Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights

Expose Injustice. Teach Change. Right Wrong. Heal Pain

New York, NY   |
GuideStar Charity Check

Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights

EIN: 13-2522784


We advocate for human rights issues and pursue strategic litigation to hold governments accountable at home and around the world. We foster a social good approach to business, celebrate agents of change, and to ensure change that lasts, we educate millions of students about human rights, training the next generation of leaders. We work with the bravest people on earthpartners at home and around the worldto realize Robert F. Kennedys dream of a more just and peaceful world. Working to expose injustice and heal pain and suffering, our pursuit of racial and economic equality forms the foundation of all our programs at RFK Human Rights.

Ruling year info



Ms. Kerry Kennedy

Executive Director

Ms. Lynn Delaney

Main address

88 Pine Street Suite 801

New York, NY 10005 USA

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Formerly known as

Robert F. Kennedy Memorial

Robert F Kennedy Center For Justice and Human Rights



Subject area info

Multicultural education

Educational exchanges

Legal services

Public policy


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Population served info

Children and youth

LGBTQ people

Women and girls

Immigrants and migrants

Economically disadvantaged people

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NTEE code info

International Human Rights (Q70)

Civil Rights, Advocacy for Specific Groups (R20)

Alliance/Advocacy Organizations (R01)

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

We fight for justice and human rights in the United States and interntionally through holding governments, businesses and investors accountable.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Partners for Human Rights

Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights’ Partners for Human Rights (PHR) forges multi-year partnerships with members of civil society to advance the cause of justice and peace at the local level. Since 1984, 47 partnerships have been established across 28 countries. This is a unique model that PHR considers one of the most effective ways to advance long-term, systemic change for communities across the globe. PHR’s international strategic litigation program supports local civil society by building their capacity to present cases, or representing them as clients, before regional and international human rights mechanisms. Through its Training Institute - established in 2011 to strengthen the capacity of human rights advocates to use international law, mechanisms and standards to advance human rights protection - Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights has trained over 177 human rights defenders from 87 organizations located in 66 countries around the globe.

Population(s) Served

Speak Truth To Power is a global initiative that uses the experiences of courageous defenders from around the world to educate students and others about human rights while urging them to take action. The Speak Truth To Power lesson plans, based on the UN’s principles of human rights education, are taught to students from kindergarten through law school. Using the stories of human rights defenders in an innovative, flexible manner, Speak Truth To Power’s lessons are designed to fit any subject, teaching students that they, too, can learn to self-identify as a human rights defender and have a role to play in the global fight for justice. Most recently, STTP embeds social-emotional learning into the fabric of its lesson plans and brings human rights education to K-12 schools using the CDC's holistic Whole School Model.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth

Robert F. Kennedy Young Leaders is dedicated to empowering young human rights defenders and mobilizing a diverse community of young people to take action for social justice and human rights. With 15 chapters across HBCUs, community colleges, and ivy league universities, RFK Young Leaders is inspiring a new generation of diverse leadership to carry forward Robert Kennedy’s legacy through a three-pronged approach of education, advocacy, and action.

Population(s) Served

Robert F. Kennedy Compass engages the investment community through annual conferences designed to help institutional investors fulfill their fiduciary duties by considering the impact of ESG (environmental, social, and governance factors) on investment outcomes. Each invitation-only conference offers engaging panel discussions and speakers and multiple opportunities for informal discussions. Decision makers from major public pension funds, sovereign wealth funds, foundations, endowments and family offices regularly attend Compass conferences to hear the latest thinking on sustainable investing and discuss the challenges of investing today. RFK initiatives promoting and protecting workplace dignity are also under the B&HR program.

Population(s) Served

Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, now in its 54th year, was founded by Robert F. Kennedy’s family and friends to carry forth his unfinished work. Its Legacy initiative is designed to remind us all of who Robert Kennedy was and why his work still matters by re-introducing him to familiar audiences and inspiring new generations to take action and create change in their classrooms, communities, and countries. Legacy initiatives include the annual Book & Journalism Awards, the Human Rights Award, the Ripple of Hope Gala, and other events.

Population(s) Served

This program comprises work to reform the U.S. criminal justice system, with a focus on fighting mass incarceration and advocating for bail reform; efforts to ensure the humane treatment of immigrants; and RFK's U.S. and international Advocacy and Litigation programs.

Population(s) Served

Where we work

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of administrators and staff who plan and experience professional development activities together

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Speak Truth To Power

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success


Context Notes

Speak Truth to Power has trained more than 12,000 teachers across the US. STTP content has been used by over 80,000 educators, reaching over 2 million students worldwide.

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

To achieve even greater impact the organization will focus on three strategic priorities 1) scale & synergy, scaling those programs with demonstrated results and amplifying impact through cross-program synergy; 2) advocacy & mobilization, developing new capacity for these tactics across the organization; and 3) visibility & brand position, increasing awareness and the reputation of Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights to bolster our influence and support.

