Bread & Roses Community Fund

OVERVIEW: This funder supports racial equity and economic justice programs for nonprofits in Philadelphia, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery or Camden Counties. Grant applications are accepted annually online or by mail.

FUNDING AREAS: Racial equity, economic opportunity, criminal justice, social justice activism

IP TAKE: This is an excellent racial justice funder to know in Philly. Although Opportunity Fund grants are small ($50 to $500 each), this is also a good place to find support for emergencies and special projects.

PROFILE: The Bread & Roses Community Fund is a Philadelphia-focused organization that organizes donors to support community-based groups. The name Bread and Roses was a rallying cry for striking textile workers in Lawrence, Massachusetts, who fought for overtime pay and improved working conditions. The actual phrase comes from a 1911 poem by James Oppenheim.

Top areas of focus are racial equality and economic opportunity, and the fund supports these causes with grantmaking, capacity building, fundraising, and convening. The geographic region of focus is Philadelphia and the Greater Delaware Valley. It has given out well over $10 million in grants since 1971.

This fund has been around for over four decades and makes grants using a democratic, community-led decision-making process. Its grants commonly go to causes like good schools, fewer prisons, better jobs, a safe environment, and quality health care. It also supports people of color, people with disabilities, women, and the LGBTQ community. In addition to grants, the foundation also provides technical assistance, fundraising advice, communications tips, and organizational development services.

Keep in mind that Bread & Roses does not provide social services grants. Unsolicited grant requests are accepted otherwise. Most annual grants fall between $2,000 and $10,000 each. These are made through the Racial and Economic Justice Fund, the Future, Fund, and the Phoebus Criminal Justice Initiative. There’s also an Opportunity Fund for special projects and emergencies that don’t fall within these categories. Several donor-advised funds are also managed by the Bread & Roses Community Fund, and there is a Lax Scholarship Fund for Gay Men as well.

To apply for a grant, you must be in Philadelphia, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery or Camden Counties. You must also have an organizational or program budget less than $300,000. A list of past racial and economic justice grantees can be viewed here. Social justice activism efforts are supported through the Future Fund and awarded to groups like Good Schools Pennsylvania and Proyecto Sol. Locally focused donor-advised funds include the Abierto Media Fund and Resources for Racial Justice in Philly and Ferguson Initiative.

Grant requests can be delivered, mailed, or submitted online. Check the foundation website for the most up-to-date application procedures.  In the past, grant deadlines have fallen on the first of March.

The foundation is run by a staff of four and a board of directors with around 11 members. The Philadelphia-based staff can be reached by phone at 215-731-1107 or email at Individual staff members’ email addresses and extensions can be found on the Contact Us page. You can learn more about this funder by browsing through its newsletter archive.


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