Make Decisions on Grants

[Being a reader] has complemented so much of my organizing work, expanded my network of movement makers, and given me a wider imagination of what's possible and already going on in the region. It's huge motivation to keep doing my local work - in fact, it's begun to feel like an essential part of it." (Fall '22 Community Grant Reader)

Sign Up Here to be a Spring 2024 Community Grant Reader

Join as a Community Grant Reader! 

We need your perspectives in our decision-making process. As a reader, you:

  • reflect on biases and review practices that center equity;
  • share comments on pending applications to help shape staff review questions and final funding outcomes; 
  • give feedback to applicant groups; 
  • provide input on the Grassroots Fund's guiding practices and how we all can further operationalize & center equity and environmental justice across the region. 


Anyone interested in environmental and social justice in New England, who is committed to upholding and co-evolving the Grassroots Fund's Guiding Practices. To Shift Power in our own work, we especially encourage former Grassroots Fund grantees to participate as grant readers. We also encourage active Grow applicants to participate as readers and we have a conflict of interest process that ensures applicant group members will not be assigned to review their own applications. In other words, you can both apply for Grow grant AND participate as a grant reader during the same Grow round.

“As a grant reader who has at the same time an ongoing application, I reflected on my own application and realized that there were some aspects I might have elaborated on, had I known what I know now. It was an opportunity to learn what other groups are involved in in their respective communities. All in all, I was very delighted to provide my constructive and analytical criticism, that I hope will contribute to the tremendous work The Grassroots Fund and applicant organizations are doing.” (Fall '23 Community Grant Reader)


The Grassroots Fund's participatory grantmaking process transforms the traditional funder-applicant structure in which one person, or a small group of people with money, make all the decisions. We believe in supporting those closest to environmental and social problems to determine their own solutions, and we believe that including a wide range of knowledge and lived experience leads to more just funding outcomes. We actively work to blur the line between "grantor" and "grantee," inviting the grassroots groups that we fund into the decision-making process to determine where funding should go. 

Participating as a reader is about more than decisions on pending applications. We believe the process of application review allows participants to reflect on their own biases and practices towards equity and justice. Those reflections and experiences help us further evolve the guiding practices and scoring rubrics used throughout the process. 

Within the environmental justice philanthropic sector, we serve as an advocate for democratized, equitable grantmaking practices that lower barriers to communities most affected by environmental and social degradation. 

“I was able to gain a greater understanding of the Guiding Practices and how these can be applied not only to this type of work, but other types of community organizing work and aspects of life in general...I also learned a lot about the ways bias can present itself in decision-making processes, particularly in deciding what work is necessary in which communities; this was something I hadn't considered much before but that I tried to focus on throughout my grant reading.” (Fall '23 Community Grant Reader)


Grow grant program deadlines are on the third Tuesday of March and September (March 19 and September 17 for 2024). Readers generally have a 3 week window to review 4 to 15 applications (depending on availability) and share comments, suggestions and their application rubric scores. On average, each application takes about 45 minutes to review and complete an online rubric. A grantmaking committee - 12 members from the New England grassroots community - is then tasked with reviewing reader and staff scores and comments and making final decisions about funding levels. 


Click the button below to go to the google form to register as a reader. 

Sign Up Here to be a Spring 2024 Community Grant Reader