How to Apply California Environmental Grassroots Fund


Complete the Application

Please read these instructions carefully and follow them step by step. If you have any questions, please email The maximum grant size is $7,500.

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

1. Review the Fund Guidelines and Application Materials

Please read the Grassroots Fund eligibility criteria & priorities and tips for applicants before beginning an application.

You can review a copy of the application questions here.

You will need the following information ready when you fill out the online application:

  • Organizational budget for the current year: A budget is a projection of income and expenses for the group. You may use our Budget Template, or attach your own.  If you are close to the end of your fiscal year, please give us the budget for the upcoming year if you have it. The budget should be for applicant organization, not fiscal sponsor.
  • Organizational financial statement from the most recent completed fiscal year: This is a statement that shows how much money you actually raised and spent in the last year. You may use our Financial Statement Template, or attach your own.  The financial statement should be for applicant organization, not fiscal sponsor. Please make sure to indicate what time period your financials cover. If you need If you need help putting together a budget or financial statement please take a look at our How-To sheet, here.
  • List of board of directors, advisory board, or steering committee members – for applicant organization, not fiscal sponsor.
  • List of key staff and/or volunteers – for applicant organization, not fiscal sponsor.


Optional Additions:

  • Letter of support (1 letter, maximum of 2 pages – recommended)
  • Press clippings and/or pictures
  • Newsletters or other publications

2. Create an Online Account

To begin, create a profile in our online grants system or log in to your account here:

You will be asked to enter your Federal Tax ID or Employer Identification Number (EIN). If you are fiscally sponsored, please enter your sponsor’s EIN. If you do not have your own EIN or a fiscal sponsor, enter 00-0000000.

3. Complete and Submit An Application Online

Once you are signed in to your account, go to the “Apply” menu at the top left of the page and select the application for the current round of the California Environmental Grassroots Fund.

Remember to save your application as you go so you can return to it later. Scroll down to the bottom of the page to find the “save as draft” button.

Don’t forget to submit the application online by 5pm on the day it’s due!


What Happens Next?
We will acknowledge the receipt of your applications once it is submitted. If you do not receive this confirmation, please contact us. Applications are reviewed by staff and by a volunteer funding board. We will contact you if we have any questions or if we need additional information. The funding board usually meets 6 – 7 weeks after the application deadline. Notices of the funding decisions are sent within a week of the board meeting. If your application to the Grassroots Fund is successful, you will have a check in hand 6 to 8 weeks after the deadline date.

Submit An Application By Email
If you are absolutely unable to use the online system, you can email Aurora Heying for a Word document version of the application [].

Tips for Applicants

The California Environmental Grassroots Fund prioritizes local community-based groups with big picture vision who are building the movements for climate resilience and environmental justice in impacted and marginalized communities. Use the following suggestions to help craft a clear, compelling proposal.

Define the goals of the group and how they can be achieved. How do your goals address the goals and priorities of the Grassroots Fund? Why are they important both in a big picture sense and to the communities and the environment immediately affected?

Clear and Reasonable Work Plan
What are the specific actions or steps your group will take in the next year to achieve its overall goals. When writing a work plan it is important to clearly spell out exactly what the group plans to do over the grant period. Be specific.

Measurement of Success
Tell us how the success of the group will be measured. You may not achieve your long-term goals within the next year, but what are the immediate, short-term outcomes you hope to accomplish, and how can these be quantified (i.e. distribution of 1000 newsletters, table at 5 events, protection of 200 acres, generation of 100 comment letters or 250 postcards…)? How will you evaluate progress towards longer term goals? How will you know that you are changing how community members think about your issue?

Organizational Capacity
We consider whether the group has the capacity and resources to carry out the work plan. If a group has a great idea, but no track record, then we consider the skills and experiences of the staff, volunteers, and board members. Does a group have the knowledge, skills (or access to others who have the knowledge and skills), and ability to raise the amount of money that is needed to implement the proposed work?

