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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 counter-terrorism frameworks at the transnational level.

Our partners on the frontline are experiencing the “Security Playbook” in action: new security laws lead to them being harassed and criminalised; they are censored and put under surveillance as states seize the technological means to do this; and many have been smeared and isolated by governments using security based fear narratives against them.

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.

Source: Shutterstock; Policing of protest after George Floyd's death, USA

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 can bring funders and civil society together to learn, strategise and commit resources. Our offer includes:

(1) analysis and trends related to “the security playbook” to deepen understanding of how to disrupt it;

(2) enabling a diversity of funders to take action under a common strategic framework;

(3) grant-making and accompanying civil society actors at every level, and especially being willing to test new approaches.

Source: Core website imagery, Futures and Perspectives

Collaborate with us

We are building a global, cross-sectoral response to disrupt and transform the harms of counter-terrorism.

We are actively seeking new partners across philanthropy and civil society, in every part of the world.

Come and collaborate with us to keep civic space open: read our analysis, join our convenings, contribute to our strategy.


Get in touch

Source: FGHR. Kenya 2019

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