AJWS has a two-pronged strategy for building a more just and equitable world. AJWS invests more than $35 million annually in our grantmaking and social change strategies.
We support more than 500 social justice organizations in 18 countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean. At the same time, we advocate for laws and policies in the United States that will improve the lives of millions of people around the world. We do this by leading campaigns for human rights and by building relationships with Jewish leaders, elected officials and other supporters of human rights to promote justice and equality in developing countries.
Our international grantmaking and U.S. advocacy focus on five central issues that we believe are key to securing human rights and ending poverty.
We support organizations that save lives and build more equitable societies in the wake of earthquakes, hurricanes and epidemics.
We aid organizations fighting for civil and political rights around the globe—promoting justice under the law for all and the right to be heard, vote and participate in political life.
We advocate for progressive U.S. foreign policy that supports equitable, just societies that respect the human rights of all people — from ensuring access to abortion for people around the globe to fighting authoritarianism and pursuing climate justice.
We support organizations slowing climate change and protecting the land, water and natural resources that rural and indigenous people depend on for survival.
We support organizations empowering women, girls and LGBTQI+ people to promote equality, stop violence and discrimination and live with dignity, safety and health.
We seek to end the practice of child marriage—which violates the human rights of roughly 14 million girls around the world each year—so that girls can determine their own futures.
Why We Fund Human Rights
AJWS is an international development and human rights organization. This means that we do more than provide food, shelter or jobs. We work to address the root causes of poverty and oppression—like prejudice, unfair laws, and social norms that hold women or minorities back.
We do this by supporting activists working within and across borders, who combine their strategic know-how and their powers of persuasion to change hearts, minds and laws in order to create just societies.
Key to a rights-based approach is trust. We don’t ask our grantees to implement solutions we devise in New York or D.C. Instead, we support local ideas and invest in local talent, focusing especially on people and communities who are the most marginalized—women, ethnic minorities, indigenous communities, LGBTQI+ people and others. We invest in their visions and strategies so they can build the kind of societies they want to live in.
We work in this way because we believe that all people are equally entitled to realize their rights—a concept that is central to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which the United Nations adopted in response to the Holocaust. The Declaration asserts that all people—regardless of religion, nationality, ethnicity or geography—possess a set of basic inalienable rights. These include the right to live free from violence, discrimination and oppression. The right to have a voice in the laws that govern society; to earn a fair wage; and to own land and have a stable source of food. The right to express their religion, culture, or identity without fear of persecution; and the right to live life with dignity.
This modern concept of human rights shares much in common with the Jewish belief that all human beings are created b’tzelem Elohim—in the Divine image—and are infinitely valuable and deserving of respect.
From El Salvador, to Burma, to Kenya, our commitment to upholding human rights is at the root of our vision for a just and equitable society—today, tomorrow and for generations to come.