Grassroots Leadership Fund

About the Fund

The Grassroots Leadership Fund, in partnership with the Kresge Foundation’s Climate Resilient and Equitable Water Systems (CREWS) Initiative, supports local activists across the country, and the small groups they lead, with immediate resources to address the climate-driven urban flooding that impacts low-income, historically marginalized communities. Our goal for Grassroots Leadership Fund grantees is two-fold: to achieve programmatic success around urban climate resilience through the immediate resources we provide; and to become stronger organizationally and be in a position to thrive after the actual grant dollars have been spent. The fund will provide awardees $5,000 per year, for up to 2 years to be used for basic costs related to their advocacy and programming to address climate-driven urban flooding, including running educational programs; coordinating neighborhood discussions; covering the costs of food for meetings; volunteer stipends; environmental analysis; website hosting; planning appeal fees and local travel; as well as related overhead.

Meet the Grantees

Click here to meet our inaugural Grassroots Leadership Fund grantee cohort, who have inspired us with their dedication, vision, and collaborative spirit!

Lower 9th Ward Sustainable Engagement and DevelopmentGreater Treme ConsortiumLittle Growers, Inc.


The Grassroots Leadership Fund has one application for its inaugural two-year cycle.

If the deadline falls on a Saturday, Sunday or official holiday, then submissions are due at 5pm on the next business day. Applications may be submitted at any time. If they are submitted after the deadline, they will automatically be rolled over to the next grant round. Faxed applications will not be accepted.

  • December 2, 2019 – Invited Applications Due

Eligibilities and Priorities

To be eligible for a Grassroots Leadership Fund grant, the applicant must meet the following criteria:

  • Geographical Scope: Project impacts must be in urban areas in the United States
  • Applicant Scope: Applicants must –
    • currently work in partnership with a direct grantee of the CREWS Initiative;
    • represent a low-income, historically marginalized community that has been impacted by climate-driven urban flooding;
    • have an organizational annual budget less than $75,000 with limited ability to actively fundraise due to all-volunteer staff or other commitments;
    • have demonstrated an ability to engage local residents and public officials on urban waters issues by convening public events, officials, etc;
    • have a public profile (i.e. Facebook page, etc.)
    • Individuals that apply should not already have full-time salaries, except in unusual circumstances of hardship.
  • Issues Supported: Advocacy and programming to address climate-driven urban flooding.
  • Strategies Supported: Include but are not limited to running educational programs, coordinating neighborhood discussions, covering the costs of food for meetings, volunteer stipends, environmental analysis, website hosting, planning appeal fees and local travel, as well as related overhead.
  • Tax Status: Have 501c3 status, fiscal sponsorship by a 501c3 organization, or working towards it
  • Duration of Support: Grants are for a one year period, and all grantees who successfully complete activities under the year 1 grant will receive a second grant in the following year.

How to Apply to the Grassroots Leadership Fund

Applications to the fund are by invite only. You will receive an invitation to apply by email, along with instructions on how to apply.

Apply for a Mini-Grant

We believe that boosting your group’s “back office” capacity will help you achieve greater success in all of your program work. Grantees are encouraged to increase their effectiveness by expanding their organizational and administrative skills through our Grow-Your-Roots mini-grants. Each grantee will be eligible to receive a $500 capacity support grant each year (total $1,000 over 2 years).

Please review the following information before applying:

The Grow-Your-Roots mini-grant provides money to help Grassroots Leadership Fund Grantees address their identified capacity-building priorities by attending trainings, hiring consultants, and purchasing materials to develop organizational skills such as fundraising, bookkeeping, communications, board development, personnel management, computer skills, and IRS 501(c)(3) issues like lobbying.

A Mini-Grant may support any of the following:

  • Attend an in-person or online capacity building training
  • Hire a consultant
  • Purchase software
  • Books such as Writing to Make a Difference by Dalya Massachi
  • Online directory subscriptions such as Foundation Center
  • …And much more! Explore our Resources Page to find capacity building resources for your organization.

A Grantee can send more than one person to a training or send a representative to multiple trainings, but the most that will be awarded to any one group is $500 per year. Being awarded a mini-grant does not change your group’s eligibility for regular grants from the Grassroots Leadership Fund.

To fill out a web form, click here. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions. If you are unfamiliar with our online system, contact us for assistance. If you need the application in a different format, please contact us.

Please send us feedback about how well the mini-grant works, or does not work, for you. Telling us about your experiences will help us improve the mini-grant program to make it better for everyone.


  • After receiving their main grant, each grantee will complete our organizational capacity assessment survey. Rose will then consult with each grantee about their specific capacity-building priorities.
  • Rose will award each grantee one $500 Grow-Your-Roots mini-grant per year for two years to help them address identified capacity needs.
  • Rose will produce and deliver at least one webinar per year on specific capacity topics, and post “how to” worksheets that we have developed for our Grassroots Fund Convening and through our new grassroots grantee peer learning initiative. These materials will also be made available to other Rose grantees as well as CREWS intermediaries. Topics will include:
    • How to prepare standardized budgets and financial statements
    • How to map different leadership skills within your organization
    • How to recruit volunteers, and plan volunteer activities
    • Grantwriting tools and tips
  • All grantees will be invited to attend Rose’s Grassroots Convening, which is held in the fall of each year. There would be no charge for attending, and grantees could use their Grow-Your-Roots Mini-Grant to help defray travel if they wish.

Grant Reporting Instructions

Grassroots Leadership Fund grantees must report annually to us after receiving a grant, using our self-evaluation report form. Please log on to your online application system and submit your report there. [If you have forgotten your user name and password, please call us at (510) 658-0702 or email]


the content below is just for reference and will be deleted before launch