Apply For Grant

Grassroots Organizing for Social Change Program


Please be sure to read through these guidelines carefully and thoroughly before considering whether to submit an application.  We also recommend that you peruse our grantees lists as they will give a clearer idea of the types of organizations and programs the Ben & Jerry's Foundation supports.

The Grassroots Organizing for Social Change Program offers general or project support to non-profit organizations throughout the United States and accounts for about 75% of our total giving. 

We make one-year grants for up to $20,000, to organizations with budgets under $500,000. Only organizations with 501(c)3 status, or who have a fiscal agent with this status are eligible to apply.

While our broad goals are to further social and environmental justice and support sustainable and just food systems, we focus on the types of activities and strategies an organization uses for creating social change rather than on the specific issues the organization is addressing.

We will only consider proposals from grassroots, constituent-led organizations that are using community-organizing and base-building strategies to accomplish their goals.


People most affected by a problem are in the best position to determine the solutions. Therefore, leadership development is an essential component of social change work.

True change occurs only when underlying, systemic forces are understood and addressed.

Grassroots, constituent-led organizing is among the most effective means to create social change. We define organizing as collective action from the bottom up that challenges the status quo, demands changes in policy and practice, educates communities about root causes, and advocates and agitates for systemic and just solutions.

Lasting change occurs when Social Justice Movements are built from the ground up and grassroots groups come together across sectors and constituencies to work for the common principles of Human Rights and Justice for All.

The Grassroots Organizing for Social Change program supports organizations that share and embody this theory of change.

Priority Strategies must include:

    • Community & ally outreach

    • Leadership development

    • Constituent empowerment &

    • Popular education

    • Root cause analysis

    • Power analysis

    • Campaign development

    • Mobilizing constituents & allies

    • Coalition building

    • Direct action



 Areas not funded:

  • Direct services to individuals, families or communities

  • Internationally focused programs

  • Organizations with annual budgets over $500,000

  • Discretionary or emergency requests

  • Schools or programs for schools

  • Colleges or universities

  • Individuals or scholarship programs

  • Research, litigation or legal expenses

  • Capital or endowment campaigns

  • State agencies or government programs

  • Businesses or business associations

  • Religious activities

  • Arts or Media programs

  • Other foundations or regranting organizations

  • Advocacy programs




Familiarize yourself with what we fund, our priorities & restrictions, to ensure a
good fit



Review grant cycles.

Register or Log in to complete pre-application



If invited, submit full proposal by relevant deadline


                             Applications are to be submitted through our on-line grant management system. To learn more about our online system, please click here for a tutorial.


Once you have determined that your organization fits our funding guidelines, you will need to follow our grant schedule below to apply. Please note, all deadlines are for Eastern Time Zone.

Applicants who have received funding within the past 3 years must apply under the Renewals process.

Pre-Applications Schedule

Full Proposal Deadlines

Summer:  Opens  Jan. 6th, 2014 – Deadline Mar. 21st, 2014 at 5pm ET.

If invited, see Full Proposal Deadline in next column.

Summer: on or about  Jun. 15th
Winter 2015:  Opens  Aug. 1st – Deadline Oct. 15th, 5pm ET Winter 2015: on or about  Jan. 15th
Renewals 2015:  Opens  July 1st, with ongoing basis through Feb. 2015 Renewals: Based on invitation date.



Arizona Site Visit

Grassroots Organizing for Social Change Program

Each year the Foundation Employee Grantmaking Committee, Staff, and Trustees spend some time visiting with past grantees and others  in a region or city of particular interest to us. In late October  of 2013, we visited Tucson, Arizona and Nogales, Mexico...

Read Their Story

Street Vendor Project

Grassroots Organizing for Social Change Program

The Street Vendor Project (SVP) is a grassroots, predominantly immigrant, vendor-led organization. SVP mobilizes the street vendor community in campaigns for social and economic justice in New York City. SVP recently achieved an historic victory with their "Lower the Fines" Campaign with legislation that reduces the high and discriminatory penalties vendors pay for minor violations. The learning that results from this achievement will help to propel SVP, and the national vendor network they are anchoring, to the next level.