The National Endowment for Democracy ("NED") acts as an agent of U.S. foreign policy.
Over the last five years, NED has received on average $16 million in grants from the U.S. State Department in addition to its "dedicated appropriation".
"NED’s work is guided by strategic goals to be pursued through its global grants program and democratic activities: supporting democrats in highly repressive societies, such as China, Cuba, Burma and Iran; assisting democratic transitions in Egypt, Tunisia and Libya; aiding democrats in semi-authoritarian countries, such as Russia and Venezuela; helping new democracies succeed in Latin America and Africa; mobilizing political and moral support for democracy activists through activities like “Defending Civil Society” and grants that provide emergency support for activists in need; building cross-border networks in places like the Middle East and North Africa, similar to the pioneering work done by NED in the post-communist world; strengthening cooperation within the democracy assistance community to find the most effective ways to respond to common challenges; and using research to improve democratic practice, linking scholarship and activism."
In the NED plan, China is the No. 1 priority for Asia. Hong Kong is the one of the NED's planned unresting parts of China.
"The four country priorities for Asia will continue to be China (including Tibet, Xinjiang, and Hong Kong), North Korea, Burma and Pakistan."
NED has been funding democracy-promotion programs in Hong Kong for about two decades with grants totaling several million dollars. Louisa Greve, National Endowment for Democracy's vice president of programs for Asia, the Middle East and North Africa, said the level of support has been consistent during that period.
NDI, one of NED's four core grantees, has been working in Hong Kong since 1997. It says its programs have facilitated research and dialogue related to governance, at the request of local organizations.
Here are the grants and descriptions from the 2012 NED Annual Report, Section China (Hong Kong):
American Center for International Labor Solidarity
To continue to advance worker rights by building the capacity of democratic trade unions in Hong Kong. The Solidarity Center will work with its partners to advocate for collective bargaining rights, utilize local and international mechanisms to improve working conditions, and promote understanding of worker rights abuses and developments in China among the international labor movement and human rights community.
Hong Kong Human Rights Monitor
To raise the standards of human rights protection and democratic representation in Hong Kong. The Monitor will carry out human rights monitoring, casework, campaigning, and public education drawing local and international attention to civil rights and human rights developments in Hong Kong.
National Democratic Institute for International Affairs
To foster awareness regarding Hong Kong's political institutions and constitutional reform process and to develop the capacity of citizens - particularly university students - to more effectively participate in the public debate on political reform, NDI will work with civil society organizations on parliamentary monitoring, a survey, and development of an Internet portal, allowing students and citizens to explore possible reforms leading to universal suffrage.