General Fund Grants

Eligibility

To be eligible for funding from Seeding Justice, groups must: 

  • Be based in Oregon: they have to have a significant presence in the state and their work must benefit those who call Oregon home; and

  • Have 501(c)(3) tax exemption or have a 501(c)(3) fiscal sponsor. If a group has neither federal tax exemption nor a fiscal sponsor, please contact us to discuss your options.

  • Not have received a General Fund grant from Seeding Justice the previous cycle. 

More on projects or groups that are not eligible in the FAQ below.

Priorities

Seeding Justice prioritizes funding for small, emergent, and grassroots organizations and those that are led by Black and Indigenous people and other communities of color, especially those that identify as having other intersecting identities, such as LGBTQIA2S+, immigrants and refugees, folks living with disabilities, people living with low incomes, folks that currently or formerly incarcerated, houseless people, those living in rural communities, and others.

Seeding Justice is looking to fund groups that can clearly show that they:

Build power

We are looking to fund groups and projects that bring people together to effect long-term change, and one of the most effective strategies for doing that is building the power of  communities (not individuals) to improve their own lives.

While power-building may take different forms in different communities, it almost always involves some form of leadership development, base building, and collective action toward the liberation of all. 

Work to dismantle oppression

Racism, sexism, classism, heterosexism, ableism—these are the primary tools  capitalism and the patriarchy utilize to perpetuate injustice. 

We recognize that the work of dismantling these harmful systems looks different across different communities and issue areas, but we also know that, in the words of the great Fannie Lou Hamer, “Nobody’s free until everyone is free.

Address the root causes of problems

While providing direct aid to people experiencing hardship is vitally important, we have decided to invest our limited resources in organizations that focus on changing systems and eradicating the root causes of injustice: White Supremacy, colonization, imperialism, racism, ableism, misogyny, heterosexism, and all other forms of oppression.

(For a primer on what systems change is, you may download this great report from NPC in the UK.)

Can articulate the problem they’re trying to solve and the strategies for solving them

We are interested in funding groups that have clearly identified the problem they’re trying to solve, can articulate how they will solve it, and do a good job at showing that the solutions they are proposing make sense and will result in the change they are seeking.

We know changing the world is hard and that none of us are likely to see the results of our efforts in this lifetime. Having said that, we want to see a solid plan from you on how to achieve the change you want. 

Are grassroots, emerging and community-led groups

We have a long history of seeding the movement for justice, and take particular pride in providing groups with their first grants. We are not looking for polished, perfected grant writing—we are looking for groups with drive and passion working collaboratively toward a common goal: to make their communities better by uniting and building power together.

Are connected to a broader movement and partner well with others

We are not alone in our struggles, and community-based groups are much more successful when they are part of a larger movement for social justice. 

Because effective movement building demands concerted strategies, collaboration, trust, partnerships, and sharing of resources, we will want to know about your partners, collaborators and connections.

Process

All of Seeding Justice’s programs are rooted in the pursuit of justice and liberation; our grantmaking is no different. We are constantly evaluating our application process to ensure it is accessible, low-barrier, and hopefully restorative, not extractive

This means we won’t ask questions like “What exactly do you plan to do with the funds?” or (our favorite) “What will the impact of the project/program be?” We are more interested in learning about how your group is disrupting oppressive systems, working collaboratively and transparently, and being accountable to the community it serves. 

In terms of decision making, our staff and trustees don’t decide who is awarded a grant. Seeding Justice uses a participatory grantmaking approach, where a group of volunteer activists and organizers from across Oregon reads and scores applications, discusses them at length, and decides who will receive grants. Our grantmakers represent a broad range of professional expertise, geographic areas, and lived experiences. 

Throughout the grantmaking process, our staff’s role is to recruit, support, and develop the leadership of our grantmakers; help grant applicants submit strong applications; provide feedback to unsuccessful applicants; and accompany and support grantees throughout the year.

We have two application cycles per year, in the Spring and the Fall. You can sign up to our newsletter to make sure you receive the announcements!