Building on our fifty years of human rights achievements, the 2020-2025 Strategic Plan also dedicates the organization to four fundamental levers for advancing human rights: government, business, individuals, and leaders.

1) Government Accountability. Governments are the wellspring of human rights and when governments are not, the most effective ways to protect or secure human rights is by holding governments accountable in the courts, with economic consequences, and through public opinion.

2) Business Alignment with Human Rights Norms. Business is the source of economic opportunity and prosperity that can lift billions out of poverty and create social and economic mobility leading to advances in human rights.

3) A New Generation of Human Rights Defenders. Individuals are the ultimate defenders of human rights and it is with their ability to exercise this agency that the fate of human rights rests.

4) Promoting Agents of Change. Leaders at all levels and across industries are the prerequisite for social change to protect and advance human rights.

Now led by human rights lawyer and activist Kerry Kennedy, our team of attorneys, issue experts, advocates, entrepreneurs, and writers are united by a commitment to realize Robert Kennedy’s dream of a more just and peaceful world.
We advocate for key human rights issues, pursuing strategic litigation to hold governments accountable at home and around the world. We champion the changemakers who inspire human rights defenders everywhere. We engage businesses, working to help them align with human rights norms. And to ensure change that lasts, we engage university students in advocacy and organizing and educate millions of students about human rights, training the next generation of leaders.

Our program staff is well equipped to respond to new challenges and adapt its programs to fast changing dynamics. To exemplify, our human rights education curriculum, Speak Truth To Power, quickly responded to changes in the ways in which today's children learn by digitizing its curriculum. This shift allowed us to move beyond traditional methodologies and facilitate transfer of knowledge by making STTP accessible to a wider audience.

In recent history, our programmatic pillars have accomplished the following :

RFK Human Rights has led the fight against the blatant injustice of money bail, working to free people detained in jail simply because they cannot afford to pay for their freedom, while reforming the elemental structures that lead to mass incarceration in the first place. In 2020, in the face of the unprecedented public health crisis, grew more urgent. As the deadly virus surged, we teamed up with Colin Kaepernick and his Know Your Rights Camp and doubled our efforts to free people unjustly detained in jails. Partnering with community bail funds from coast to coast, we have helped free more than 200 people from the threat of COVID-19 in jails across the nation generating national and regional media coverage that is building public demand for bail reform.
Additionally, we continued to protect crucial freedoms and hold governments accountable for abuses As governments are taking measures to eradicate COVID-19, they are necessarily imposing restrictions that curtail civic spacelimiting the crucial freedoms of expression, assembly, and association. Most political leaders have no intention of robbing people of these rights in any long-term or ongoing way, but some autocratic leaders see an opportunity to seize additional power. Since the start of the pandemic, our team of lawyers and advocates has been working around the world to monitor abuses to civic space and to support local responses to these threats. For example, we took urgent actions before the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, including on behalf of 19 LGBTQ individuals who were arbitrarily arrested in Uganda under the guise of violating COVID-19 regulations, but were actually targeted for their sexual orientation and gender identity.
In 2020, our Compass team worked to ensure that workers issues are at the forefront of the social justice conversation. Working with investors and companies, we leveraged shareholder actions to provide protections for workers in the meat industry (following the uptick in COVID-19 cases in more than 100 meat processing plants across the country). Additionally, we issued the Investor Action on Coronavirus. The statementwritten in collaboration with the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility, Domini Impact Investments, and the New
York City Comptrollers Officecalled for increased protections and was signed by 329 investors, representing $9.3 trillion in assets under management.
Through the Young Leaders on Campus program, largely based at historically Black universities and Hispanic college institutes, we equip students with skills to become community organizers and civic leaders. In 2020, our Young Leaders team hosted a forum that discussed how students can protest safely, best practices for interacting with cops, and how to turn people power into political change.

Revenue vs. expenses:  breakdown

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info
Note: When component data are not available, the graph displays the total Revenue and/or Expense values.

Liquidity in 2022 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990


Average of 8.15 over 10 years

Months of cash in 2022 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990


Average of 6.7 over 10 years

Fringe rate in 2022 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990


Average of 33% over 10 years

Funding sources info

Source: IRS Form 990

Assets & liabilities info

Source: IRS Form 990

Financial data

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights

Revenue & expenses

Fiscal Year: Jan 01 - Dec 31

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info

Fiscal year ending: cloud_download Download Data

Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights

Balance sheet

Fiscal Year: Jan 01 - Dec 31

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info

The balance sheet gives a snapshot of the financial health of an organization at a particular point in time. An organization's total assets should generally exceed its total liabilities, or it cannot survive long, but the types of assets and liabilities must also be considered. For instance, an organization's current assets (cash, receivables, securities, etc.) should be sufficient to cover its current liabilities (payables, deferred revenue, current year loan, and note payments). Otherwise, the organization may face solvency problems. On the other hand, an organization whose cash and equivalents greatly exceed its current liabilities might not be putting its money to best use.

