Human Rights and the International Criminal Court: John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Open Society Institute, and Ford Foundation, 1978

Center for Strategic Philanthropy and Civil Society (Duke)



Case Study Sector


The creation of the International Criminal Court is the result of a worldwide effort, stretching back at least sixty years, to codify and maintain a set of human rights to which even the Earth’s most destitute and grief-stricken peoples are entitled. Supported largely in the civic sector, the human rights movement has been growing stronger at least since 1948, when the United Nations General Assembly passed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. And with the creation, first, of several ad hoc international tribunals to investigate and adjudicate allegations of human rights abuses in the former Yugoslavia, in Rwanda, and elsewhere, and, more recently, of the International Criminal Court, the human rights movement is stronger than ever. Among this movement’s oldest, most consistent supporters have been a number of private foundations. In this case study, three major philanthropies—the MacArthur and Ford Foundations and the Open Society Institute—are examined. These three are the largest foundation supporters of human rights support, and each has played an important role in bringing human rights monitoring and enforcement along to where they are today.



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Blog Posts

More on time, value, and time limits

February 19, 2018

A new report applies a theory of time and value in philanthropy to three real cases, to see how a foundation could decide whether to operate with a limited life, based on the amount and kind of value it hopes to create.


Oct 05

Rip Rapson
President and CEO
The Kresge Foundation