General Fund Grant Application and Scoring Rubric (for reference only)

Open Opportunities

The Seeding Justice staff stand in front of a bright yellow mural with their fists raised up.

Rapid Response Grants

Current grantees can apply for our Rapid Response …

Learn More

Frequently Asked Questions

If and when funding is available, you can apply for our grants via our online platform, Submittable. The first time you apply, you will need to create an account with your email address and a password.

If there is funding available, our open grants will be visible in the Open Opportunities section above or in our online platform, Submittable. If you don’t see any open opportunities, that’s because no funding is available at this time.

By subscribing to our newsletters and/or following us on social media, you’ll ensure you don’t miss any of our announcements when funding is available.

To receive a grant, your group must be based in Oregon and either have 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status or be a group that’s fiscally sponsored by a 501(c)(3) organization. Occasionally, we may fund groups that are neither 501(c)(3) or fiscally sponsored. (The question below this one addresses this scenario.)

For a list of projects we cannot fund, please check out Question 5.

We accept applications from groups that have neither 501(c)(3) status nor a fiscal sponsor under two conditions:

  • They are registered in the state of Oregon as a nonprofit corporation; and
  • They have established a bank account in the name of the organization

If you want to talk more about your unique situation, please contact us.

Seeding Justice will not fund

  • Individuals or businesses (unless they’re fiscally sponsored)
  • Animal welfare organizations 
  • Capital campaigns (i.e. construction projects, building purchase or renovation, land acquisitions, etc.)
  • Cooperatives, health clinics, or schools 
  • Direct services (i.e. social services, food pantries, wraparound services, health services, etc.)
  • Organizations that require participants in their programs to be faith or religiously affiliated 
  • Personal hobby, mutual benefit, and for-profit groups 
  • Previously funded groups that have overdue grant reports 
  • Scholarships 
  • Unions or direct labor organizing 
  • Work prohibited by the IRS, including: 
    • Illegal activities 
    • Lobbying 
    • Partisan activity that supports or opposes specific political parties and/or candidates for public office 
  • Work that has already happened or will be completed before the grant would be received

Organizations with 501(c)(3) status or a fiscal sponsor may apply for grants of up to $15,000, while groups without either 501(c)(3) status or a fiscal sponsor may apply for up to $7,000.

Having said that, we are unlikely to fund more than 50% of a project’s total or 33% of an organization’s total annual budget. 

We award two types of grants: 

Operating support grants: these grants are unrestricted and meant to support the overall operations and programs of a group. We reserve operating support grants for organizations that have 501(c)(3) status and whose annual budgets are under $500,000. 


Project Support Grants: these are restricted grants that are awarded to a specific project or program within an organization. 501(c)(3) groups with annual budgets above $500,000, all fiscally sponsored projects, and groups that have neither their federal tax exemption nor a fiscal sponsor must apply for project support grants.

Communities most impacted by injustice are often left out of decision making tables. That’s why we prioritize resourcing organizations that demonstrate that marginalized leaders not only serve their communities as frontline staff, but have a say in how programs are developed and implemented. 

When we say “leadership,” we mean the folks in your group who have decision making power, i.e. executive staff and/or board members. By majority, we mean more than 50% of that combined leadership. 

For example, if you have 10 board members and 5 executive staff (e.g. Executive Director or program directors or managers with significant authority), and 8 of those folks are BIPOC, then you would say that the majority of your leadership is BIPOC [8/(10+5)=53%].

We have two General Fund cycles a year: in the Spring and the Fall. The dates change every year, but typically, we open grant funding in mid March for Spring, and mid August for Fall.

Make sure not to miss our announcements by signing up to receive our newsletter and/or following us on social media. 

There is no limit to the number of grants you can apply for, but there’s a limit to the number of grants you can receive.

For example, if you received a General Fund grant in the Spring , you must wait until the next Spring to apply for a General Fund grant again. However, if you received a General Fund grant in the Spring, you could apply for and receive a Rapid Response grant at any time (assuming you are otherwise eligible).

