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New Legal Empowerment Fund to mobilize $100 million for grassroots justice groups

On September 25, from the Global Citizen Live stage, Namati joined the Fund for Global Human Rights, the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation to announce the launch of the Legal Empowerment Fund (LEF)—a bold new initiative to close the global justice gap.

The LEF aims to mobilize $100 million over 10 years to support visionary grassroots justice groups that are helping people to understand and claim their rights while shaping the laws that govern them.

An estimated 5.1 billion people—a staggering two-thirds of the global population—lack meaningful access to justice. That means that when their rights are violated, they have nowhere to turn for help. As a result, Indigenous peoples’ lands are taken without their consent, the air and water of low-income communities are polluted with impunity, and ethnic minorities are denied basic government services like health care and education.

Grassroots justice defenders across the globe are striving to meet this challenge head-on. By supporting communities to know, use, and shape the law, they are equipping them to fight back against injustice and bring about systemic change. But their work is chronically underfunded. Members of the Legal Empowerment Network have advocated tirelessly for increased financing through the Justice For All campaign and other means. The creation of the Legal Empowerment Fund is a direct response to their calls for action.

Through its grant-making and technical assistance, the LEF will:

At the live-streamed launch in New York, Hewlett Foundation and Mott Foundation made initial commitments totaling $15 million to help kickstart the fund. Thanks to a gift from Mackenzie Scott, Namati contributed a further $5 million to be used, in part, as a challenge grant to encourage governments, foundations, and other groups to donate.

The Fund for Global Human Rights (FGHR) will host the LEF. In the coming months, they will launch governance mechanisms and strategy co-design processes that are inclusive, participatory, and accountable to those most affected by the fund’s decision-making. Information about how the fund grantees will be determined during this planning period.

For more information, visit the Legal Empowerment Fund website at


September 25, 2021 | Namati

Region: > Global