Strengthening Local Humanitarian Leadership

Local officials, program managers and other frontline staff delivering services play a vital role in providing immediate relief and setting the course for long-term equitable recovery in communities after a disaster or crisis. But these local humanitarian leaders and organizations are mostly under-resourced and under-funded. They are often hamstrung by an imbalance of power that puts funders rather than local leaders in the driver’s seat for making critical decisions about strategically deploying limited resources.

The Strengthening Local Humanitarian Leadership Philanthropic Collaborative brings together grantmakers committed to increasing the institutional capacity of these local partners worldwide. Our goal is to ensure that those on-the-ground are equipped to leverage local knowledge, history and connections to develop services that are compatible with the cultural, socio-political and economic realities of the communities they serve.

We invite other funders to join our collective action, knowledge sharing and tangible changes in funding policies and practices that help rather than hinder communities from a full and sustainable recovery.

With funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation and the Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropies, and the administrative leadership of the Center for Disaster Philanthropy (CDP), the collaborative is entering a new phase of investing in local leaders.

Who We Are

We are a group of funders working across intersectional issues and serving a variety of communities seeking a vibrant and thriving future for all:

Discover how the collaborative can help amplify the impact of your disaster giving. Contact Alex Gray, director of international funds, at

Statement of Purpose

  • We are a collaborative of US-based funders committed to supporting and enabling the capacity and reach of local humanitarian responders through grantmaking practices that measurably shift resources and power for decision-making to the affected persons and communities. In doing so we aim to promote and prioritize equity, solidarity and local partnership in humanitarian action, in response to inequitable recoveries and systems.
  • We seek to deepen the commitment of US-based philanthropic organizations by learning with peers and by influencing others to adopt funding and partnership practices that empower and support local humanitarian actors, including local humanitarian leadership and organizations, in natural disasters and humanitarian responses.

Goals/Outcomes (or Destination)

  • Advance an agenda across US-based philanthropies to support the leadership and capacities of local actors, leadership, and responders by making tangible changes within our own institutions and grantmaking practices related to funding allocations, policies, and practices impacting grantees who support locally-led humanitarian action.
  • Provide thought leadership and promising practices to peers in the philanthropic sector for strengthening locally-led humanitarian action and equitable local partnerships.
  • Leverage the tremendous resources of this group for tangible collaborations and individual or collective action with measurable results that align with local humanitarian actors’ priorities and needs.
Summary of LHL collaborative's progress: Localization indicators

Localization in action

The Work Ahead

Members of the collaborative meet regularly to examine grantmaking practices and policies, and learn from international, local and regional NGOs and governmental and multi-lateral organizations in the humanitarian sector.

Members can opt-in or opt-out of funding opportunities while still benefitting from ongoing educational outreach and resource development.

Additional Resources

Learn more about the role of local humanitarian and response organizations in preventing and recovering from a disaster or crisis.

Contact Us

We’d like to hear from you. For questions or additional information, contact Alex Gray.