National Grants

grassroots organizing

National Grant Program

The National Grassroots Organizing Program offers one-year general operating support grants of up to $30,000 to small, non-profit grassroots organizations throughout the United States.

The guiding principle behind this program is our belief that people most affected by a problem are in the best position to determine the solutions. We will consider proposals from grassroots organizations that are working to help themselves and their communities create broad systems change through community organizing and movement-building efforts.

We prioritize organizations that are led by and center the leadership and agency of Black communities, Indigenous communities, and communities of color that approach their work using anti-oppression values – consciously striving to dismantle systems of oppression and the legacies of white supremacy culture in this country while working toward a more just and equitable society.

We define grassroots organizing as collective action from the bottom up. It challenges the status quo, demands changes in policy and practice, educates communities about root causes, and advocates and agitates for systemic and just solutions. True progressive change occurs only when underlying, systemic forces are understood and addressed. We firmly believe that grassroots, constituent-led organizing is among the most effective means to create social change.

WE ARE NOT ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS AT THIS TIME.

TYPICALLY, WE USE THESE DEADLINES FOR THIS PROGRAM:
FEBRUARY 1, JUNE 1, AND OCTOBER 1 – 4 pm ET

Requirements


TO BE CONSIDERED FOR FUNDING, EACH APPLICANT ORGANIZATION MUST HAVE:

  • An annual operating budget under $350,000
  • Grassroots organizing as the primary strategy
  • Non-profit 501(c)3 status, or a fiscal agent with this status
  • Be U.S.-based and U.S.-focused

While our broad goals are to further racial equity, social justice, and environmental justice, our primary purpose is to support the grassroots organizing strategies and activities of our grant partners, rather than any specific issues the organizations are addressing.


GRASSROOTS ORGANIZING Strategies

WE RECOGNIZE THE FOLLOWING PRACTICES TO BE IMPORTANT COMPONENTS OF EFFECTIVE GRASSROOTS ORGANIZING EFFORTS:

Consistent, multi-faceted efforts to recruit and engage people in your work. Examples include sharing information and resources, public forums, canvassing, workshops, tabling at events, phone-banking, and media engagement.

Investing time, training and resources to cultivate innate leadership assets within people who historically haven’t had access to civic and community engagement opportunities or positions of power.

The organization is driven by the people impacted by the problem. Constituents define core values, identify and prioritize issues, and determine the appropriate course of action to solve them.

An educational technique designed to raise the consciousness of its participants and allow them to become more aware of how an individual’s personal experiences are connected to larger institutional or societal problems.

The practice of continually peeling back the layers of a problem and asking “why?” each one exists until the root cause(s) of the issue can be identified and targeted for change.

The process of identifying which individuals or entities hold the power to make decisions that positively and negatively affect an issue.

A game plan of action including tactics, materials, timelines and their intended audiences and effects.

Moving people to take specific action toward achieving a common goal. Examples include attending rallies and protests, tabling at events, testifying at hearings, contacting public officials, speaking to the media and phone-banking.

Partnering with other organizations that have allied missions and interests with the goal of creating power in numbers.

Public forms of protest for the purpose of demonstration, obstruction or dissent.

Areas Not funded


Unfortunately, we cannot consider requests for:

  • Programs that solely provide direct services to individuals, families, or communities
  • Internationally oriented programs
  • Organizations with annual budget over $350,000
  • Discretionary or emergency support
  • 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

ApplicAtion Process


CAREFULLY REVIEW THE

Eligibility Requirements

TAKE NOTE OF ALL THE ITEMS LISTED ABOVE

two

WATCH THE APPLICATION SYSTEM

TUTORIAL VIDEO

VIEW NOW ▸

CREATE AN ACCOUNT

OR LOGIN TO YOUR EXISTING ACCOUNT

APPLICATION SYSTEM LOGIN ▸

four

TAKE THE

ELIGIBILITY QUESTIONNAIRE

LOGIN TO START ▸

COMPLETE THE

PRE-APPLICATION

APPLY

(WITHIN CYCLE DEADLINES, BELOW)

RENEWAL APPLICANTS WILL BE DIRECTED TO THE RENEWAL PROCESS ONCE THEIR FINAL REPORT HAS BEEN SUBMITTED.

Deadlines

WE ARE NOT ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS AT THIS TIME.


Open:
Deadline:

Round 1

January 2

February 1


Round 2

May 1

June 1


Round 3

September 1

October 1

Frequently asked Questions


We encourage all potential applicants to review our grassroots organizing strategies and grant requirements as well as our grant partners page to better understand the type of organizations we fund and our typical giving amounts. If, after thoroughly reading all of the information detailed on this website, organizations have additional questions, they are welcome to email or call the Foundation directly.

