Global Programs

An overview of ICNL’s global programs is below. To learn about our regional activities, please click on the links to the left.

Legal Enabling Environment Program (LEEP)

Through the LEEP program, ICNL seeks to establish legal and regulatory frameworks that protect and promote civil society and civic participation.  LEEP consists of three separate but interrelated project activities.  First, ICNL engages in technical assistance to respond to legislation that either threatens the NGO enabling environment or presents opportunities for favorable NGO legal reform. Second, ICNL strengthens local capacity through the Global Forum on Civil Society Law and through a research fellowship program.  Third, ICNL deepens the analytic basis for reform through research on select issues of NGO law, and through the dissemination of research materials.

  • The NGO Legal Enabling Environment Program (LEEP): 2008-2013
    • Accomplishments under the first LEEP Program included technical assistance that led to positive modifications to laws, expansion of the Civic Freedom Monitor, creation of the Research Fellowship Program, the 2011 Global Forum and opportunities to conduct research studies.
  • The Global Civil Society Legal Enabling Environment Project II (LEEP II): 2013-2017
    • Through LEEP II, ICNL seeks to support and defend freedom of association and assembly for civil society organizations (CSOs) worldwide. Accomplishments so far include successful technical engagements, continuation of the Research Fellowship Program, continued updates to the Civic Freedom Monitor, the 2015 Global Forum and a research paper on the legal framework for fundraising.

Civic Space Initiative

Around the world, governments are using the law to re­strict space for civil society. The Civic Space Initiative (CSI) is a program that addresses this troubling trend, aiming to:

  • Promote a legal environment that enables all people to exercise the freedoms of peaceful    assembly, associa­tion, and expression
  • Empower civil society organizations (CSOs) to mean­ingfully engage with government and other power holders on these civil society rights.

Support for the CSI is provided by the Government of Sweden. Read more about the program here.

United States International Grantmaking (USIG)

A growing number of American foundations are beginning to consider funding activities outside the United States. But US laws governing philanthropy are complex and demanding, and the process of funding cross-border activities can be intimidating for grant makers. 

The United States International Grant-making (USIG) project facilitates effective and responsible international grant-making by U.S. foundations. The project serves both grant makers and grant seekers, highlighting pertinent US laws and regulations, outlining the options available for different types of foundation, and providing useful forms along with instructions. In addition, the site offers information about the legal framework for grant-making in specific countries. Country notes are currently available for 35 countries. USIG is a project of the Council on Foundations in partnership with the International Center for Not-For-Profit Law.