Financial Need and Urgency
One factor that we consider is the degree and urgency of your groups’ financial need. If a group seems to have plenty of other opportunities to secure funding, then we may consider that group’s need to be less of a priority. We also consider if there is an urgent need for the money or a window of opportunity that makes the need especially urgent.

Organizational Size
A central tenet of the Grassroots Fund is supporting small groups and first-time grantseekers. The $150,000 cutoff is primarily based on the applicant’s actual income and expenses for the previous year. However, we also consider the budget for the current year, and whether there was a one-time income/expense that inflated the budget. Additionally, we consider whether a group is actually independent from a larger group that would not have qualified due to their large size. If you are not sure if you qualify, contact us and ask!

Big Impact
We are looking for the maximum strategic impact or the “most bang for the buck,” which means that programs with a small area of impact are not as high a priority. We consider how a project affects not only the immediate area, but how it affects the broader community and whether it can be used as a model for others.

Grassroots Community Involvement
Does your group conduct activities that reach out to or involve lots of people? Are you conducting community outreach or education? Does the group have a large base of support or volunteers? Can you demonstrate community support for your work? Tell us how your group reaches out to people to inform them and motivate them to take action. Tell us how you are reaching out to and working collaboratively with other groups doing similar work in your area.

If your group is financially supported or controlled by one individual, then the group may not have sufficient grassroots community involvement to qualify for the Fund. Similarly, groups that provide services to other groups may not be thought of as having a direct grassroots outcome.

Impacted and Historically Marginalized Communities
The fund prioritizes groups that serve and represent historically marginalized or impacted communities, especially BIPOC, frontline, immigrant, and low-income communities. What is the racial, ethnic, and socio-economic composition of your group and the community you represent? Don’t assume that we know the ethnic or economic composition of a neighborhood or city, tell us. Do the group’s volunteers, staff, and board reflect the racial, ethnic, and economic composition of those impacted by the issue? What efforts have been made to reach out to, work with, and include affected communities in the work?

Review Grassroots Funds Grantee Lists
Take a minute or two to look at our list of Grassroots Funds grantees. This will give you an idea of the types of groups and projects that we support. You can view the list by clicking here.

Events and Festivals
While there are always exceptions, the Fund has been reluctant to fund one-day or weekend events and festivals because of the short-term nature of events, and difficulty in measuring the long-term impact.

Can’t Support or Oppose Political Candidates
Nonprofits are banned from supporting or opposing any candidate running for elected office, nor may nonprofits support or be affiliated with any political parties. Applications for any candidate-related or partisan activity will be rejected.

Ask us for feedback!
If your application was not funded last time and you feel that your organization did well on all the above mentioned points, contact us and ask us why. We may be able to offer ideas that would help you reapply to the Grassroots Fund, and potentially other funders as well. Each group is eligible to reapply six months after an application is submitted to the Fund. Groups are often funded the second time because they can show a stronger track record and/or their application is better crafted.

Evaluation Criteria

These criteria are intended to guide consideration of proposals, but are not considered to be “absolutes.” In some cases, individual proposals might be worthy of funding even if they do not fully meet all of the criteria. A round of grants, or more holistically, several rounds of grants, collectively represent an overall mosaic. The goal of the California Environmental Grassroots Fund is that its mosaic of grantees and projects represents the diversity of California’s environmental issues, strategies, and communities.

  • Does the proposal address the goals and priorities of the Fund?
  • Does the work build climate resilience or advance environmental justice?
  • Does the group impact marginalized communities? Are those communities reflected in the group’s board and staff?
  • Does the group help build a broad environmental constituency?
  • What is the strategic value of the applicant’s work and how urgent is it?
  • Is the work plan clear and reasonable?
  • Is the budget realistic?  Is there a viable plan to raise enough money to pay for the group’s work?
  • Will the work produce clearly defined results?
  • Does the organization have the capacity and leadership to complete the work plan?
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