We don’t have a limit on the number of times an organization may apply, but we do recommend moderation. An organization may only be funded once each calendar year.

No. We will only consider one application at a time across our grant program options, and thus recommend researching each program to ensure your organization applies to the most targeted program for your needs

Foundation staff evaluate all pre-applications submitted and invite those that meet our grassroots organizing strategies and fit our funding requirements to submit a full proposal. All full proposals are evaluated by a team of Ben & Jerry’s employees who recommend their grant decisions. For the NGO program, our Employee Committee meets 10 times a year, and each member may serve for up to six years (two three-year terms). Yes, these are some of the folks that make the ice cream magic happen!

We do not accept mailed Letters of Interest. All applications must be submitted online through our grants management system. You will need to first register your organization before applying online through the grant program. Please note that we refer to an LOI as a Pre-Application. We do not respond to mailed or emailed letters of interest.

Grassroots Organizing for Social Change pre-applications are reviewed once the deadline has passed, and applicants should hear within 30 days after the deadline for a decision of invitation.

Yes, we will be in touch with every organization to share our decision, funded or not funded. Notifications are sent through the grant portal system. Please ensure your inbox has our contact information as a “Safe Sender.”

An organization should only be registered once in our online grant portal. If the organization does not have a record of their login details, please get in touch with the Ben & Jerry’s Foundation and we will add you to the list of contacts and provide you with a login. If you have already registered the organization and created an account and are worried that you cannot see the organization history, please contact us and we will connect you to the correct account. Please contact Dana Jeffery at 802-495-1378 or info@benandjerrysfoundation.org. We will attempt to resolve any issues during our usual business hours Mon-Fri 8am to 5pm, EST.

We utilize an Eligibility Questionnaire to ensure organizations are a good fit for our programs and are directed to the most appropriate grant application. Before taking the questionnaire, be sure you understand the grant program’s funding priorities. If your Questionnaire results indicate you are ineligible, and you believe you answered a question incorrectly, you can call the Foundation at 802-495-1378 or info@benandjerrysfoundation.org for assistance. We will attempt to resolve any issues during our usual business hours Mon-Fri 8am to 5pm, EST.

The questionnaire may be completed once per grant round. We encourage an organization to have assessed their own eligibility by reading the details regarding each grant programs’ funding priorities prior to taking the Eligibility Questionnaire.

If you completed the Eligibility Questionnaire, you can look at your Applicant Dashboard within the grant portal to view your submission. On the Active Requests tab, the top of the list shows your Eligibility Questionnaire, and by clicking on View Eligibility Questionnaire, you will see the responses you selected. If you do see that you answered something incorrectly, you will not be able to edit this questionnaire, but you may reach out to the Foundation to discuss your options.

From time to time applicants come across some browser issues, or experience some errors using the online grants management system. If you are familiar with clearing your cookies and cache on your browser or have tried using a different browser to complete the application and still encounter problems, please review the “Common Issues Addressed” in the Tips & Tricks document. If you have attempted all fixes, and continue to have difficulties, please contact Dana Jeffery at 802-495-1378 or info@benandjerrysfoundation.org. We will attempt to resolve any issues during our usual business hours Mon-Fri 8am to 5pm, EST.

Once invited to submit a full proposal, you do not need to go to the Apply link to access the full proposal form. When you log in to your account, the Applicant Dashboard will have your request details in the Request Box under the organization address information. The link to “Edit Application” will be to the right. For more help, see our application tutorial.

We get a variety of questions about information needed in our grant applications, as we require various uploads and other requested documents to help us better understand an organization’s work. We provide this Tips and Tricks document to help cover those sorts of questions. If you have other questions or need further assistance, please call Dana Jeffery at 802-495-1378 or info@benandjerrysfoundation.org. We will attempt to resolve any issues during our usual business hours Mon-Fri 8am to 5pm, EST.

The Foundation may make changes to the application forms periodically, and due to our desire to streamline everything through our online grant portal, we prefer folks to access  our current applications by applying directly online. We can share previously used Pre-Applications and Full Proposal forms for those who wish to share with their team for planning purposes, or for students practicing grantwriting skills. 

View an example of Previous Pre-Application Question Forms

View an example of Previous Full Proposal Forms.

Again, we will not accept mailed or emailed applications for consideration of an award.

The first step to the Renewal application process is to submit a Grant Report for your previous grant. Once your organization has submitted its Grant Report through our online portal, you will be directed to the Renewal application process.

Renewal proposals are generally reviewed in February, March, April, June, July, October, and November.

You may submit a Renewal proposal at any time, however, if you are looking to have your application reviewed for a specific timeline, proposals must be submitted by the 15th of the month prior to which you would like it to be reviewed (Example: March proposals must be submitted by February 15th).
In the event that we receive more requests than can be processed in a given month, some proposals will be reviewed in the next review round