Breakthrough is a global human rights organization working to drive the culture change we need to build a world in which all people live with dignity, equality, and respect.

Working out of centers in the U.S. and India, we use a potent mix of media, arts, and tech to reach people where they are and inspire them to take bold action to challenge the status quo.

We often view the most crucial issues of our time through the lens of gender, because we believe that promoting equality for all genders is a pathway to promoting the human rights, and the humanity, of all people. Since 1999, we have also worked to promote immigrant rights, racial justice, and the rights of people living with HIV/AIDS.

WHAT WE DO IN THE U.S.

In the U.S., we work to change the attitudes and assumptions around gender that lead to violence and discrimination.

We embolden young and emerging leaders to take action in their own spheres to challenge limiting, damaging gender norms. We inspire them to promote new norms that enable everyone to reach their full potential—at home, in school, at work, online, and everywhere in between.

OUR UNIQUE APPROACH: CULTURE CHANGE FOR HUMAN RIGHTS

“Where, after all, do human rights begin? In small places, close to home.”
—Eleanor Roosevelt

Human rights are universal and fundamental. More than a matter of oppression in far-off lands, they are intrinsic to the way we treat each other in our communities, in our families, and in our homes. And when we treat each other with human rights values—dignity, equality, respect—we create a culture of human rights.

Culture is a community’s distinctive set of spiritual, material, intellectual, and emotional features. Culture can be expressed in art, language, cuisine, customs, and even laws. Culture sets the rules, spoken or silent, of “how we do things,” what’s acceptable, and what’s not.


This is where we see—and seize—the opportunity for change.
Culture is not static. We don’t just consume it. We create it and evolve it. So we have the power to change the elements of culture that perpetuate discrimination and violence. And when we do, we can build families, communities, and institutions in which dignity, equality, and respect—the core values of human rights—carry the day. 

OUR STRATEGIES

Multimedia & Pop Culture

We use media, arts, pop culture, and technology–animations, storytelling, video games, social media and more–to reach mass audiences where they are, challenge norms, and make human rights values and issues real, relevant, urgent, and actionable.

Leadership Trainings

We train new generations of leaders to ignite change in their own communities, institutions, and in the world around them.

Strategic Partnerships

We develop strategic, game-changing partnerships with communities, governments, businesses, and entertainment leaders to reach maximum scale and lasting impact.

Community Mobilization

We cultivate grassroots community engagement to raise awareness and inspire action for local and global human rights issues.

Impact

We measure our impact and share lessons learned in the broader field of innovations for social justice and human rights.

It starts with you.

Explore Breakthrough’s Programs

#ActToo

#ActToo is a digital campaign that suggests easily achievable daily actions everyone can take to stand in solidarity with those who have said #MeToo. Everyone can #ActToo: Whether it’s standing up against street harassment, defending others against internet trolls, or asking your workplace to adopt more inclusive practices.

THE G WORD

A global storytelling platform designed to explore how gender norms affect us all—and break through the limits of society’s expectations for men and women. Because individually and together, we are so much more.

Breakthrough Action Lab

Action Lab

An incubator that trains students to recognize and dismantle the cultural norms that lead to gender-based violence on their campus through student-led iconic disruptive actions to create a world in which all can live with dignity and respect.

Ring The Bell

A campaign that drove people to interrupt the sexism, discrimination, or violence they see in their communities and everyday lives by leveraging their own skills and contributions, from speaking out against harassment to advocating workplace policies that ensure women’s rights and safety.

#BeThatGuy

A series of short advertisements that demonstrated how sexual harassment sometimes plays out in public spaces like sporting events and parties – and how people can “be that guy” and call out that harmful behavior among their peers.

BreakthroughU

A three-part narrative video series featuring puppets who deal with gender-based discrimination and violence demonstrating ways in which you can take action to disrupt norms and challenge attitudes and behavior to bring about culture change.

Check out Breakthrough’s Facilitated Programs

Greek Men Fighting Toxic Masculinity

A workshop for fraternity men centered on topics of masculinity and relating it to the culture of Greek Life at Rutgers University exploring fraternity values, inclusivity, healthy and toxic masculinity, how it can leads to harmful norms and practices, and what can be done to change them.

Express Respect

An exhibition that tackles violent language, aiming to demonstrate the way in which words can become harmful when they are used in contexts that normalize and minimize the violence that is actually being described.

Bathroom Revolution

An action centered on bathroom access for trans and gender nonconforming people, a group of students posted all gender restroom signs over gendered restroom signs all over Bates College.

Positive Change

A campaign to address consent, respect, and bodily autonomy and ensure that everyone had access to the resources they needed to turn Spring Weekend at Brown University into a space where everyone can feel safe, respected, and have a good time.

Not Just Sex Project

A digital campaign that used storytelling, social media, and art to examine students’ unique feelings about and experiences with hookup culture and to challenge expectations and often conflicting norms at Marist College and beyond.

On Tap Project

A campaign that tackled campus party culture, alcohol, and consent through students’ varied perspectives about how consent could be asked for, given, or received when alcohol was involved.

Let’s Picture Consent

A campaign that challenges us to think about the different ways that non-consensual photo sharing happen, using graphics and social media to activate people to share their stories and take action.

#BannerUp

A campaign to counter a practice by campus fraternity houses that would display banners at the beginning of the school year with messages that promoted misogyny and rape culture to incoming freshman women and their families. Instead, a group of IU students and fraternity members decided to post their own banners displaying messages that challenged these harmful practices.