Small social change outfits in NYC: Listen Up!
The North Star Fund’s grantmaking program was designed with organizations like yours in mind. This is a progressive funder devoted to grassroots groups working for equality, economic justice and peace (Read North Star Fund: New York City Grants). If your nonprofit operates in and serves the five boroughs of New York City, represents marginalized or disenfranchised communities, and actively works to create progressive social change, then read on.
There are three very different ways to secure a grant from the North Star Fund:
Grassroots Action grants are between $5,000 and $10,000 and support new and small groups with annual budgets less than $35,000. Organizations may apply for Grassroots Action Grants in the spring or fall cycles, which occur around mid-February and mid-September. Movement leadership grants are $25,000 for two years and awarded to organizations with budgets under $800,000.The purpose of these grants is to provide a deeper investment of general support in effective organizations that have already shown a strong record of success in their community organizing work. Applications for these grants are accepted in the fall.
North Star looks for groups and projects with direct connections to community organizing campaigns when awarding Innovative Activism Grants, which focus on arts that influence social justice issues, organizational development, and facility infrastructure. Innovative Activism Grants are between $5,000 and $10,000 and are awarded to organizations with budgets under $800,000. Applications for these grants are accepted in the spring. You can apply for a grant renewal for up to six years for all Activist-Led Grants.
Rapid Response Grants
For the most urgent issues, Rapid Response Grants are awarded for up to $5,000 for immediate actions and up to $15,000 for short-term strategic capacity building. Larger grants come with a six-month to one-year timeline to infuse technical assistance or capacity building to push a campaign toward its goal. Organizations can apply for a rapid response grant at any time by calling 212-620-9110 for an initial phone interview.
North Star has partnered up with a few other donors to help them meet their philanthropic goals, providing advice and setting up community-led grantmaking programs. Most of these donor-advised funds don’t have an application process because North Star recommends nonprofits to donors that are doing exceptional work in a particular area of interest. Many of these recommendations are former and current North Start grantees. You can read more about one of North Star’s donor-advised funds that does accept grant applications, the NYC Venture Philanthropy Fund, in our IP funder profile.
To learn more about recent North Star Fund grantees, check out the Grants List on the foundation's website.