Types of funding

Social Justice Fund NW has three main grantmaking programs: Giving Project grants, Rapid Response grants, and Seed grants. All three grantmaking programs fund social justice community organizing in Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington and Wyoming.

Giving Project Grants

Giving Projects grants are typically $10,000/year for one or two years depending on the cycle. Giving Project grants provide general operating funds to support the day to day operations of grassroots community organizing groups working on struggles for justice, equity, and liberation.

About Giving Project grants

Giving Projects accept and prioritize grant applications from groups engaging in community organizing for social justice, equity, and liberation, and that are led and directed by the communities most impacted by the issues they address.

Each Giving Project is made up of a cross-class, multiracial  cohort of 15-25 volunteers who have committed to building community together, learning about social justice, and working together to fund strategic, inspiring, and under-resourced community organizing. The members of every Giving Project each make a donation of an amount that is meaningful to them, develop skills as donor organizers, raise the money that funds the grant pool, screen grant proposals, participate in site visits, and make the final granting decisions. We believe the result is a more accountable, connected, and sustainable approach to social justice funding.

Staff, volunteers, and members of grantee and prospective organizations are welcome to join Giving Projects! We currently offer Giving Projects in Seattle and Portland. Learn more about Giving Projects here.

Giving Project Grant funding criteria

Please review the Check Your Eligibility section of the website for detailed information about SJF’s  basic eligibility information.

All Giving Project grant decisions are made by the members of a Giving Project, who use SJF’s Grantmaking Criteria to guide their decision making process. We encourage all applicants to review the Grantmaking Criteria document to help you understand what we consider a strong applicant.

Giving Project grantmaking process

Every Giving Project grant cycle follows the same process:

  • Application and Prescreening
      1. Applications must be received by 5 pm PST on the application deadline.  Late applications will not be accepted.
      2. Applications may be submitted online (preferred) or by email,  postal mail, or hand delivery.
      3. SJF staff prescreen applications to determine which organizations are eligible and notify applicants of the decision (within 3 weeks after the application deadline).
  • Scoring Applications
      1. Giving Project members begin reading and scoring all eligible applications for their grant cycle.
  • Site Visit Screening
      1. Giving Project members discuss the applications and decide through a democratic process which organizations will proceed as finalists and receive a site visit. Staff facilitate the discussion but don’t make decisions.
      2. Staff notify applicants of the group’s decision within a week
  • Site Visits
      1. SJF will reach out to finalist organizations to schedule site visits. When at all possible, site visits will be done in person, in the organization’s community. Exception: Momentum Giving Project site visits will be shorter than regular site visits and done by video or conference call.
      2. Led by a staff or board member, Giving Project members attend the site visit to meet the organization, ask questions, and learn more about their work.
  • Final Decisions
      1. Staff look at how much money the Giving Project has raised in total. Of this, 15% goes back to SJF to offset the costs of operating the Giving Project; 85% is granted.
      2. Giving Project members discuss the finalists and decide through a democratic process which organizations to recommend for funding. Staff facilitate the discussion but don’t make decisions.
      3. Staff sends the Giving Project’s recommendations to SJF’s Board of Directors and, after board approval, notify the applicants of decisions (within a week after Final Decision date).
  • Grant Disbursement
    1. Checks are disbursed approximately four times a year on a predetermined schedule. This schedule is necessary in order to ensure our own cash flow and the sustainability of our grantmaking model. We may be able to make exceptions and expedite disbursement for some grantees. Please contact us if you are selected for funding and you expect that waiting for the planned disbursement date would be difficult for your organization.
Current Giving Project grant opportunities and timelines

Criminal Justice Grant (Deadline has passed)

Coalitions & Alliances Grant (Deadline has passed)

