Fact Sheet
Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor
Office of International Religious Freedom
July 27, 2018


IRF Ministerial Logo Green [State Department Image]

INTERNATIONAL RELIGIOUS FREEDOM FUND: FACT SHEET

 

Purpose:

For governments and entities who already promote freedom of religion and belief and want to extend their support financially, contributions will be accepted for a new initiative to fund activities to protect and support religious freedom worldwide. Because the U.S. Government covers all personnel, administrative, and overhead expenses, 100 percent of funds contributed by other donors go directly to program activities.

Activities of the fund may include:

  • Supporting initiatives that address the barriers to freedom of religion or belief. This encompasses activities such as advocacy initiatives, awareness campaigns, public messaging, community inclusion efforts, conflict prevention
  • Providing assistance to those facing discrimination on the basis of religion or belief for individual needs including, assistance to address threats of violence; medical needs resulting from violent assault; and replacement of equipment damaged or confiscated as a result of harassment.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What are the responsibilities of each donor?

Upon contributing to the International Religious Freedom Fund (I-ReFF), donors join the Partner’s Committee and agree to:

  • Meet annually in Washington, D.C. to discuss programmatic progress and discuss future goals;
  • Make best efforts within their national systems to contribute to the Fund on an annual basis;
  • Promote freedom of religion or belief through diplomatic initiatives, including in partnership with likeminded governments; and
  • Share best practices on interacting with, protecting, and bolstering civil society around the world.

How much should we contribute?

We welcome any amount that a government or entity can contribute – there is no minimum amount required. The U.S. Government will cover the International Religious Freedom Fund’s administrative and overhead costs. Donor contributions will be used solely to fund programmatic activities. The U.S. Government will not publicly disclose the amount that is contributed; however, contributing governments and entities are free to make public the amounts they have contributed.

How will assistance cases be referred to the International Religious Freedom Fund? How are cases then decided upon for funding?

Donors will be provided with information on how to refer assistance cases and initiatives for consideration by the Implementing Organization. Concurrently, the Implementing Organization takes referrals from a wide and inclusive network of civil society organizations. The Implementing Organization will make all funding decisions independent of the donors, based solely on the merits of claims for assistance using criteria agreed upon by the donors. None of the donors will vet/approve International Religious Freedom Fund assistance cases. Instead, donors will be informed of the aggregated activities of the Fund on a quarterly basis. As the work of the Fund may be considered sensitive to individual or organizational beneficiaries, donor discretion and security protocols will be a component of participation.

How is the International Religious Freedom Fund managed and administered?

The U.S. Department of State will administer a cooperative agreement with an implementing organization. All contributions will go toward the Fund’s activities; the U.S. Government will cover all personnel, administrative, and overhead expenses.

U.S. Department of State

The Lessons of 1989: Freedom and Our Future