We prioritize funding small and emerging organizations that haven’t had as much access to other sources of funding as larger organizations. And yet, we know that larger organizations—especially those that are led by BIPOC communities—may need to fund radical and innovative programs or projects that others won’t support. 

So yes, you can apply for our funding if you have a large budget, but only for project support.

With your application, we only ask you to submit your current operating budget. If you’re applying for a project support grant, we’ll also ask you to submit your project budget. There’s also a section in the application where you may upload additional materials you feel are important for our grantmakers to consider, but those are completely optional. 

If you are selected to receive a grant, we may ask you to submit more documentation, such as fiscal sponsorship agreements or financial statements. 

Unlike other foundations—who have program officers and trustees making decisions—we use a participatory grantmaking approach. Our Grantmaking Committee (GMC) is composed of social justice activists and organizers from across the state, who bring extensive lived and professional experience and represent the geographic and racial diversity of Oregon. You can read more about our grantmakers here.

Yes. In fact, if you received any grant that’s not a General Fund grant (e.g. Since Time Immemorial, Rogue Valley Relief, or a Donor Advised grant) you can still apply for a General Fund grant, assuming you are otherwise eligible.

The General Fund grants’ budget comes from our own fundraising efforts and is fairly consistent in terms of requirements, amounts granted, number of organizations being supported, and types of grants. The General Fund Grantmaking Committee makes decisions regarding which applications get funded. 

On the other hand, the Community Funds grants’ budget comes from community-wide fundraising efforts and are often set up in response to specific events, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, the water crisis at Warm Springs, or seasonal Oregon wildfires. If Community Funds are set up to receive applications (sometimes they are not), they may only be open to specific populations, geographies, or specific relief work being done. The decision making power for Community Funds grants resides in Steering Committees composed of community leaders at the frontlines of the relief efforts. 

Currently, we offer application materials only in Spanish and English. If you need application materials in another language, please let us know and we’ll work on translating them for you.

Yes! You may download the most recent application packets here. Please note that we may make small changes to the application from one opportunity to the next, so make sure you check out the most recent version once the application cycle opens.

As a fundraising foundation, it has been difficult for us to both make multi-year grants (which we know most nonprofits desperately need) without decreasing our funding. So, currently, we do not have an established process to award multi-year grants, but our Grantmaking Committee may decide to fund an organization for multiple years on a case-by-case basis.

Donor-advised funds (or Donor in Movement Funds, as we call them at Seeding Justice), are funds set up by individuals to fund projects and groups that are near and dear to their hearts. If you received a donor-advised grant, it means that a Donor-in-Movement Fund holder has chosen your group to receive a grant. 

You can learn more about our Donor in Movement Funds programs here.

We don’t always ask grantees to submit reports and if we do require reports, they will never be in writing. Instead, we ask grantees to meet with us to talk about the lessons, surprises, challenges, and successes they experienced since receiving the grant. 

If you do need to submit a report, we will send you a reminder at least 30 days before it’s due with a link for you to schedule a time with us.

A fiscal sponsor is a 501(c)(3) organization that agrees to serve as the holder of funds  for a smaller, non(c)(3) organization or project. Fiscal sponsors agree to receive a grant and manage the reporting and other legal requirements for the fiscally sponsored project in exchange for a small percentage of the grant(s) received. 

There are organizations whose sole purpose is to serve as fiscal sponsors for others (Social Good Fund is one), but generally, projects can find fiscal sponsors in their own communities by connecting with 501(c)(3) organizations that have similar missions and that are willing to take on the responsibility of serving as an agent.

When you’re a fiscally sponsored project, your fiscal sponsor is the one technically receiving the grant. In other words, your group is the project. (Plus if we make a general support grant to your sponsor, the funds would be unrestricted and they could use the funds for other things.)

We want to know about your project so you will enter information about your group, not your sponsor’s.

If you can’t find an answer to your questions in the FAQ, please contact us.