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Human Rights

The goal is the protection of everyone’s basic human rights, including the right to enjoy economic, social, and cultural freedoms, as well as civil and political ones. As defined by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, these rights are not privileges granted by governments, nor can governments abrogate them.


Columbia Foundation has a specific interest in the human right to food, including equitable access to land for food production, and in the right to equal suffrage where every vote is counted fairly. The foundation focuses its grantmaking on programs that work toward the following:


  • Expansion of the availability of locally produced, affordable fresh food to meet the needs of people from diverse cultures in low-income communities, and strengthening of efforts to build a regional food economy that meets their needs

  • Increased access to farmland for new and established farmers committed to practicing regional sustainable agriculture

  • Public finance of campaigns for public office, and electoral reform to ensure fair voting and vote-verification standards


Annual Deadline: August 1 for a full proposal.


Geographic priority: San Francisco Bay Area for local projects, and California for statewide programs. Proposals for innovative national programs are considered on a case-by-base basis.


Types of grant support: Program, organizational development, seed money for new programs.


NOTE ON PROGRAM CHANGES, EFFECTIVE FEBRUARY 1, 2005: Over the next year, the foundation will phase out of its previous human rights program priorities which supported work towards the (1) elimination of prejudice and discrimination based on sexual and gender diversity, and (2) promotion of the right of citizens to make their own end-of-life decisions, including the right to legal physician-assisted death. Applications for new programs under those guidelines will no longer be accepted. Phase-out grants to existing programs will be determined on a case-by-case basis. The foundation maintains an interest in strategic opportunities to advance civil marriage equality and the right to die with dignity, however future grants in these areas will primarily be foundation-initiated.




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