General Service Foundation: Grants for Public Health

OVERVIEW: The General Service Foundation’s grantmaking focuses on women’s reproductive health rights, including the right to choose. The foundation’s main beneficiary populations are women of color, young women, and women with low incomes.

IP TAKE: Although the foundation tends to support community-based organizations, grantseekers should keep in mind that it only supports projects with the potential to have an impact that goes beyond local and state levels. It is also interested in forming lasting partnerships, and less so in making one-time grants.

PROFILE: Founded in the mid-1940s by Clifton and Margaret Musser, the General Service Foundation's (GSF) stated goal is to help make the world more “just and sustainable.” At the time, GSF focused grants on the pervasive social challenges of the time, such as race relations. Beginning in the 1960s, it pivoted to concentrate on reproductive rights, environmental concerns, and peacebuilding.

In public health, the foundation zeroes in on “bold leaders and organizations that are deeply connected within communities most affected by barriers to reproductive health.” Its populations of focus are women of color, young women, and those earning lower incomes. GSF's overall goals are to support a woman’s right to choose, and their rights to “live and work in conditions that allow meaningful parenting.”

The foundation often backs groups that center their work on reproductive justice and those that take a broad approach to reproductive health. GSF also looks to organizations that connect reproductive justice and health with other social issues. For example, disparities in reproductive health often result in marked differences in sexual transmitted infection (STI) burden, as well as infant and maternal mortality rates.

GSF is on the lookout for “national organizations that are deeply rooted in grassroots communities and local action,” so supporting smaller organizations is a priority for the foundation. In the reproductive rights and health space, it backs organizations primarily led by women of color, young women, and/or those earning low incomes. To get a broader sense of the groups supported by the foundation, explore its recent grantees lists.

The foundation is especially interested in developing long-term partnerships with organizations. Initial grants range from $20,000 t0 $30,000, and renewed grants average $35,000, though request up to $70,000 will be considered. The deadlines to apply for a GSF grants fall on February 1 and September 1 for its Spring and Fall grant cycles, respectively. 

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