Grants by numbers

Over 25% of HDF’s committed funds remain in active grants.

Total grant funding
($98, 736, 522)

Closed grants Active grants

Total no. of grants

Closed grants Active grants

HDF has tended to develop longer term funding relationships with grantees, with an average number of grants per grantee of 1.8.

HDF grant approvals over the years


Spend Down: Early on HDF took the decision to become a spend down foundation. In other words, we would plan to close the doors. Choosing to spend down has compressed and intensified the nature of HDF’s grantmaking. As such, HDF has played an outsized role in tackling some of the gravest threats to children’s rights.


Round Pegs in Round Holes: Small- and medium-sized foundation have a unique opportunity to fund with speed and real strategic focus. As we have increased our understanding of key issues areas, the right place for us to fund has become clearer. So, consider the wider eco-system and find the right match for your funding.


Business Acumen: Some grantees may lack the capacity to build and grow dynamic organisations. Some are also used to regular, light-touch funding. In some cases, personality trumps operational rigour. HDF has at times continued to support grantees driven by a big personality rather than clear strategy.

A closer look at grantees

International Reach vs Locally Focused

Nearly 60% of funding (c. $58m) has been directed to grantees with an international reach. Although 56% of grants have been locally focused.

Credible vs Non-Credible

153 grants of 196 (78%) have been delivered to grantees who continue to be considered expert and credible organisations.

Active vs Dormant/Ceased

$9.5m (9.6%) was directed to organisations who are dormant or have now ceased operations.

Child Sexual Exploitation and Abuse vs Harmful Practices

37% of grants prioritised harmful practices and accounted for 20% of funds. By contrast, 37% of funds and only 10% of grants focus on CSEA.


Impact & The Business Case: Whether we like it or not, if we want our funding to encourage further investment, we need to be able to demonstrate impact. Robust evidence of impact does not automatically emerge after grant closure. Plan for impact measurement in the design phase and be prepared to cost and fund the process.


The Data Gap: HDF’s CSEA funding has evolved from an operational response, to efforts to transform the sectors ability tackle CSEA systematically. This means recognising the great dearth of data – what’s happening, where and how? Without this type of insight, policy, funding and smart interventions will continue to lag behind a rapidly evolving industry of abuse.


Funds Are Too Small & Funders Too Few: HDF’s grantee partners that play a global role are in a perpetual struggle for funding. This poses a threat to the sustainability of global infrastructure and fundamentally limits the sector’s ability to accelerate and scale-up the safeguarding of children.

Successes & failures

Although it may sometimes be difficult, we have deliberately assessed the effectiveness of HDF’s grants to gauge success and failure rates at a portfolio level. We use this bird’s eye view to learn how we could have achieved more with our funding, and fund more smartly in the future.

Primary Aim

Across HDF’s portfolio of grants, 1/3 of spent funds have been assessed to have failed to achieve their primary impact aim.

Funding assessed to have achieved primary aim Funding not assessed to have achieved primary aim

Overall Objectives

But 86% of spent funds have been assessed to have achieved overall grant output and outcome objectives.

Funding assessed to have achieved overall grant objectives Funding not assessed to have achieved overall grant objectives

Grant sector focus

Child Sexual Exploitation and Abuse

CSEA is HDF’s priority and the highest value grant sector (c. $36m). The vast majority of funding to date has prioritised sector infrastructure.

Harmful Practices

More than 2/3rds (c. $14m) of Harmful Practices funding, primarily FGM, has been embedded in community engagement.

Child Resiliance

Child Resilience describes grants  HDF made to support the emergence and delivery of child protection services. ¾ of these investments were national and narrow in focus, with ¼ prioritising the wider sector.

Life Choices

Skills development and education grants that focused on children’s transition from adolescence into adulthood. In this area HDF has largely focused on localised interventions, with a smaller proportion supporting civil society.

Establishment, support or enhancement of anchor or leadership institutions; organisational centres of gravity; enduring, functional infrastructure (national or international).
Establishment, support or enhancement of legislation, policy or political commitments; sector-wide standards of operation (national or international).
Civil Society Effectiveness
Support or enhancement of coordination or consolidation; specialist expertise; strategic and operational capacity and skills.
Activist/Grassroots Movements
Establishment, support or enhancement of survivor activist-led solutions; national or international survivor activist coordination; activist/grassroots strategic and operational capacity and skills.
Support of time-limited, community or nationally focused solution limited to priority outputs and without any specific intention to support the enduring work of a single entity or enhance the response of the wider sector or system.


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