Fiscal year ending: cloud_download Download Data

Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights

Financial trends analysis Glossary & formula definitions

Fiscal Year: Jan 01 - Dec 31

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info

This snapshot of Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights’s financial trends applies Nonprofit Finance Fund® analysis to data hosted by GuideStar. While it highlights the data that matter most, remember that context is key – numbers only tell part of any story.

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Business model indicators

Profitability info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Unrestricted surplus (deficit) before depreciation $2,274,803 $1,994,162 $753,804 $465,205 -$2,977,045
As % of expenses 21.5% 18.4% 7.0% 4.2% -20.7%
Unrestricted surplus (deficit) after depreciation $2,139,328 $1,856,820 $617,323 $315,064 -$3,165,545
As % of expenses 20.0% 16.9% 5.7% 2.8% -21.8%
Revenue composition info
Total revenue (unrestricted & restricted) $43,116,912 $18,171,530 $16,870,439 $7,527,165 $12,039,083
Total revenue, % change over prior year 366.7% -57.9% -7.2% -55.4% 59.9%
Program services revenue 0.1% 0.1% 0.1% 0.4% 0.2%
Membership dues 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Investment income 0.8% 2.4% 1.9% 6.4% 3.2%
Government grants 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 10.0% 0.0%
All other grants and contributions 99.1% 97.5% 95.5% 73.6% 96.4%
Other revenue 0.1% -0.1% 2.4% 9.6% 0.2%
Expense composition info
Total expenses before depreciation $10,583,478 $10,849,998 $10,748,968 $11,171,990 $14,354,203
Total expenses, % change over prior year 46.9% 2.5% -0.9% 3.9% 28.5%
Personnel 43.7% 46.9% 55.3% 54.3% 48.5%
Professional fees 27.6% 20.2% 17.0% 20.0% 20.1%
Occupancy 5.4% 5.4% 6.0% 5.7% 4.3%
Interest 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Pass-through 2.8% 4.4% 9.3% 7.9% 3.3%
All other expenses 20.4% 23.1% 12.4% 12.1% 23.8%
Full cost components (estimated) info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Total expenses (after depreciation) $10,718,953 $10,987,340 $10,885,449 $11,322,131 $14,542,703
One month of savings $881,957 $904,167 $895,747 $930,999 $1,196,184
Debt principal payment $0 $0 $0 $750,700 $0
Fixed asset additions $453,684 $0 $547,580 $0 $0
Total full costs (estimated) $12,054,594 $11,891,507 $12,328,776 $13,003,830 $15,738,887

Capital structure indicators

Liquidity info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Months of cash 9.8 8.3 5.4 4.4 3.6
Months of cash and investments 20.8 22.1 23.8 21.8 13.8
Months of estimated liquid unrestricted net assets 12.9 14.7 15.1 15.0 9.2
Balance sheet composition info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Cash $8,669,993 $7,535,912 $4,811,711 $4,125,068 $4,272,178
Investments $9,657,593 $12,489,987 $16,497,091 $16,170,736 $12,263,702
Receivables $5,178,482 $6,733,519 $5,759,872 $5,502,555 $4,374,672
Gross land, buildings, equipment (LBE) $1,788,650 $1,189,651 $1,737,230 $1,768,851 $1,673,474
Accumulated depreciation (as a % of LBE) 65.7% 53.8% 44.7% 52.4% 65.9%
Liabilities (as a % of assets) 15.6% 13.5% 4.6% 4.3% 10.9%
Unrestricted net assets $11,989,369 $13,846,189 $14,463,512 $14,778,576 $11,613,031
Temporarily restricted net assets $32,187,275 N/A N/A N/A N/A
Permanently restricted net assets $2,386,145 N/A N/A N/A N/A
Total restricted net assets $34,573,420 $41,448,781 $46,863,974 $42,728,104 $27,820,816
Total net assets $46,562,789 $55,294,970 $61,327,486 $57,506,680 $39,433,847

Key data checks

Key data checks info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Material data errors No No No No No


The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

Form 1023/1024 is not available for this organization


Ms. Kerry Kennedy

Ms. Kennedy started working in the field of human rights in 1981, when she investigated abuses committed by U.S. immigration officials against refugees from El Salvador. Since then, her life has been devoted to the pursuit of justice, to the promotion and protection of basic rights, and to the preservation of the rule of law. She established the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Human Rights in 1988. She has led over 50 human rights delegations around the globe.Ms. Kennedy is the founder of Speak Truth To Power, a global education initiative, which includes her book, the play, the photographic exhibition by Pulitzer Prize-winner Eddie Adams, the PBS documentary film, and a twelve-week curriculum that has been taught to hundreds of thousands of high school students around the world.Ms. Kennedy is Chair of the Amnesty International USA Leadership Council and serves on the boards of directors of Human Rights First, Inter-Press Service and the United States Institute of Peace. Ms. Kennedy is a graduate of Brown University and Boston College Law School and she is a member of the Massachusetts and District of Columbia bars.