Environmental Justice Grant (Deadline: Aug. 30, 2018 at 5 pm PST) — Two-year grant of $10,000 per year. The Environmental Justice grant will support organizing work that aims to achieve equitable access to a clean and healthy environment for frontline communities most impacted by environmental racism, climate change, and environmental injustice, especially the spaces where communities live, work, learn, play, pray, and heal. This grant will fund rural and urban organizations working at the intersection of environmental, racial, and economic justice to create sustainable, self-determined and just communities. Environmental justice work can include, but is not limited to, access to clean and healthy food, water and air; affordable and healthy housing, addressing neighborhood blight, just transition and climate resilience work, etc. For more information, please contact Project Manager: Mercedes Klein

Gender Justice Grant (Deadline: Sept. 6, 2018 at 5 pm PST) — Two-year grant of $10,000/per year. This grant will fund community organizing at the intersection of gender, race, and sexuality, which works for a world where all people — especially women, girls, transgender and gender non-conforming people — are able to identify and express their gender and sexual orientation without fear, discrimination or harm, and have the economic, social, and political power and resources to make healthy decisions for themselves, their families and their communities in all areas of their lives. For more information, please contact Project Manager: Melody Martinez

Black Led Organizing Grant (Deadline: Sept. 13, 2018 at 5 pm PST) — Two-year grant of $10,000/per year. This grant will support community organizing led by and for Black communities and communities of African descent who are working to end anti-Black racism and discrimination, support and invest in Black leadership, and sustain movements for Black liberation to achieve a world where Black lives are no longer systematically and intentionally targeted for demise. This grant will therefore fund and help sustain the momentum of groups who are organizing to build power for Black communities and improve the quality of Black life in the Northwest. To be eligible groups must meet all other SJF eligibility criteria, have at least 51% Black leadership on their Board, steering committee, or other leadership body and must be explicitly working to effect systemic change. For more information, please contact Project Manager: Karen Toering

 

Grant Cycle
Application Deadline
Site Visits Selected
Site Visits
Final Decisions
Check Disbursement
Staff Contact
Criminal Justice Feb. 1, 2018 April 14, 2018 May 1 – July 8, 2018 July 14, 2018 Aug. 16, 2018 Karen Toering
Coalitions & Alliances Feb. 13, 2018 June 2, 2018 June 15 – Aug 11, 2018 August 18, 2018 Sept. 13, 2018 Magan Do
Environmental Justice Aug. 23, 2018 Dec. 1, 2018 Dec. 15, 2018 – Feb. 22, 2019 March 2, 2019 April 4, 2019 Mercedes Klein
Gender Justice Sept. 6, 2018 Dec. 1, 2018 Dec. 15, 2018- Feb 22, 2019 March 2, 2019 April 4, 2019 Melody Martinez
Black Led Organizing Sept. 13, 2018 Dec. 8, 2013 Dec. 15, 2018- Feb 22, 2019 March 2, 2019 April 4, 2019 Karen Toering

Want to learn more? Join an upcoming online info session for prospective grantees:

Is your group interested in applying for a Giving Project grant? RSVP for one of our online info sessions with time for Q&A to learn more about SJF’s current grant opportunities and tips for submitting a successful application.

  • Black Led Organizing Grant Info Session: Friday, June 22, 2018 from 12-1pm PDT
  • All Giving Project Grants Info Session: Wednesday, July 18, 2018 from 10am-11am PDT

To join an online Info Session please RSVP HERE. After you RSVP, you’ll receive an email with the login/cal- in information. For more info, please contact Mercedes@socialjusticefund.org

Rapid Response Grants

Rapid Response grants are small project specific grants of $2,000 to help grassroots organizations respond quickly to the changing political climate with actions and/or strategies that could not have been anticipated.

Rapid Response funding criteria

Rapid Response fund will make grants to groups that meet the following criteria:

  • Be an organized group of people (we do not fund individuals).
    • This may include a non-profit organization with 501(c)3 or 501(c)4 status as determined by the IRS OR a federally recognized American Indian tribal government or agency OR an organization that is fiscally sponsored by a 501(c)3 or 501(c)4 organization or federally recognized tribal government.
    • Groups that are not 501(c)3 or c(4) organizations and are not fiscally sponsored can apply, but must speak with an SJF staff person first.
  • Are led by people who are most directly affected by the problems that the organization or project is addressing.
  • Use a community organizing approach
  • Carry out most of their work in Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington, and/or Wyoming.
  • Are facing an urgent issue or emergency situation that could not have been anticipated and was not part of the organization’s projected work, and therefore need to respond to something that could not have been planned for.
  • Have a plan for how they will respond to the urgent issue or emergency situation.
  • Have completed all past due year-end reports for any previous SJF grants.

