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September 4, 2023

Introducing New Portfolio Strategies at Humanity United

The world today looks very different than it did when we announced our commitment to our portfolio work a few years ago. Over the next few months we will introduce our refreshed and new portfolio strategies and dive more deeply into what the individual processes have looked like.

Humanity United is rooted in the belief that we live in a deeply interconnected world united by the challenges and opportunities we all face. To fulfill our mission of cultivating the conditions for enduring peace and freedom, we work in accompaniment with partners advancing human dignity and seeking to change the systems that enable violent conflict and human exploitation around the world.

The world today looks very different than it did when we announced our commitment to our portfolio work a few years ago. We are coming out of a global pandemic that resulted in significant loss of life and changed systems in ways we still cannot measure. We have seen conflict and instability from Ukraine to Sudan, and climate-related disasters continue to devastate and impact communities across the globe.

There have also been some changes at Humanity United. In 2022 we introduced our first Racial Justice and Equity grantees and announced our organizational strategy, articulating the elements of our approach. Since then we have been working to refresh the existing strategies for our Peacebuilding and Forced Labor and Human Trafficking portfolios as well as developing strategies for our Public Engagement portfolio and our Racial Justice and Equity work. These strategy processes have all been grounded in our organization’s five strategic pillars: working through relationships; practicing a philosophy of accompaniment; being learning-focused, systems-enabled, and people-centered; being expansive in our efforts; and investing internally so we can grow with our partners.

Although each of our portfolios have navigated the strategy development process in differing ways, there are a number of common threads in our approaches.

  • Building on existing strategies: Our new portfolio strategies are not a complete pivot from how we have already been working. Instead, we are expanding on and refining the ways we have already been functioning so we can continue showing up in collaboration with our partners and in service to our mission.
  • Responding to changing contexts and observed needs: We acknowledge that the world and the systems we exist in have changed significantly over the last few years. These shifts have deeply impacted those we work with and the contexts in which they operate, requiring us to make changes to meet the moment.
  • Engaging deeply with our partners and the field: All of our strategy processes are informed by the feedback and perspectives of our partners and peers in the fields we work in. We solicit their input at various stages, listen to what they have to say, and make sure that the strategies we develop reflect what they need to see from us. As always, we continue to explore ways to forge partnerships and deepen the impact across our fields of focus.
  • Internal learning and sense-making: Our internal reflections and insights from the past few years have also been an essential part of our processes, helping us to determine what elements to let go of and what to continue. We held conversations within our portfolios and engaged our colleagues from other teams to ensure that we remained grounded in our organizational strategy and mission.
  • Incorporating DEIJ commitments: We ensured our Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice (DEIJ) commitments are infused into the strategies, reaffirming HU’s dedication to this work.

Over the next few months we will introduce each of our portfolio strategies and dive more deeply into what the individual processes have looked like. We’ll start with a look into the Peacebuilding strategy in September, highlight the Forced Labor and Human Trafficking strategy in November, share the Public Engagement strategy in March, and introduce our Racial Justice and Equity strategy in July, concluding with a discussion wrapping up this process and looking toward the future. We commit to being transparent throughout this rollout process and, as we begin to implement our strategies, we will continue to engage deeply with partners, ensuring a shared understanding of how we will work together and how our continued collaboration can improve the field.


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