Social justice philanthropy focuses on the root causes of social, economic and environmental injustices. It strives to include the people who are impacted by those injustices as decision-makers and leaders. It also aims to make the field of philanthropy more accessible and diverse. In social justice philanthropy, foundations are accountable, transparent and responsive in their grantmaking. Donors and foundations act as allies to social justice movements by contributing not only monetary resources but their time, knowledge, skills and access. Social justice philanthropy is also sometimes called social change philanthropy, social movement philanthropy, and community-based philanthropy.*
The following is a growing list of national or international public foundations and intermediaries, all of which fund community organizing led by people most impacted by systems of oppression.
Thousand Currents (formerly IDEX)
Local and Regional Social Justice Community Foundations
The following list were the 16 member funds of the former Funding Exchange, which closed in 2013.
Bread and Roses Community Fund (Philadelphia, PA)
Chinook Fund (Colorado)
Crossroads Fund (Chicago, IL)
Cypress Fund (Carolinas)
Diverse City Fund (Washington, D.C.)
Foundation for Change (San Diego-Tijuana region, CA)
Haymarket People’s Fund (Boston, MA)
Headwaters Foundation for Justice (Minnesota)
Liberty Hill Foundation (Los Angeles, CA)
McKenzie River Gathering Foundation (Oregon)
North Star Fund (New York)
Three Rivers Community Fund (Southwest, PA)
Social Justice Fund NW (Washington)
Rapid Response Funds
The following is a list of rapid response funds that fund social justice organizing.
- Urgent Action Fund for Women’s Human Rights is a global women’s fund that protects, strengthens and sustains women and transgender human rights defenders at critical moments. We intervene quickly when activists are poised to make great gains or face serious threats to their lives and work. We use online, text and mobile funding applications to respond to requests from women’s human rights defenders within 72 hours and have funds on the ground within 1-7 days.
- Our Rapid Response Grantmaking program supports activists to seize unanticipated opportunities to make change and to protect themselves when in immediate danger. Activists may apply in any language, on any day of the year, and are guaranteed a response within 72 hours. Funds can be wired within a week.
- Since 1948, The San Francisco Foundation has been firmly committed to serving the people of our region. We are an incubator for community investment, original ideas, and passionate leadership in the Bay Area. The Bay Area and the nation are at a crossroads. Despite historic levels of prosperity, there is rising income and wealth inequality, and increasing poverty. Additionally, young people, residents earning low wages, and people of color are underrepresented in the political and policymaking process. In order to advance racial and economic equity, The San Francisco Foundation believes that those who are most impacted should be at the forefront of efforts to change these disparities. They should have the resources they need to devise and lead campaigns and to take action to improve social and economic conditions in their communities, and across the region. Now more than ever, movement leaders need the ability to respond, in a timely manner, to pressing issues that disproportionately impact low-income people and communities of color. Recognizing this urgent need, the Foundation is launching a Rapid Response Fund for Movement Building.
- In the U.S., the majority of people support reproductive justice but the majority of policies and systems do not. This gap can only be bridged when the people organizing a strong grassroots base to hold decision-makers accountable receive the resources they need to succeed. At Groundswell Fund, we resource the most effective grassroots efforts for change.
- Groundswell’s Rapid Response Fund fills a critical gap in the philanthropic landscape: fast funding to grassroots organizations in unexpected fights to protect and advance RJ. Attacks on reproductive justice have risen dramatically over the last decade and the lack of rapid response funding, particularly to community-rooted organizations led by people of color, has resulted in major policy defeats and missed opportunities to build and energize a pro-RJ base. Groundswell Fund supports more RJ organizations than any other funder in the country, making it uniquely equipped to deploy rapid response funds to organizers on the ground. The open lines of communication we have built across the movement enable us to assess quickly emerging threats and make strategic decisions about specific requests for funding.
Emergent (Solidaire and Women Donors Network’s new rapid response fund)
- The 2016 election results present immediate threats to a wide range of communities who were belittled, criminalized and attacked during the presidential campaign – immigrants, women, Muslim and Arab-American communities, Black people, LGBTQ communities, and all people of color. These communities need increased capacity so that they can respond, act nimbly, and develop new strategies in this new period. The fund will focus on grassroots organizations in communities of color who are facing injustice based on racial, ethnic, religious and other forms of discrimination. We will provide resources to defend against what’s coming, and to develop innovative strategies to transform our country.
Third Wave Fund Mobilize Power Fund
- Third Wave Fund resources and supports youth-led Gender Justice activism to advance the political power, well-being, and self determination of communities of color and low-income communities.
- The Mobilize Power Fund is:
- A rapid response fund for direct action, community mobilization, and healing justice.
- Available to coalitions, organizations, and non-501(c)(3) efforts.
- Open all year and accepts proposals in many formats: written narrative, a phone call, or a short video.
- Dedicated to work led by young women of color, queer, trans, and intersex youth of color and low-income youth.
- Resist believes in grassroots organizing, creativity, and power. That is why we strive to be a very different type of foundation. We are a grassroots foundation, with grassroots donors, that supports grassroots action. We want to support you: the activists on the ground who are doing the work. Please read about eligibility, the process, and our six deadlines per year. Feel free to contact us with questions you may have.
- Resist offers $500 Emergency Grants to eligible groups who are facing unforeseen and timely political opportunities. We offer this support so that your group can respond quickly to unexpected organizing needs. You do not have to have already been funded by Resist to apply for the Emergency Grant.
