This June, the Grassroots Fund, in deep collaboration with volunteer grant reviewers, distributed $374,099 to 121 grassroots groups throughout New England. Of those groups, 29 were awarded Young Leader grants, and - count ‘em - 92 were awarded Grow grants. All told, this was the Grassroots Fund’s biggest grant round ever.
Migrant Justice was started in early 2009 after the death of a young farmworker, José Obeth Santiz Cruz, who was pulled into a mechanized gutter scraper and was strangled to death on the farm he used to work. This was an accident that could have been prevented if the right equipment was in use.
In the Spring of 2018, Quatia Osorio made a big decision: she was going back to school. The Providence, Rhode Island, resident had decided to enroll in a Midwife program, to build upon the work she had been doing as a maternal health worker and doula in her community. Then came the question of what her absence would mean.
This month, we received over 110 Grow Grants and over 50 Young Leader Letters of Interest - our most grant requests in a single round ever. Our offices were bustling with calls, and Program Manager Laura Flagg and I spent a lot of time preparing for our participatory review process, which starts when our applications are submitted and will conclude this June after our in-person Grantmaking Committee retreat. In the name of transparency with our applicants, partners, and funders, we decided to take you “inside” the Grassroots Fund via a Skype conversation we had on the date that Grow grant applications were due.
Commonwealth/Worcester Green Low-Income Housing Coalition aims to introduce changes and best practices into the fabric of housing and other opportunities for homeless people. They are currently working on a “Green Homes for the Homeless” campaign to ensure the antiquated shelter and housing stock in greater Worcester takes advantage of multiple efficiency and energy programs, alleviating the stress on housing and program dollars, while also reducing the carbon footprint of the social service housing stock. Grassroots Fund spoke to Dave McMahon, one of their founders, to learn more.
Grassroots group No LNG in PVD knows that some common organizing practices must be changed in order to fight environmental racism in their community. Recognizing the barriers to the political process that exist in this neighborhood, they use community education, canvassing, childcare, translation, and legal support to ensure that the community of South Providence has the power to fight this facility.
DOT-I is a leadership development and organizing training program for Vietnamese American young adults (16-30) in Fields Corner, Dorchester. DOT-I provides leadership development and organizing training in a culturally-specific frame with the intention to move participants towards engaging in organizing issue-based campaigns.
Ita Meno is a part of CQ Strategies, a “Vermont-based training collective committed to justice, equity, cultural proficiency and social justice work with local and regional organization.” Ita is a part of the team that trains our grant readers and grantmaking committee members on implicit bias and white supremacy culture, with the hopes of disrupting some of these tendencies in our participatory grantmaking process. We spoke with Ita about their work and our training ahead of our Spring grant reader cycle.
In December, we announced the results of our Fall Grow Grant round. We distributed over $100,000 to 47 grassroots groups who are building projects across our region. Here, we take a look inside our participatory grantmaking program as we attempt to put those most affected, those doing the tireless work on the ground, at the forefront of decision-making about distributing dollars, and "revolutionize philanthropy" in the process.