National Grants

grassroots organizing

National Grant Program

The National Grassroots Organizing Program offers two-year flexible, general operating support grants of up to $30,000 per year, with an average grant size of $20,000 per year, to small, non-profit grassroots constituent-led organizations throughout the United States and its territories and that are not located in the state of Vermont.

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, base-building organizations that are working to help themselves and their communities create broad systems change through community organizing campaigns 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 building people power to confront entrenched power. It involves collective action from the bottom up. It challenges the status quo, demands changes in policy and practice, educates communities about root causes of their problems, 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.

Pre-Application process has closed for 2023.



  • Have an annual operating budget under $350,000
  • Use grassroots, base-building organizing campaigns as the primary strategy for creating social change
  • Be a non-profit 501(c)3 status, or have a fiscal agent with this status
  • Be U.S.-based and U.S.-focused
  • Utilize the Organizing Strategies listed below

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.



Note: Successful applications will deeply embody all of these strategies. Definitions expand for more detail.

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, based on the theories of Paulo Friere, 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:

  • Direct services to individuals, i.e. food pantries, job training programs
  • Internationally oriented programs
  • Organizations with annual budget over $350,000
  • Discretionary or emergency support
  • Donations or sponsorships
  • Public or private schools, colleges or universities
  • Activities to elect specific candidates for public office
  • Individuals, fellowships 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 that are not linked to a clear grassroots organizing campaign
  • Other foundations or regranting organizations
  • Organizations based in Vermont should apply under our Vermont grant programs

ApplicAtion Process

The grant program process has followed these steps, when open:


Eligibility Requirements











Complete APPLication

When invited, a specific deadline is indicated in the invitation email.


The Pre-Application Process for 2023 has closed for the year.

Due to high demand, the Ben & Jerry’s Foundation funding allocation for New Applications has reached capacity for 2023. We apologize for any disappointment or inconvenience.

We are currently undergoing a strategic planning process. Please check back in 2024 to learn more about how our grant programs are evolving.

Frequently asked Questions

We accept applications from organizations that meet our guidelines and are based within the U.S. and its territories, provided the work is focused within the U.S. and its territories. Unfortunately, we cannot accept applications from organizations based outside of the United States and its territories, even if the work is focused within the U.S.

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.

We had hoped to accept pre-applications year round, but have had to close the process due to capacity constraints. Had your organization been denied from the Pre-Application, you would have been able to apply again after waiting a period of 4 months or more. We do not wish to see a pre-application submitted for an organization several times within a year, however.
At this time we are reevaluating how to manage the flow of requests to allow the process to remain open, and once we complete this strategic planning process, you may apply again once the process reopens.
Do call 802-495-1378 if you have questions about timing for your reapplication.

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.

As we have a rolling process, the Ben & Jerry’s Foundation collates and reviews incoming applications in bi-weekly groupings. Invitations for a full proposal submission are sent out on a monthly basis, for specific review rounds. If your organization is not invited to apply, you should hear back within 14 – 30 days, dependent on volume of incoming requests.

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 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 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 application period. 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.

We offer a link to the grant portal Log On page at the bottom left of every page on this website, look for the word “Login.” We recommend saving the url in your webbrowser bookmarks – be sure you save the url link before signing in.
If you would like more information about navigating around the portal, view the system-created user tutorials here.

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 contact Dana Jeffery at 802-495-1378 or 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. If you have questions or need further assistance, please call Dana Jeffery at 802-495-1378 or 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. 

Please be aware that the grant system allows for branching questions (or “logic”), so although we provide all questions in the forms below, some of these are additional follow up questions which appear based on how you answer some fields in the form.

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.

We have ended what was previously known as the Renewal process, as we have moved to a Two-Year Grant Program.
We have had to say goodbye to some of our long standing grant partners as we have made changes to the grant program.

We now accept Pre-Applications from organizations that have not had multiple years of funding previously, and fit within the grant program priority strategies. Please contact the Foundation if you are concerned that your organization no longer qualifies for funding or for further information.