Interweaving threads

Annual report 2023

Untangling The Skein

Four years have passed since we began the adventure of imagining a new way of providing resources to organizations, collectives and networks working locally for people’s rights and social justice in Mexico. During all these years, we have designed a trust-based and mutual learning model that focuses on generating conditions for autonomy and strengthening organizational processes to reduce power gaps between donors and those who receive funding.

Throughout this time, the serious human rights crises we face remain and have deepened. We are facing a climate emergency and a siege on our shared natural resources. Also, there is an increase of the structural violence that affects women, LGBTI+ population, racialized and indigenous children and communities, and the lethal persecution against those who defend their rights and territories continues.

In this report, we want to share how our philanthropic approach provides sustainability and advancement of local organizational processes facing these difficulties. The relevance of economic and strategic resources going directly to the organizers who mobilize change at the territorial level is a felt need in Mexico and around the world. Acento Acción Local is experimenting and testing how to do this in a thoughtful and strategic way

Join us as we share our findings and learnings in this effort to exercise philanthropy that responds to the challenges and needs of local realities.

Weaving New Ways of Relating To One Another

Acento collaborates in strategic alliance with the partners. This involves both the funding we can provide and the programmed accompaniment we build through dialogue and reinforcement of the tools and skills to work for social justice.

Below we share the basis of our strategic partnership:

The type of funding we offer:

multi-annual, flexible and direct to the partners.

We are flexible because realities change all the time.

Flexibility allows partners to invest financial resources in the needs of the work they already do. This leads to strategic results and speeds up their processes of adaptation and response to reality.

The autonomous use of resources is a political strength.

Resources go directly to the organizations, without intermediaries; thus, increasing their political autonomy and their financial decision-making capacity.

Multi-year for medium-term planning.

We want to offer the certainty that groups and organizations will receive funding for three consecutive years. This allows our partners to strategically plan their work and the management of other funding in the medium term.

The type of accompaniment we offer:

personalized accompaniment and strengthening opportunities, advice on legal and fiscal compliance, and accountability without scrutiny.

Personalized accompaniment, since organizational processes are diverse and heterogeneous.

We jointly identify needs and based on that we designed a tailor-made offer of strengthening options, ensuring our contributions will always be significant and will add value.

Allocate time and resources for internal strengthening.

We deemed that the organizational strengthening is relevant so we provided additional resources for training and consolidation efforts.

Attention to fiscal and legal compliance.

We provide advisory services according to the needs of our partners. Regularization and legal, fiscal, and accounting compliance have received growing attention among our partners.

Accountability as a transparency and learning exercise, not as scrutiny.

We encourage our partners to keep good control of expenditures without asking them to carry out strict scrutiny exercises. We trust their investments will be strategic. This helps to ensure that resources are invested with local suppliers and solidarity networks, extending a virtuous local economic dynamic.

Principles of our relationship:

building trust, close communication, respecting processes and strengthening a learning centric autonomy.

Close, warm and respectful communication to build a trust-based relationship.

We approach groups and organizations so that we can get to know them in a comprehensive way: their members, objectives, problems and potential. We provide substantive information in a simple and transparent way.

We respect processes and strengthen autonomy.

Our basis is respect for partners’ internal processes, for their autonomy in programmatic, financial and organizational decision-making processes.

Focus on learning.

Our Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning Model (EEMA in Spanish) facilitates reflection on their own achievements, risks, challenges and learning. This model helps us to build a collective learning space.

Hand-Made Stitches

This year we are delighted to witness that the collaboration between Acento and partner organizations, collectives and networks has resulted in a number of achievements.

We confirm their fundamental contribution to restoring and maintaining the life and dignity of people, conserving nature, promoting mining-free municipalities, decriminalizing abortion, obtaining rulings in favor of communities, facilitating procedures to access basic rights such as migrants’ or trans people identity, providing community and intercultural health care, and accompanying victims of violence, disappearances, torture and other grave rights violations, among many other successful actions of the organizations.

