California Environmental Grassroots Fund

About the Fund

The California Environmental Grassroots Fund supports small and emerging local groups across California that are building climate resilience and advancing environmental justice. Grassroots Fund grantees tackle the toughest environmental problems facing their communities from toxic pollution, urban sprawl, sustainable agriculture, and climate advocacy, to the environmental degradation of our rivers and wild places and the health of our communities. They are rooted in the communities they serve and committed to building the environmental movement through broad outreach, engagement, and organizing.

The fund prioritizes groups that serve & represent historically marginalized or impacted communities, especially BIPOC, frontline, and low-income communities; as well as organizations whose work is not just having a meaningful impact in their own communities, but who are thinking strategically about how their work fits into the larger landscape of environmental challenges we face today.

The Grassroots Fund is a pooled re-granting fund supported by other foundations and individual donors. In addition to being one of the funding partners, Rose Foundation serves as the Grassroots Fund’s host and trustee. Guided by a funding 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 ($7,500 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. 

If you are a grassroots group in the Pacific Northwest, please refer to our Pacific Northwest Grassroots Fund page.

Deadlines

The Grassroots Fund has 3 grant application opportunities each year and an annual convening for all our grantees. The 3 application deadlines are:

  • February 1st
  • June 1st
  • October 1st

 

Applications must be submitted by 5pm on the day of the deadline. 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.

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 grants@rosefdn.org.

Eligibility Criteria

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.
  • Organization Size: Annual income or expenses of $150,000 or less (for exceptions, see application).
  • Issues Supported: Include, but are not limited to environmental health and justice, climate advocacy and resilience, land management and urban sprawl, habitat and wilderness protection, water resources, sustainable agriculture, and pollution and toxics.
  • Strategies Supported: Include, but are not limited to community-based advocacy, litigation, restoration, community organizing, 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: Grants are for a one year period. In order to make space for emerging new organizations, after three years of funding, groups need to wait two years before reapplying.

Priorities

  • Movementbuilding: Preference is given to groups building broad community support and engaging in effective public outreach. 
  • Impacted and Underserved Communities: The fund prioritizes groups that serve and represent historically marginalized or impacted communities, especially BIPOC, frontline, immigrant, and low-income communities.
  • Community-Oriented with a Big Picture Vision: Priority is given to organizations grounded in the communities they serve and addressing important local problems, but who are also thinking strategically about how their work fits into the larger landscape of environmental challenges we face today. 
  • Climate Resilience and Environmental Justice: We see these as the priority issues of our time, and they are deeply interconnected. The same extractive systems that have caused our climate crisis have heaped disproportionate harms on marginalized communities. Sustainable solutions must come from the communities that have born the most harm. On a practical level, these priority areas encompass a wide scope of work, from fighting to protect our forests and natural biodiversity, planning for sustainable and equitable management of our water resources, reimagining our food and transportation systems, and addressing the disproportionate effects of pollution and climate impacts on poor, BIPOC, and immigrant communities.

 

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 e-mail or call us before applying: grants-at-rosefdn.org, (510) 658-0702

How to Apply

Tips for Applicants

Resources for Current Grantees

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 Grow Your Roots Mini-Grant. Grantees are eligible to receive up to $500 in training scholarships or capacity-building support per year. Mini-grants can be put towards the cost of trainings, consultants, software, equipment or other capacity-building materials. Grantees traveling more than 75 miles round trip for a training can 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.

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 grants-at-rosefdn.org]

Current and Past Grantees

Funding Board Members

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.

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