Executive Director

Lynn Delaney

A graduate of Trinity College and Harvard Business School's non-profit management course, and with decades of management experience, Lynn has worked in every area of Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights: overseeing the day-to-day operations as well as working with staff and Board on planning, budgeting, fundraising and program activities; steering awards committees; and organizing events and ceremonies at venues from the Newseum to the White House. While at RFKennedy, she has created new revenue streams, including a Golf Tournament, a yearly membership drive and an online auction which now averages over $1M a year in income. She has participated in delegations to countries including Brazil, South Africa, Cuba, Mexico, Northern Ireland, and Japan. Her work on a proposal to the Ford Foundation resulted in a grant to train and lead a student delegation the United Nation Conference on Discrimination, Racism and Xenophobia in Durban where she exposed 12 college students to the UN system.

Number of employees

Source: IRS Form 990

Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights

Officers, directors, trustees, and key employees

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

Show data for fiscal year
Compensation data
Download up to 5 most recent years of officer and director compensation data for this organization

Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights

Highest paid employees

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

Show data for fiscal year
Compensation data
Download up to 5 most recent years of highest paid employee data for this organization

Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights

Board of directors
as of 01/10/2024
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board of directors data
Download the most recent year of board of directors data for this organization
Board co-chair

Mr. Frank Baker

Siris Capital Group

Term: 2021 -

Board co-chair

Mr. José Feliciano

Clearlake Capital Group

Term: 2021 -

Ethel Kennedy

Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights

Kerry Kennedy

Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights

Anthony Williams


Jeffrey A. Sachs

Sachs Policy Group

Marvin S. Rosen

Greenberg Traurig, LLP

Harry Belafonte

Belafonte Enterprises, Inc.

Peter Edelman

Georgetown University Law School

Mark E. Freitas

Mark Edward Partners

Claudio Grossman

American University Washington College of Law

Phillip W. Johnston

Phillip W. Johnston Associates

Joseph P. Kennedy

Massachusetts, 4th District

Elisa Massimino

Human Rights First

John W. Rogers, Jr.

Ariel Capital Investments

Martin Sheen


Michael H. Posner

NYU Stern School of Business

Henry S. Schleiff

Discovery Communications, Inc.

Niclas Kjellstrom-Matseke


James J. Pinto

MVC Private Equity Fund

Terry Mazany

Chicago Community Trust

Frank Baker

Siris Capital

Peter Barbey

The Village Voice

Tonio Burgos

Tonio Burgos and Associates

Stephen Decherney

University of North Carolina

Jose Feliciano

Clearlake Capital Group

Mark D. Gearan

Harvard University

Kenneth Goldman


Pedro Torres-Mackie

Quotidian Ventures

Donato Tramuto

Tivity Health

Barry Volpert

Crestview Partners

Kylar Broadus

Trans People of Color Coalition

Susan Clark Livingston

Brown Brothers Harriman & Co.

Nelda Connors

Pine Grove Holdings

Kimberly Davis

National Hockey League

Thasunda Brown Duckett


Daniel Halem

Major League Baseball

Cara Kennedy-Cuomo

Sahar Global Summits

Betty Liu

NYSE Group

Stefano Lucchini

Intesa Sanpaolo Group

Dermot McDonogh

Goldman Sachs International

Vivienne Ming

Socos Labs

Sushma Raman

Center for Human Rights

Bhavin Shah

Oak Lane Partners

Dasha Smith

National Football League

Robert F. Smith

Vista Equity Partners

John Studzinski


Randi Weingarten

American Federation of Teachers

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 8/8/2022

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.


The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

The organization's co-leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

Transgender Identity

Sexual orientation

No data


No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 08/08/2022

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

  • We review compensation data across the organization (and by staff levels) to identify disparities by race.
  • We ask team members to identify racial disparities in their programs and / or portfolios.
  • We analyze disaggregated data and root causes of race disparities that impact the organization's programs, portfolios, and the populations served.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
  • We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
Policies and processes
  • We use a vetting process to identify vendors and partners that share our commitment to race equity.
  • We have a promotion process that anticipates and mitigates implicit and explicit biases about people of color serving in leadership positions.
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We measure and then disaggregate job satisfaction and retention data by race, function, level, and/or team.


Fiscal year ending

Professional fundraisers

Fiscal year ending

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 Schedule G

Solicitation activities
Gross receipts from fundraising
Retained by organization
Paid to fundraiser