National Grants

grassroots organizing

National Grant Program

We believe those most impacted by inequity and injustice are in the best position to develop solutions. Our intent is to achieve a better future for all by providing support to community-based, grassroots organizations confronting social and environmental injustice. We are inspired by Civil Rights icon John Lewis’ admonition, “Speak up, speak out, get in the way. Get in good trouble, necessary trouble.”

The National Grassroots Organizing Program (NGO) offers two-year unrestricted, general operating support grants of up to $30,000 per year, with an average grant size of $20,000 per year, to small (budgets under $350,000), constituent-led grassroots organizations throughout the United States and its territories.

As we use a rolling process, you may submit anytime throughout the year.

“Speak up, speak out, get in the way. Get in good trouble. Necessary trouble.”

— John Lewis


While our broad goals are to further social and environmental justice, our primary purpose is to support the local leadership and grassroots organizing activities of our grant partners rather than any specific issues the organizations are addressing. We are interested in supporting groups that are carrying out activities that build support and collective action to address impacts of inequity and injustice in their communities.

We are guided by common principles of community organizing which we look for in proposals. In general these are:

  • The organization is led by the people directly impacted by the issues the organization works on, and those people have clear decision-making power.
  • A plan with clear goals to gain rights, win collective political power and create positive community change.
  • An assessment of the problem being addressed and best tactics to employ.
  • Outreach, networking, and ally gaining activities that build support and momentum.
  • Educational activities and events that inform and motivate and build support.

We know that organizing can take many forms. Some grassroots organizing activities might include but are not limited to:

Expand to see definitions.

Consistent, multi-faceted efforts to recruit and engage people in your work. Examples might 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.

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 might include attending rallies and protests, tabling at events, testifying at hearings, contacting public officials, speaking to the media, and phone-banking, etc.

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

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



  • Direct services to individuals, i.e. food pantries, youth mentorship programs
  • Internationally oriented programs
  • Organizations with an annual operating 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
  • Litigation
  • 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



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

ApplicAtion Process


Considerations, Restrictions & Requirements











Participate In Conversation

If Committee Members are interested in learning more, your organization will be contacted to schedule a video conversation with our Committee.


Our new rolling process for applications is now open. The process remains open for 2024 through October, when we pause to update our forms and details for the upcoming year.

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.

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 and Committee Members evaluate all applications submitted and may invite those organizations that meet our stated funding priorities to have a conversation to learn more about their work.

The Committee Members are a team of Ben & Jerry’s employees who recommend their grant decisions. For the NGO program, our 12-member Employee Grantmaking 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. We do not respond to mailed or emailed letters of interest.

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.

After taking the Eligibility Questionnaire, and you find your organization is eligible to apply, you are offered a link to the grant portal and the application form. If you haven’t yet registered your organization in the grant portal, the system will ask that you sign in or register.

You can learn more about the system and registration here:

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.

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 our Application form 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 Application Question Form.  Word

View Application Question Form. PDF

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

We offer a link to the grant portal login page at the bottom-left of every page on this website, look for the word “Login.” We recommend saving the url in your web browser 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.

The grant portal has an online mail system that can get caught in your email providers’ spam filter. If this is the case, you will want to add the system email address as a Safe Sender. Learn more here:

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.

As we have a rolling process, the Ben & Jerry’s Foundation collates and reviews incoming applications on an ongoing basis. Invitations to participate in a conversation with Committee Members are sent out every other month, for specific review rounds. If your organization is not invited to apply, you should hear back within 1 – 2 months, 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.”

We have ended what was previously known as the Renewal process, as we have moved to a Two-Year Grant Cycle.

If your organization has received funding from the Ben & Jerry’s Foundation in the past and are interested in applying again, please contact the Foundation directly. Please call: 802-495-1378 or email: