Right Menu

Human Rights

The Jackson Legacy

Senator Jackson was committed to advancing democracy and respect for human rights around the world. He fought tirelessly for human rights in the Soviet Union, and paid attention to the pleas of Soviet dissidents who insisted that economic assistance to the Soviet Union should be conditioned upon progress on human rights and democracy. He focused on securing the freedom of emigration for Soviet Jews and other ethnic minorities subjected to restrictions imposed by the Soviet Union.


Senator Jackson's political leadership and diplomacy in this area culminated in the 1974 landmark legislation, the Jackson-Vanik Amendment. This law linked the granting of most favored nation (MFN) trade status to the freedom of emigration, establishing human rights as a central concern in U.S. foreign policy. Since 1975, more than one million Jews have immigrated to Israel from Russia and the former Soviet Union and more than 500,000 refugees have immigrated to the United States from the region.

Grants and Strategic Initiative Priorities

The Foundation's human rights program seeks to make a lasting contribution to the development of a rule of law-based society in Russia by supporting organizations in Russia and the U.S. that are working on those issues.

The Foundation supports Strategic Initiatives in its Human Rights Program. It seeks partners for programs that advance discussion of the development of civil society, rule of law, and democratic institutions in Russia, with a special emphasis on minority rights, xenophobia, the European Court of Human Rights, and fostering an understanding of the Soviet past.  For examples of the kind of public programming that is commensurate with the Foundation's interests, see Featured Grants and Initiatives.  If you would like to discuss a possible Strategic Initiative, please call or send us an e-mail.  See Grant Process for additional application information.

Helen H. Jackson Chair in Human Rights

In 2006, the Jackson Foundation's Board bestowed the Henry M. Jackson Award for Distinguished Public Service on Helen for her exemplary life in service to our community and the nation. In 2008, the Jackson Foundation's Board honored Helen by endowing the Helen H. Jackson Chair in Human Rights at the University of Washington's Jackson School of International Studies with a $1 million gift.