partnering organizations must be aware that such a partnerships exists.
The Mid-Level Coalition Grants funding stream supports civil society coalitions of three or more organizations at sub-national levels, to ensure that national legislation and policy is implemented at these more local levels.
In federal countries, the Applicant organization and the application aim must have scope at state level. In other countries, the Applicant organization and the application aim must have scope at regional, provincial or district level.
Mid-Level Coalition applications must be submitted by one managing DPO or non-governmental family organization (representing children with disabilities, people with intellectual disabilities, and/or the Deafblind) on behalf of the Coalition. Applicant organizations will be responsible for coordinating the Coalition, submitting the application and managing and reporting on the grant.
The applicant organization must be legally registered and able to receive funds from abroad.
Umbrella organizations or federations are considered one organization for the purposes of this application and therefore, must form a coalition with other organizations to be eligible.
Examples include, but are not limited to:
- A coalition of organizations conducting research on how existing State (or regional, provincial or district) legislation relating to disability is in line (or not in line) with the CRPD;
- A coalition of DPOs and women’s rights organizations advocating to ensure that district maternal and child health regulations and programs are inclusive of women and girls with disabilities and that services are accessible to them in line with CRPD Articles 6 (Women with disabilities), 25 (Health) and SDG 5: Gender Equality;
- A coalition of DPOs and legal aid organizations, working on strategic litigation to advance changes in legislation at State (or regional, provincial or district) levels to ensure accordance with the CRPD;
- A coalition of DPOs advocating for a place at the table in development of local policies, for example in local poverty reduction strategies;
- A coalition of DPOs petitioning government for allocation of funding to support legislative or policy implementation, such as inclusive education policies in line with CRPD Article 24 (Education);
- A coalition of DPOs and other civil society groups working on budget analysis to better understand and influence allocation of funding to various issues, including disability, at governmental levels.
The National Coalition Grants funding stream supports civil society coalitions of three or more organizations at national levels, working on specific priorities (see examples of activities question). The Applicant organization and the application aim must have scope at national level.
Applications must be submitted by one managing DPO or non-governmental family organization (representing children with disabilities, people with intellectual disabilities, and/or the Deafblind) on behalf of the coalition.
Umbrella organizations or federations are considered one organization for the purposes of this application and therefore, must form a coalition with other organizations outside their federation to be eligible.
The requirements of the applicant organization (also known as managing partner) are to:
- Be legally registered
- Be able to receive funds from abroad
- Be based in one of DRF’s target countries
- Be a disabled persons’ organization or non-governmental family organization
- Take overall responsibility for coordinating the Coalition
- Have national scope
- Provide organizational income and expense statements for the past two years with the application
- Provide a memorandum of understanding detailing responsibilities and signed by all Coalition partners with the application
- Submit the application
- Once the grant is received, be responsible for the financial management of the grant
- Submit timely reports to DRF
Examples of activities include, but are not limited to:
- A coalition of cross-disability DPOs lobbying at national governmental levels for CRPD ratification;
- A coalition of organizations of people with psychosocial disabilities lobbying to ensure that new legislation is passed to accord with Article 12;
- A coalition of DPOs pressuring a government to present a national report and ensuring that representative organizations of PWDs are included in development of the report;
- A coalition of DPOs coming together with other non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to present a submission to the Universal Periodic Review process;
- A coalition of DPOs coming together with other NGOs to carry out advocacy for disability inclusive budgets to implement national action plans in line with CRPD Article 11 and SGD 11;
- A coalition of DPOs advocating to government for a formal role in development of the State report to the CRPD Committee.
No, however, the MAJORITY of organizations in the Coalition should be DPOs.
In addition, the applicant organization or managing partner of the Coalition should be a DPO or non-governmental family organization (representing children with disabilities, people with intellectual disabilities, and/or the Deafblind).
Partnerships with human rights organizations or other entities, such as the media, are encouraged.
Yes, a governmental entity can be a partner to the Coalition application; however no DRF funds can go towards that governmental entity.
Governmental entities do not count as one of the three partner organizations necessary to meet eligibility requirements for a Mid-Level or National Coalition application.
An umbrella / federation of DPOs is a membership organization with legal status. For the purposes of this application, a “National Coalition” may include an umbrella or federation organization, but it must include at least two additional distinct organizations.
We are requiring this because we believe that encouraging broad partnership is critical to the advancement of human rights of all persons with disabilities.
If you think you have a unique situation and would like to apply for a National Coalition grant as one umbrella organization, please contact us.
- Africa: Ghana Malawi, Rwanda, Uganda
- Asia: Bangladesh, Indonesia, Myanmar
- Caribbean: Haiti
- The Pacific: Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu
For Small Grants
The applicant organization must be based in and conduct the majority of their activities in the countries targeted for this call.
For Mid-Level Coalitions
Members of the Mid-Level Coalition can be based in any locality within the targeted countries. The Coalition members must have state (in a federal system), provincial, regional, or district level scope.