- The Fund for Trans Generations (FTG) was created by a diverse group of funders to ensure that frontline trans activists and organizations have the financial resources and engagement needed to advance the safety, security and rights of trans people. The Fund’s grantmaking is informed by and responsive to trans communities and movements.
- As we have witnessed recently and historically, the conditions of trans communities can change rapidly due to increased visibility and transphobic attacks by individuals and institutions. Organizations and communities often need additional resources to respond quickly to organized opposition and to unanticipated events. The FTG rapid response fund will provide support for situations that require immediate response and for proactive activities that pursue strategic opportunities.
- North Star Fund is New York City’s community foundation working to create a more just and equitable city. By organizing donors, raising funds for grassroots activism, and distributing grants, we support efforts ranging from better schools, housing and healthcare, to protecting civil liberties and creating living wage jobs.
- Let Us Breathe Fund
- Purpose of grants: To support organizing and activism that require on-the-spot funding for immediate action on the most urgent issues of our time. The commitment and ability to respond quickly and strategically to the time-critical realities of dealing with abuses of power sets North Star Fund apart among foundations supporting grassroots community organizing and activism. Grant Amounts: Up to $5,000 for immediate actions. Eligible Groups: Current or former North Star Fund grantees.
- Bread & Roses Community Fund (Philadelphia) believes in change, not charity. We organize donors at all levels to support community-based groups in building movements for racial equity and economic opportunity. We support movements and their leaders through fundraising, grantmaking, capacity building, and convening.
- Planning is important, but some of the best community organizing happens on the spur of the moment. In addition to supporting ongoing community organizing, Bread & Roses provides grants of up to $500 for unbudgeted expenses to grassroots organizations through the Opportunity Fund. A typical Opportunity Fund proposal might request support for a last-minute rally, a new coalition, emergency travel to Washington, or other responses to a rapidly emerging issue.
- The Open Technology Fund utilizes available funds to support Internet freedom projects that empower world citizens to have access to modern communication channels that are free of restrictions, and allow them to communicate without fear of repressive censorship or surveillance.
- The Rapid Response Fund is part of a broader OTF initiative which aims to facilitate the development of a strong digital emergency response community that can work together to resolve threats in a timely and comprehensive manner. OTF offers both direct financial support as well as technical services from trusted partners to resolve digital emergencies experienced by high-risk Internet users and organizations, such as bloggers, cyber activists, journalists. and human rights defenders.
- The New York Immigration Coalition was created in 1987 as a coalition of immigrant-led and immigrant-serving organizations. We envision a New York State that is stronger because all people are welcome, treated fairly, and given the chance to pursue their dreams. Our mission is to unite immigrants, Members, and allies so all New Yorkers can thrive.
- The New York Immigration Coalition (NYIC) is pleased to announce a Request for Interest (RFI) process for its This is Our New York Campaign, which was created to coordinate response efforts to protect and promote the interests of immigrants in the wake of the 2016 presidential election.
Liberty Hill Foundation (based in Los Angeles)
- We are community organizers, donor activists and allies organizing people and organizing money to create a better Los Angeles.
- The Rapid Response Fund for Racial Justice seeks to support pro-active policies to address police-violence in two overburdened regions: Los Angeles County and the San Francisco Bay Area. These regions are comprised of ‘minority-majority’ communities with large African American Latino immigrant populations, high rates of poverty and unemployment, and low levels of educational attainment. They also share common social and economic conditions that put residents at increased risk for health problems associated with police-violence. Read our blog post announcing recipients of grants from the Rapid Response Fund for Racial Justice.
- Social Justice Fund Northwest is a foundation working at the frontlines of social change. We leverage the resources of our members to foster significant, long-term social justice solutions throughout Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and Wyoming.
- Rapid Response Grants will serve two purposes: small, nimble grants to help communities respond to the fast-moving attacks and opportunities that are sure to come in the years ahead (think right-wing threats, deportation raid, or the construction of a new pipeline in your town), and micro-grants for new groups that are just beginning to organize together.
Security & Rights Collaborative (at Proteus Fund) – supports Muslim, Arab & South Asian (MASA) communities
- Through strategic grantmaking and programming, we work to build the capacity of organizations representing Muslim, Arab and South Asian communities to protect rights, advance policy reform and shift the narrative around issues at the core of our democracy and society. The SRC provides the leadership, capacity and expertise for foundations and individual donors to impact some of the most pressing issues of our time and to build a diverse and inclusive civil rights movement.
“Still We Rise” rapid-response fund, a partnership between Bay Area Justice Funders + Common Counsel
- The Still We Rise Fund is a pooled fund that group of allied funders are stepping up to help meet some of the growing needs that grassroots social, racial, economic, and environmental justice organizations are articulating during these challenging times through a combination of both aligned and pooled funding. The Still We Rise Fund is designed to be a nimble pooled fund that is facilitating, scaling and accelerating the delivery of responsive funding to a diverse range of community-based organizations across the country.
Special Funds Created for Local Rapid Response and to Support Protestors in Uprisings:
- Emergency Fund for Black Lives – Headwaters Foundation for Justice (Minneapolis)
- Rapid Response Fund – Foundation for Louisiana, for Baton Rouge
- Deaconess Foundation – for the St. Louis area
- Bread and Roses (Philadelphia)