About The Sigrid Rausing Trust

The current Trustees are Sigrid Rausing (Chair), Andrew Puddephatt (Deputy Chair), Geoffrey Budlender, Jonathan Cooper and Margo Picken.

How we work

In 2010 our research showed that only a fraction of all the applications coming through our system were related to human rights. Of those, we ended up funding only a small proportion. We decided, therefore, no longer to accept unsolicited applications. Instead we identify potential new grantees through recommendations and fieldwork.

Our staff evaluate grantees and submit recommendations to Trustees, who make the final decisions on grant allocations.

New grantees are considered for a one-year grant, after which the grant is reviewed. If all has gone well, and if there is room in the programme, the Trust may enter into a longer funding relationship. We understand that long-term financial security is important, so our aim is to establish long-term partnerships with our grantees.

We evaluate our grantees by looking at what they do, and how they do it. We know that the best human rights organisations are those which combine clarity of thinking, energy, and imagination. Advocacy skills and good research capacity are essential. We look for good leaders: people who take clear and principled decisions, empower and inspire their teams, and are measured and articulate spokespeople for their causes.

The Trust monitors and evaluates its long-term relationships with grantees through annual reporting (including a review of annual financial records), regular communication, and periodic site visits. We ask our grantees for an assessment on the impact of their work, and information on how they choose to address the challenges that they face. We also ask that grantees keep us apprised of changes within their organisations.

Most of our grants take the form of core grants, or in other words grants that are not ear-marked for specific projects. Many human rights organisations have relatively easy access to project funding, but may find it difficult to raise the funds to cover their running costs. We believe that organisations are more imaginative and innovative if they are able to follow their own ideas rather than donor-driven projects.

We are responsive to needs and opportunities. We keep our own bureaucracy as flexible as possible in order to be as supportive as we can to our grantees. Trustees meet monthly to decide on grant allocations, except in the holidays. There are no strict deadlines for applications, which are normally reviewed within a month of submission. We understand that in particular circumstances it may be better for the grantee not to spend the grant within the agreed period, in which case the grant period may be extended.

We have a particular focus on small and growing organisations - not because they are more effective, but because identifying new organisations is where we are most effective.

We are politically non-partisan, and expect the same of our grantees. Human rights abuses occur mainly in repressive societies. The war on terror, and the release of information from other recent eras, have shown that they can also occur in democracies. Since all political parties or movements, and all governments, have the potential to abuse human rights, we ask that our grantees’ commitment to human rights transcend political loyalties. All forms of violence must be rejected.

We monitor grantee publications and statements to ensure that we do not support organisations that engage in hate speech or incitement to violence.

As stated above, we do not accept unsolicited applications. If you wish to let the Trust know about your work, you may send an email describing your organisation to research@srtrust.org. Programme officers review these on a regular basis but are unable to respond to them in person unless your organisation is of interest to the Trust.

If you are a funder who is interested in human rights, but without the resources to investigate human rights organisations in other countries, you can use our list of grantees as a resource. All of them have been vetted by our staff, and by the Trustees, and whilst we can't take responsibility for their actions we can confidently recommend them to other funders. You can link to the websites of most of our grantees.

As a registered charity the Trust can only support activities that can be considered as charitable according to the law of England and Wales (Charities Act 2006). For more information please consult the website of the Charity Commission: