California Environmental Grassroots Fund

About the Fund

The California Environmental Grassroots Fund supports small grassroots groups across California that are tackling tough environmental problems including toxic pollution, urban sprawl, sustainable agriculture, climate change, environmental degradation of our rivers and wild places, as well as, of our communities and our health. The Grassroots Fund is a pooled re-granting fund supported by about 20 funding partners. In addition to being one of the funding partners, Rose Foundation serves as the Grassroots Fund’s host and trustee. Guided by a board of community activists and veteran funders, the Fund’s mission is to bridge a significant gap between grassroots environmental groups and the traditional funding patterns of organized philanthropy by awarding small grants ($5,000 or less) to small organizations that are underserved by most foundations’ funding strategies.
Click here to learn more about the Fund’s objectives, impacts, Grantee Insights, and how to become a Funding Partner. 

Thank you for joining us at our virtual 2021 Grassroots Grantee Convening where we explored what role grassroots organizations can play in guiding policy, influencing decision-makers, and holding political leaders accountable! Find resources and recordings for the 2021 Convening here.


The Grassroots Fund has an application deadline every 3 months. Applications must be submitted by 5pm on the deadline date of:

  • February 1st
  • May 1st
  • August 1st
  • November 1st

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.

The Rose Foundation offers the option to fill out the California Environmental Grassroots Fund application in either English or Spanish. If you would prefer to complete your application in Spanish, please email

Rose Foundation ofrece la opción de completar la solicitud del Grassroots Fund (fondo de financiación de Liderazgo Grassroots) en inglés o español. Si prefiere completar su solicitud en español, por favor envíe un correo electrónico a

Eligibility and Priorities

To be eligible for a grassroots grant, the applicant must meet the following criteria:

  • Geographic Scope: Project impact must be within the state of California (including the entire Sierra Nevada Mountains, Bay Area, Central Valley, Central Coast, North Coast, Southern Coast, and Southern Desert)
  • Organization Size: Annual income or expenses of $100,000 or less (for exceptions, see application)
  • Issues Supported: Include, but are not limited to Environmental health and justice, land management and urban sprawl, habitat and wilderness protection, sustainable forestry, water resources, agriculture, sustainability, and pollution.
  • Strategies Supported: General support for organizations with an environmental mission, or project support for strategies such as community-based advocacy, technical assistance, litigation, restoration projects, organizing expenses, grassroots campaigns, and environmental education.
  • Tax Status: Applicants may be a nonprofit, be fiscally sponsored by another nonprofit, or ask for fiscal sponsorship from the fund.
  • Frequency of Applying: Organizations whose proposals are rejected may re-apply after six months. Organizations that are funded may re-apply after one year if their evaluation form has been submitted and accepted.
  • Duration of Support: Most grants are for a one year period. Since a goal of the Grassroots Fund is to support the development and creation of small, new nonprofit groups, after three years of funding, groups need to wait two years before reapplying.

Not Eligible for Support:
Capital campaigns, annual fundraising appeals, government agencies, colleges or universities, and individuals.

If you are uncertain if your organization is eligible, please call or e-mail us before applying.

How to Apply to the Grassroots Fund

Please read these instructions carefully and follow them step by step. Maximum grant size is $5000.

Apply for a Mini-Grant

Current and past Grassroots Fund grantees within the past four years are encouraged to increase their effectiveness by expanding their organizational and administrative skills through our new and improved Grow Your Roots Mini-Grant (formerly known as the Grassroots Training Scholarship). Grantees are eligible to receive up to $330 of training scholarships per year. The scholarships cover 80% of the registration cost of a training, consultant, software, or other capacity-building materials. Grantees traveling more than 75 miles round trip for a training will also receive a travel stipend.

Annual Grassroots Grantee Convening

In conjunction with the California Wildlands Grassroots Fund, the California Environmental Grassroots Fund hosts an annual convening of all its grantees. The day-long session is a time for learning and networking and is usually built around a central theme, such as fundraising or communicating your group’s story. Click here for more information on our Grassroots Grantee Convenings and join us this November for our virtual 2021 Grassroots Grantee Convening!

Grant Reporting Instructions

Grassroots Fund grantees must report to us 1 year after receiving a Grassroots Fund 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]

Funding Board Members

The Grassroots Fund is advised by a volunteer board of community activists and funding partners. Click here to see members of the Grassroots Funding Board.

Funding Partners

The Grassroots Fund channels the support of more than 20 funding partners towards building the grassroots base of the environmental movement in California. Click here for a list of funding partners.

Current and Past Grantees

Click here to review descriptions of all grantees of the Fund since 2003.

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