The Global Equality Fund (GEF) is a leading public-private partnership comprised of like-minded governments and private sector entities dedicated to protecting and defending the human rights and fundamental freedoms of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) persons around the world. Through the GEF, governments, companies, foundations, and NGOs work collaboratively to support local initiatives spearheaded by human rights defenders and civil society organizations working to affirm a consistent global message that LGBTI persons are entitled to the same human rights and fundamental freedoms as everyone, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or sex characteristics.

Current GEF Partners include: Argentina, Australia, Canada, Chile, Croatia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Italy, Montenegro, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Uruguay, the Arcus Foundation, the John D. Evans Foundation, FRI: the Norwegian Organization for Sexual and Gender Diversity, the MAC AIDS Fund, Deloitte LLP, Royal Bank of Canada, Hilton Worldwide, Bloomberg L.P., Marriott International, the Human Rights Campaign, and Out Leadership.

EQUALITY – ADVOCACY – PROTECTION – DIALOGUE

About the Fund

The Global Equality Fund provides critical resources to civil society organizations (CSOs) and human rights defenders working to advance and protect the fundamental principle of human rights for all, including LGBTI persons.

Funded by governments and the private sector, and managed by the Department of State’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, the Global Equality Fund provides emergency assistance to individuals and organizations under threat or attack, small grants for short-term, high-impact projects, and long-term technical assistance grants that build the capacity of CSOs working to advance the human rights of LGBTI persons in over 90 countries worldwide.

Mechanisms for Assistance

  • Small Grants: Leveraging the global reach of GEF Embassies and Consulates worldwide, local civil society organizations receive direct small grants to support short-term, targeted projects with immediate impact.
  • Emergency Protection: “Dignity for All,” the GEF’s rapid response mechanism, provides emergency and preventive assistance to civil society organizations, human rights defenders, and LGBTI persons under physical threat as well as those that experience extreme harassment.
  • Capacity Building and Technical Assistance: The GEF builds the capacity of local and national civil society organizations dedicated to advancing the human rights of LGBTI persons by providing long-term technical assistance, in partnership with leading global, regional, and national civil society organizations.

Individuals and organizations supported through GEF grants can be found working toward:

  • Protecting persons or groups against the threat of violence
  • Advocating against discriminatory laws that criminalize LGBTI status
  • Ending explicit and implicit forms of discrimination, in the workplace, housing, education, and other public institutions
  • Building community awareness and support for the human rights of LGBTI persons

The Department continues to pursue partnerships with foreign governments, foundations, and corporations in this important effort. Current Partners of the Fund include: Argentina, Australia, Canada, Chile, Croatia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Italy, Montenegro, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Uruguay, the Arcus Foundation, the John D. Evans Foundation, FRI: the Norwegian Organization for Sexual and Gender Diversity, the MAC AIDS Fund, Deloitte LLP, Royal Bank of Canada, Hilton Worldwide, Bloomberg L.P., Marriott International, the Human Rights Campaign, and Out Leadership.

Current Situation

The United States works to protect and defend human rights and fundamental freedoms for all – including lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) persons. LGBTI persons, and those that defend them, face violence and serious levels of discrimination in all regions around the world. Some 70 countries criminalize consensual adult same-sex relations – including eight countries where LGBTI persons may face the death penalty.

Support the Fund

The State Department continues to strengthen its support of initiatives that protect and advance human rights of LGBTI persons around the world through the Global Equality Fund and the support of its partners, including Argentina, Australia, Canada, Chile, Croatia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Italy, the Netherlands, Montenegro, Norway, Sweden, Uruguay, the Arcus Foundation, the John D. Evans Foundation, FRI: the Norwegian LGBT Organization, the MAC AIDS Fund, Deloitte LLP, Royal Bank of Canada, Hilton Worldwide, Bloomberg L.P., Marriott International, the Human Rights Campaign, and Out Leadership.

Partnerships with Institutions

GEF partners help to increase the scope and impact of the GEF’s assistance while demonstrating their commitment to the core values of freedom, equality and dignity for all persons, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. The State Department seeks partnerships, including financial or in-kind contributions, with like-minded governments, corporations and foundations. For more information on partnership opportunities, please email globalequality@state.gov.

Apply for Support

Civil society organizations seeking support may access funds through:

  • Requests for Proposals for Technical Assistance and Capacity Building: The Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor (DRL) conducts open competitions for proposals based on the bureau’s program areas and target countries and regions. For funding requests, please go to:

Statements of Interest, Requests for Proposals, and Notices of Funding Opportunity or http://www.grants.gov

“Dignity for All”: LGBTI Emergency Assistance Program

“Dignity for All,” the GEF’s rapid response mechanism, provides emergency and preventative assistance to civil society organizations under physical threat or unable to operate freely without serious harassment or threat of retaliation due to their work related to LGBTI human rights issues. Implemented by a global consortium of organizations, “Dignity for All” also augments the capacity of organizations to respond to security concerns and enables advocates to respond quickly to events that signal a backsliding in the protection of human rights. Specific support may include emergency assistance to civil society groups and victims of abuse, small grants for advocacy initiatives and support to LGBTI civil society organizations to implement long-term security plans. Dignity For All Fact Sheet

Contact Us

For more information on the Global Equality Fund, please email globalequality@state.gov.

U.S. Department of State

The Lessons of 1989: Freedom and Our Future