For National Coalitions
Members of the National Coalition can be based in any locality within the targeted countries. The managing partner of the Coalition must have national scope.
For more information, see the Webpage For Grantseekers.
The selection of DRF target countries is completed after a lengthy process, including conducting country research and receiving inputs from our Grantmaking Committee. The Board of Directors approve new countries and dates of entry.
No, we do not fund international organizations. We do not fund organizations not based in our target countries.
We understand that there are strong organizations all over the world and that they may be doing good work. Our resource page is designed to provide information to a broader audience interested in disability rights promotion across the globe.
The Disability Rights Fund foresees a continued expansion in terms of geographical coverage. The rate and extent of this expansion depends on our resources and ability to make substantive grants in the selected countries.
The Disability Rights Fund is primarily interested in direct funding to organizations and groups of people with disabilities. If your organization partners with organizations or groups of people with disabilities, joint applications would be welcome as long as the group or organization of people with disabilities is the lead applicant (meaning that they are responsible for managing the project and the finances).
For Small Grants
You can apply if you meet any one of the following four conditions:
- If your organization is of people with disabilities, meaning that people with disabilities constitute a majority of staff and board members;
- If your organization is a fiscal sponsor to a new disabled persons’ organization (and they are heavily involved in the application process);
- If you host self-help or self-advocacy groups of people with disabilities who do not have legal registration; or
- If you are a legally registered non-governmental family organization representing children with disabilities, people with intellectual disabilities, and/or the Deafblind.
Please contact us if you are unsure if your organization or group qualifies.
Yes. DRF recognizes that there are faith-based organizations/religious entities that have made significant contributions in advocating for the human rights of persons with disabilities and will therefore consider proposals from faith-based organizations/religious entities on an equal basis as other organizations.
However, faith-based organizations/religious entities must meet the same eligibility criteria as other applicants. See the following FAQ questions, “What types of organizations are eligible to apply for a Small Grant?” and “What types of organizations are eligible to apply for a Mid-Level Coalition or National Coalition Grant?”
On rare occasions, DRF considers applications from non-DPOs addressing extremely marginalized populations within the disability community, who are not being addressed by DPOs.
Only organizations that demonstrate a rights-based approach will be considered.
If approved for a grant,
- DRF funds may only be used towards the activities outlined in the submitted proposal.
- No DRF funds may be used for religious activities.
- The project must benefit persons with disabilities without regard to religious affiliation
No, we cannot provide funds to public institutions.
No, we cannot provide funds to governmental entities.
No, we cannot provide funds to businesses or companies.
Yes, only governmental registration (at community or national levels) is legitimate.
Yes, please check your government’s requirements on receiving foreign funds, specifically from the United States.
Activities that DRF Supports
Our answer varies depending on what type of grant you are applying for.
Small Grants proposals must focus on at least one of the priority areas. The priority areas are:
- Increasing DPO participation in decision-making processes regarding the CRPD at state or local levels
- Increasing DPO participation in decision-making processes related to implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
- Addressing implementation of CRPD articles
- Addressing implementation of the SDGs
- Ratification efforts (in the Pacific Island Countries only)
Please note: our selection of proposals will be based on the quality of the proposal, not the number of priority areas included in the proposal. Thus, proposals focusing thoroughly on one priority area may be more likely to receive funding than proposals addressing multiple priority areas.
Mid-Level Coalition proposalsshouldfocus on only one of the five priorities listed:
- Passage of specific legislation or policy at the sub-national level to accord with the CRPD
- Advocacy to national or international agencies responsible for development planning to ensure that national action plans and programs aiming to implement the SDGs are inclusive of persons with disabilities and use the CRPD as a guiding document
- Advocacy for governmental budgetary measures to implement the CRPD at the sub-national level
- Advocacy for governmental budgetary measures to implement the SDGs at the sub-national level
- Ratification of the CRPD and/or Optional Protocol where not ratified (in the Pacific Island Countries only)
National Coalition proposals should focus on only one of the six priorities listed:
- Ratification of the CRPD and/or the Optional Protocol (where not ratified)
- Passage of specific national legislation to accord with the CRPD
- Production of and/or follow up to alternative reports to the CRPD Committee
- Production of and/or follow up to reports submitted to other UN human rights monitoring mechanisms such as the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of the Human Rights Council or to other Committees of Experts from other human rights treaties
- Advocacy to national or international agencies responsible for development planning to ensure that national action plans and programs aiming to implement the SDGs are inclusive of PWDs and use the CRPD as a guiding document
- Advocacy to ensure formal inclusion of DPO representatives in national governmental implementation and/or monitoring of the CRPD For a detailed description of the priority areas, please refer to the section on Priority Areas in the Requests for Proposals.
If partner organizations do not envision working together on activities, we would question why there is a partnership. Partnerships should demonstrate a rationale for their joint work and ideally should demonstrate some past experiences of effectively working together.
