Rights CoLab advances human rights by fostering collaboration among experts across the fields of civil society, technology, business, and finance. Together we build new ways of organizing civic engagement and leveraging markets to improve the impact, resilience, and sustainability of human rights initiatives.

We work in four key areas:

Reimagining Civil Society

Civil society organizations that depend exclusively on foreign grants have come under intense pressure. The growing trends of technological innovation, social entrepreneurship, local philanthropy, impact investment and purpose-centered career development offer opportunities for human rights initiatives to organize and resource themselves in more resilient and sustainable ways.

Mobilizing Technology for the Public Interest

Technology can help advance the struggle for greater accountability, transparency, and justice. Increasingly, however, technological advances can also negatively impact human rights. Civil society, the private sector, and governmental actors must engage with each other in new ways to ensure that the public interest is at the core of the design, deployment, and adoption of technologies.

Realigning Business and Society

Growing inequality, the rise of populism, and the most recent spate of corporate scandals have contributed to renewed questioning of the sustainability of a corporate form that is structured to maximize shareholder value. This is an opportune time to explore the potential market strength of alternative corporate structures that can combat inequality and promote respect for human rights.

Leveraging the Financial Sector

As the ultimate providers of capital, financial actors have great leverage in determining where capital is allocated and ensuring it is used responsibly. Investing for positive social impact and, once invested, holding business accountable for its social risks, are two areas demanding innovative approaches to advancing human rights.

In recent years, the effectiveness of strategies developed to promote and protect human rights has weakened, with little consensus on how best to go forward. The Rights CoLab model of collaboration, innovation, and experimentation across geographies is designed to address that challenge.