All these examples confirm that, despite the crises, the energy to face them is greater and is mainly in the hands of those who live and face them every day. This year we can see important achievements of their work:

This achievements encourage creativity to sustain their work over time. For us, they have meant something significant: relationships based on trust and communication work well and translate into results that positively impact communities and, consequently, the human rights and social justice movement.


Our work is adding to the achievements of our partners; here is a summary of our work during 2023.

Number of partners supported


First year receiving Acento’s funding


States of the republic in which we have partnerships


Rapid Response Funds awarded


Agendas to which we contribute


Grave human rights violations


Racial, gender and sexual justice


Peace- Building


Climate and socio-environmental justice


Collective rights of peoples and communities


Participation in public affairs and democratic processes

Strengthening activities carried out

Training activities


Technical accompaniment


Exchanges of experiences


Partner meetings


To emerging events, agile responses.

Acento's Rapid Response Fund (RRF) provides extraordinary resources to support both political junctures that help advance a social justice agenda or prevent it from regressing, as well as to address security or socio-environmental emergencies to which defenders and their communities have been exposed.

Partners focused their capacity building on:


Fiscal and accounting topics


Conflict settlement


Organizational process evaluation


Strategic planning


Collective care, self-care and psych emotional accompaniment


Advocacy strategies


Strategic communication and spokespersons


Legal tools for human rights defenders


Security for human rights defenders

Less knots, more freedom.

Contribution for partner organizations | 68%

$33,738 880.00 MXN

Rapid Response Fund | 2%

$992,320.00 MXN

Operational costs | 25%

$12,404 000.00 MXN

Administrative expenses | 5%

$2,480 800.00 MXN

Total | 100%

$49,616,000.00 MXN

The extremely helpful support provided by the McArthur Foundation, the Ford Foundation and the Open Society Foundations has enabled the work performed by Acento, as well as the capital contributions given to our partners.

Framing The Canvas


Currently, we are doing the following.

We organized our first Meeting of Partners with the participation of 62 collectives, organizations and networks with whom we collaborate. We experienced how in a heterogeneous group of participants there was an interconnection and transversality of agendas, both in the framework of human rights and in the search for the common good and the defense of the life and health of people, communities and nature. Strategies for advocacy, self-care and security, and strengthening their work were the focus of the substantive exchange. We held a spokesperson workshop with the aim of strengthening tools for the construction and amplification of messages from their own voice.


We traveled throughout the country to amplify the voice of our partners.

In collaboration with Antifaz, we launched 14 episodes of the third season of No se Dice Provincia, a podcast trying to overcome centralism and give space to people and organizations that take us on a journey to different parts of the Mexican Republic. With this collaboration, the partners – based on their own voice and perspective – shared with us their experiences, challenges, needs and achievements in social transformation work.

Sembrando local.

Understanding the importance of amplifying our partners’ voice, we promoted the #SembrandoLocal campaign, which aims to be a space where partners can give voice to the work they carry out at the local level, make their needs and substantive achievements visible.

Together We Weave Learning

In 2023, we have placed an important emphasis on learning. With admiration, we realize that despite the violence and an increasingly restricted civic and political space, groups and organizations have the ability to find the cracks through which they can influence state and community structures. This is why they intend to stay alive and strengthen themselves organizationally. .

Currently, we can assume Acento is a strategic ally that facilitates collective expressions to defend rights and social justice to gain access to economic and strategic resources, strengthening their capacity to act with diligence, autonomy and generating broad processes of collective learning.

Four years after we began to imagine a different way of doing philanthropy, we are now seeing how our trust-based practices, observation, listening and mutual learning have expanded our ability to build stronger and stronger relationships with groups,, organizations and partner networks.In most cases, this translates into a powerful collaborative process that opens up new ways of thinking about the relationship between donors and partners, that is, between philanthropy and territorial initiatives for social transformation.

The achievements we have made encourage the creativity to sustain our work over time. They have meant something important to us: relationships based on trust and communication work well and translate into results that positively impact communities and, consequently, the human rights and social justice movement.

We will continue to be committed to pushing the boundaries in order to keep expanding the possibilities, untying knots of control and mistrust so that energy should not divert from the framework. We will continue to shape ourselves as strategic allies of social transformation.