DRF encourages applicants to identify CRPD articles that best apply to their organization’s work and/or the communities that it serves.
A strong application should:
- Avoid general references to the CRPD
- Focus on concrete rights areas or articles of interest within the CRPD
- Indicate references to the specific articles that the project aims to advance
- Take into consideration the expertise of the applicant organizations(s)
No, DRF does not fund lobbying work, as defined in U.S. legal terms. Lobbying refers to any advocacy for specific legislative change, including treaty ratification. We will refer lobbying projects to our sister fund, the Disability Rights Advocacy Fund (DRAF).
While a small portion of the funds can be used to cover general operating expenses, the majority of the funds need to be used for the specific activities of your proposed project.
No. While DRF will accept applications from faith-based organizations or religious entities, DRF will not consider any proposals to support religious activity of any kind.
No, we do not provide grants for service provision.
Service provision is a term used to describe a wide range of activities, including the provision of assistive devices, rehabilitation services, occupational therapy and health services.
Please see the Webpage Resources.
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development was adopted by the UN General Assembly on September 25, 2015. The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) build on the Millennium Development Goals. They seek to realize the human rights of all and to achieve gender equality and empowerment of all women and girls. They balance the three dimensions of sustainable development: the economic, social, and environmental. National governments, development agencies, and other donors will be using the Agenda and the SDGs as a plan of action. See https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sdgs for more information.
Beginning in 2016, all applications to DRF should indicate clearly how their projects are addressing both the articles of the CRPD and the goals of the SDGs to ensure that development efforts are inclusive of persons with disabilities in the implementation of the SDGs.
All applications should track activities on specific articles of the CRPD and specific goals of the SDGs.
Application Procedures and Technical Issues
Yes, there is a letter of interest process for the following target countries only: Bangladesh, Indonesia, and Uganda.
A letter of interest is a document submitted by an applicant seeking a grant for a project. Letters of interest describe the organization’s background, summarize the project’s goals, and provide project financial information. Letters of interest are a first step in a longer process. If a letter of interest is evaluated favorably, an applicant will be asked to submit a full proposal.
For organizations based in Bangladesh, Indonesia, and Uganda, applicants must first submit a letter of interest to DRF within specified deadlines.
DRF Program Officers review the letter and if approved, ask the applicant to submit a full proposal. If an organization misses the deadline for a letter of interest, they must wait until the following year to submit a letter of interest.
Yes, you must use the format(s) provided.
Required documents are indicated in the Application Checklist, which should be reviewed carefully.
Proposal deadlines vary from year to year.
Applications can be submitted in Bahasa Indonesia, Burmese, English, French, and Haitian Creole.
Please send your request by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The proposal can be sent by mail, fax or email. Our mailing address is:Disability Rights Fund
89 South Street, Suite 203
Boston MA, 02111
If you are sending a proposal by mail, it must be received at our office by the deadline. Please inform us if you are mailing the application.
For Small Grants
The applicant organization must submit documents showing that the organization is legally registered as a non-governmental or civil society organization in your country.
For partnerships, the applicant organization must submit the legal registration.
If you are applying under a fiscal sponsor, you must submit the legal registration for the fiscal sponsor.
The registration does not need to be translated into English. However, if you have a copy of the registration translated in English, please submit this.
The registration should be submitted with your application.
For Mid-Level and National Coalition Grants
The applicant organization or managing partner must submit documents showing that the organization is legally registered as a non-governmental or civil society organization in your country.
We will inform all applicants by July for the first round of grants and by December for the second round of grants
Small grants are awarded for a one-year period only. If DRF is targeting your country for another year, then grantees may reapply for another small grant following the same procedures for first-time applicants.
Applications for National Coalition grants can be for USD 30,000 – 50,000 per year for two years (USD 60,000 – 100,000 over the course of two years).
Mid-Level Coalition grants can be for USD 30,000 – 40,000 per year for two years (USD 60,000 – 80,000 over the course of two years).
Note that while you may apply for two years under a Mid-Level or National Coalition Grant, these grants are awarded year by year, and a second year award depends on satisfactory progress of the first year of activities.
Relationships with Grantees
Reporting can be done in any of the five languages (Bahasa Indonesia, Burmese, English, French, and Haitian Creole) listed in our Request for Proposals.
Reporting forms and report deadlines will be provided with the grant agreement.
For Small Grants, organizations will be required to submit one (narrative and financial) final report, unless receiving the grant in two tranches (when two reports will be required).
For Mid-Level and National Coalition grants, organizations will be required to submit one (narrative and financial) progress report in the first year, unless receiving the grant in two tranches (when two reports will be required). If a second year grant is given, a final (narrative and financial) report will be required.
We provide technical assistance, as well as grants. Technical assistance is provided for National and Mid-Level Coalitions working on legislative change, reporting to UN human rights mechanisms, or the SDGs.
We aim to support grantees with information, advice, referrals, and other such aid during the course of the funding relationship.