A citizen-driven assessment that gathers a broad range of perspectives and uses storytelling to write the city’s first ever Community Food Plan. A volunteer-run ‘neighbors investing in neighbors’ loan program that provides over $100,000 in micro-loans to local entrepreneurs. Custom window inserts built and installed by community volunteers as an affordable way to make homes energy efficient. These are just a few faces of grassroots action – there are thousands across the region – and your support today through our Fall appeal will make their continued efforts possible.
“These are complicated, unpredictable times, with so much competing for our attention and energy. After more than 20 years in the field, one thing we are certain of is that local action works. It’s worth the investment.”
The Grassroots Fund embraces community-based, volunteer-driven efforts. We are often the sole or first source of support they utilize, whether in the form of grant funding, training, or other services. That support sometimes leads to the formalizing of the group, making it possible to develop long term plans, manage an increased budget, and hire staff. For others, Grassroots Fund support enables leaders to experiment with tactics, bring in new voices, learn, adapt, and then once the work is complete, dissolve the project so that community members may move on to other matters. Our programs encourage change makers to remain nimble, find value in the process, and solve acute local issues while also chipping away at universal root causes to the ongoing environmental and social justice crises we face.
Take for example Grassroots Fund grantee, GROW Windham in Willamantic, CT:
How does an organization founded to expand community gardens end up on the cutting edge of young adult leadership programming? GROW Windham has traveled a steep learning curve since 2011. With support from a recent Grassroots Fund grant, they are formalizing curriculum for the Windham Youth CORE. Youth CORE develops leadership, career and advocacy skills through youth-led enterprises that promote access to healthy food. “The shift to youth leadership happened very naturally,” said co-leader Sally Milius. “They grew in skills and experience, so we kept making space for them to step up and lead.” She attributes their success to ensuring that a diversity of stakeholders who trust each other are ‘at the table’, to maintaining deep partnership with other community organizations and funders, and to treating the entire project as a ‘joyful experiment’.
The Grassroots Fund is not an endowed fund. Every year we raise all of the funding to fill our grant pools, make our educational programs relevant and accessible, publish reports and stories, and contribute to the broader grassroots environmental movement. We face a challenging climate - politically, socially, economically – and we are seeing unprecedented numbers of volunteers stepping up, proposing new projects, rejecting dominant narratives and re-envisioning the future. With your help, we can nurture their ongoing efforts, and inspire additional communities to join the growing network of change makers.
The grassroots support you choose to provide may take the form of an annual one-time contribution, or the commitment of being a monthly recurring donor. Here is what grassroots support means for Grassroots Fund Board member and donor, Reverend Mariama White Hammond of Dorchester, MA:
“Whenever I get to read about the great work of the Grassroots Fund grantees, I feel a sense of hope. Around our region people are finding ways to come together to build community and save our planet. If I had the resources I would write a big check to support all the good work, but I don’t have much financial wealth. However, I know that by giving $50 a month, it will add up to $700 a year and over 10 years that will be $7,000. I can’t write a big check all at once but this way I can still give in a way that reflects my commitment to the people and communities of New England.”
If you believe that communities hold the keys to a healthy, just and sustainale present and future, please support our ongoing efforts with a donation. Join Rev. Mariama to help new projects launch, help organizers deepen their work, and help bring resurces to young adult leaders like those at GROW Windham so they can assume meaningful roles in reimagining their communities. Your donation will have an impact. Whether $25, $250, or $2,500, every donor and every dollar counts and helps us reach our Fall fundraising goal of $40,000. Please don't wait! And don't hesitate to reach out with any question or needs you may have, by email at [email protected] or by phone at (603) 905 9915.