About The Sigrid Rausing Trust

The current Trustees are Sigrid Rausing (Chair), Andrew Puddephatt (Deputy Chair), Geoffrey Budlender, Jonathan Cooper, Professor Sir Jeffrey Jowell QC, Joshua Mailman, Mabel van Oranje, Margo Picken and Chris Stone.

How we work

Up until 2010 the Trust had an open application system. We found, however, that only a fraction of the applications coming through the 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, during which the grant is reviewed. If all has gone well, the grantee can apply for a three-year grant, followed by two more terms of three-year grants. 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 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 look at methodology, the quality of reporting, and impact. 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 donors can best encourage innovation and imagination if they allow grantees to develop their own ideas.

We are responsive to needs and opportunities, and keep our own bureaucracy flexible. 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. The grant period is normally a year, but can be extended to best suit the grantee.

We have a particular focus on medium-sized and growing grantees - not because they are necessarily more effective than larger NGOs, but because identifying new organisations is where we can add value to the field.

We are politically non-partisan, and expect the same of our grantees. Human rights abuses occur mainly in repressive societies. Security concerns, however, particularly in relation to the threat of terrorism, can lead democracies to compromise on human rights. The threat of terror is real and tangible, but if societies abuse the rights of individuals they play into the hands of terrorists. Defending democracies must be done with due respect to the rule of law and human rights. 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. We monitor grantee websites, publications, and statements to ensure that we do not support organisations that engage in any form of 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, and if your organisation is of interest to the Trust they will make contact.

If you are a funder who is interested in human rights, but without the resources to assess potential grantees, you can use our list of grantees as a resource. All of them have been assessed 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 the grantees listed on this site.

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.