Rapid response funding

We are heartened to see community responses to the current COVID19 outbreak across the region. In times like these, social networks and community support are key for community resilience, especially for those most vulnerable to the many impacts of this pandemic. 

Recognizing this, the Grassroots Fund is making our rapid response Seed grant program available to grassroots groups responding to local needs and building resilience in their community in response to the COVID19 pandemic and associated events. We commit to making decisions and getting dollars out the door as fast as we can.

Our Seed grant program has a brief online application and requests can be up to $1,000. Even if you have an active grant (or pending application) for another project with us, this urgent rapid response program is available for all groups who see a need in their community to respond to COVID19. Please read below for more information. 

Grant Range:

Up to $1,000

Some examples of use:

  • Food supplies for isolated community members
  • Translation of materials to reach all groups
  • Mileage for volunteers dropping off supplies or checking in
  • Support for technology to continue organizing/meeting
  • Partnering with local media outlets to continue to educate and raise awareness
  • Grant applications must respond to a challenge or need in communities as a result of the COVID19 outbreak.

We prioritize:

  • Groups that are ad-hoc and have no access to alternative funding streams
  • Groups that are focused on immediate and urgent mutual aid needs, in response to identified community needs
  • Groups that are filling a need that is not met by other organizations

Eligibility criteria:

The Seed grant program is focused on community-based, local initiatives. For the Grassroot Fund that means that:

  • Group is doing local, grassroot work in CT, ME, MA, NH, RI or VT.
  • Group is volunteer-driven or has no more than 2 full-time paid staff.
  • Group has an annual operating budget under $100,000.
  • Note that the group does not need to have formal tax status or a fiscal sponsor.

The Grassroots Fund does not fund the following: 

  • Individuals
  • Statewide, regional, national or international work
  • Lobbying or partisan political activity
  • Acquisition of land and/or buildings
  • Studies with no follow-up action
  • Publication of books or reports
  • Micro-, mini-, re-granting programs
  • Retroactive (pre-dating application submission) expenses
  • For profits, LLCs

Even if you have an active grant (or pending application) for another project with us, this urgent rapid response program is available for all groups who see a need in their community to respond to COVID19


How to submit an application:

The rapid response funding uses our regular Seed grant application.  After registering with the website, click the button below to launch the online application. Make sure to fill out all sections (group information and project information). Please note that the form doesn't auto-save, so make sure to hit the Save button regularly. 

If you have any questions about this process, please reply to this email, or email [email protected]

Start a Seed application


Non-urgent requests:

Our regular Seed grant program remains available for groups who have non urgent requests for funding. This is work that is not directly responding to the COVID19 pandemic and/or non-urgent needs that are immediate (program preparations for the Summer, etc). 

Please note that review timeline for regular Seed requests is 4 to 6 weeks. For more information on the Seed grant program, please click here.


How can a volunteer group open a bank account?

In order to open a bank account to deposit funds, the bank may request an Employee Identification Number (EIN) be assigned for identification purposes.  A Community Volunteer Group can request an EIN number online by following these steps:

  • Go to this IRS Website
  • Click on Apply Online Now (near the bottom of the page)
  • Click on Begin Application (near the bottom of the page)
  • Click on the Begin Application button
  • When you get to the list of the type of group, check the View Additional Types box at the bottom of the list, then hit Continue
  • Choose Community or Volunteer Group, then Continue
  • Click on the Continue button
  • Fill out all of the applicable information for the group

Once you receive the volunteer EIN number (usually by email shortly after you submit the request), you can open a bank account (online) in the volunteer group's name.