Priority will be given to previous SJF grantees, groups led by people of color, groups that are outside of Seattle and Portland metro areas, groups that have not received a Rapid Response grant within the past 12 months, and groups who are working in coalition and partnership with other organizations.

Examples of potential eligible projects:

  • Emergency mobilizations and community meetings in response to a recent police shooting
  • Organizing a community defense response to a recently announced white supremacist rally and march
  • Planning a direct action at a corporate shareholder meeting that was just announced
  • Rapid response legal clinics and know your rights trainings in response to Executive Orders or other sudden policy changes
  • A rapid response canvassing effort to educate and connect with targeted community members about the dangers of a religious registry

Examples of projects that would not be eligible for a Rapid Response grant:

  • An ongoing campaign facing a new development that could have been predicted as a scenario
  • Annual conferences, events, or operating expenses for ongoing organizing work.
  • A fundraising campaign for an individual
  • Budget shortfalls
  • Bail funds
Rapid Response process and timeline

Rapid Response grants are awarded monthly, usually February through November (or until the funds are spent down). The application deadline is rolling but we encourage you to turn in your application by the 1st of the month. The grantmaking committee, a volunteer committee made up of grantee representatives and Giving Project alumni from around our region, meets on the 15th of each month to review all applications received by the 1st of that month and award grants. You will be notified of grant decisions within 4-6 weeks from when you apply. For more information please contact Grant Manager, Magan Do.

Seed Grants

Seed Grants are small general operating grants of $2,000 to support new and emerging groups that are developing their community organizing work but might not yet meet all the qualifications for SJF’s Giving Project grants.

Seed Grant funding criteria

The Seed Grant fund will make grants to groups that meet the following criteria:

  • Are an organized group of people (we do not fund individuals).
    • Groups that are not 501(c)3 or c(4) organizations and are not fiscally sponsored can apply, but must speak with an SJF staff person first.
  • Been in existence for 3 years or less
  • Conduct the primary activities of their work in ID, MT, OR, WA, or WY
  • Have organizational beliefs and goals that are aligned with SJF’s values
  • Can demonstrate that they are using a community organizing approach or actively building capacity to do community organizing
  • Have demonstrated involvement by, and accountability to, the communities most impacted by the issues they work on
  • Have a plan for how they want to grow their work over the next year
  • Have never received a regular SJF Giving Project grant or Seed Grant

Priority will be given to groups led by people of color and/or groups based outside of Seattle and Portland metro areas. Funds are general operating funds.

The Seed Fund will not fund:

  • General operating requests from organizations that primarily provide direct services to individuals and families.
  • Environmental work unless it is aimed at achieving social justice goals (i.e. environmental justice). For example, SJF generally does not fund recycling or resource conservation projects, but we do fund community organizing projects addressing environmental threats that disproportionately harm communities of color or low-income communities.
  • Projects sponsored by a government agency. For example, SJF would not fund a project led by a public school district, but we might fund a project led by communities of color that partners with public schools to address the opportunity gap for students of color. The project must be community driven and led by those most directly affected by the problem.
  • Individuals, endowment funds or capital campaigns.
Seed Grant process and timeline

Seed Grants are awarded monthly, usually February through November (or until the funds are spent down). The application deadline is rolling but we encourage you to turn in your application by the 1st of the month. The grantmaking committee, a volunteer committee made up of grantee representatives and Giving Project alumni from around our region, meets on the 15th of each month to review all applications received by the 1st of that month and award grants. You will be notified of grant decisions within 4-6 weeks from when you apply. For more information please contact Grant Manager, Magan Do.