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Who we are

Civic Futures is a philanthropic initiative co-founded in 2021 by the Funders Initiative for Civil Society (FICS) and the Fund for Global Human Rights (FGHR).

Our goal is to keep civic space everywhere open. This is key to resisting democratic backsliding and enabling social justice movements to thrive.

The Civic Futures founders have been tracking repressive NGO laws and the persecution of activists for more than a decade. It is clear to us that the counter-terrorism drive of the last two decades is the dominant force leading to the shrinking of precious civic space. We came together in order to strengthen our response to this and to draw others into this critical work.


Source: Flickr, Protest for the Right to Protest, London, 2022

Our Story

Civic Futures is working with grassroots groups and those who are trying to expose repressive security frameworks at the transnational level.

Our partners on the frontline are experiencing the ‘Security Playbook’ in action: new state security laws lead to them being harassed and criminalised; they are censored and put under surveillance as states work hand-in-hand with corporations to develop new technological means to do this; and many have been smeared and isolated by governments that smear them as a threat to national security.


This phenomenon is obstructing work on climate, land rights, social equality, democracy and human rights. We need more funders to incorporate this understanding into their funding strategies. If you work in these areas, you need to get to grips with the assault on civic space.

Member of Extinction Rebellion protest in front of heavily armed troops. A sign reads: 'Whose Future?' Crispin Hughes/Panos Pictures.

Source: Crispin Hughes/Panos Pictures.

Our Approach

Civic Futures enables collaboration between a wide range of funders and civil society to counter national security overreach.

We can advise funders who are finding that shrinking civic space is impeding progress in their field, and we bring funders and civil society together to learn, strategise and commit resources.

We are currently developing our membership offer and will announce opportunities to formally join the Civic Futures community in November 2023.

Source: Hossein Fatemi/Panos . Cannonball, North Dakota, USA. Protectors of the water gather around the river near the Sacred Stone Camp to welcome arriving tribes who have come by canoe to show their support to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL).

Collaborate with us

We are building a global, cross-sectoral response to disrupt and reform security powers to prevent abuse, and ultimately transform our global approach to security.

If this work resonates with you, we invite you to read the analyses on our website and get in touch to exchange and explore collaboration to collectively push back.



Get in touch
Women release a lit lantern into the night air as large crowds of protestors gather in Gezi Park and Taksim Square.

Credit: Ivor Prickett /Panos Pictures.

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