Grassroots organizations are critical to building powerful environmental and climate justice movements. The Fund to Build Grassroots Power (the Fund) grants to organizations working to advance environmental and climate justice within the United States.
The Fund was established by The JPB Foundation, based in New York City. JPB aims to help accelerate a just transition by strengthening, growing, and supporting four national networks that influence national action while providing critical infrastructure to grassroots organizations— Climate Justice Alliance, Partnership for Working Families, People’s Action, and the Environmental Justice Forum (coordinated by WE ACT for Environmental Justice). These networks play a critical role in strengthening and connecting grassroots organizations to advance the environmental and climate justice movements. The Fund makes grants available to the members and affiliates of these networks who work in their communities to advance solutions to pressing environmental challenges, aiming to grow and strengthen the organizational capacity and power of those organizations.
As a participatory fund guided by insights from representatives from the national networks mentioned above, the Fund targets its grants toward community-based organizations working to achieve meaningful impact in their communities. In addition to grantmaking, the Fund is invested in strengthening connections across grassroots funders and non-endowed funds supporting frontline communities and increasing their effectiveness through deeper coordination.
First Call for Proposals (closed May 2019)
The Fund is appreciative to all of our first-round applicants. Through their feedback on the application process and through their proposals, they have taught us a lot about the capacity needs in the field, which will inform how we structure future grant cycles. The Fund received a tremendous volume of applications, which demonstrates the deep need the field has for this type of flexible, capacity building support. This also made it very difficult to select grant recipients. In honor of our commitment to transparency, we share this high-level summary of the requests we received and some context below on how the Fund prioritized grant decisions for this docket.
Grant Decision-making Process and Results:
Prior to receiving the applications, we did not know the scale or details of the requests we would receive, so in reviewing we had to strategically prioritize where to put limited resources. In addition to the high-level priorities listed below, the Advisory Board prioritized grants based on:
First Round Awardees
|Alaska Community Action on Toxics||$ 100,000|
|Black Dirt Farm Collective||$ 25,000|
|Black Workers for Justice||$ 50,000|
|Citizen Action of Wisconsin Education Fund||$ 75,000|
|Community Labor United||$ 57,500|
|Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition/Technical Advisory Group||$ 70,000|
|Farmworker Association of Florida, Inc.||$ 50,000|
|Got Green||$ 80,000|
|Harambee House, Inc, Citizens for Environmental Justice||$ 85,000|
|Hometown Action||$ 50,000|
|Illinois People’s Action||$ 44,000|
|Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN)||$ 30,000|
|Kheprw Institute||$ 50,000|
|Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy||$ 50,000|
|Michigan Environmental Justice Coalition||$ 30,000|
|Michigan United||$ 85,000|
|New Jersey Resource Project||$ 60,000|
|POWER: An Interfaith Movement||$ 110,000|
|Puget Sound Sage||$ 75,000|
|Ruckus Society||$ 30,000|
|TakeAction Minnesota||$ 75,000|
|Texas Environmental Justice Advocacy Services||$ 100,000|
|The FANG Collective||$ 75,000|
|Warehouse Worker Resource Center||$ 75,000|
|WV Citizen Action Education Fund||$ 75,000|
Who the Fund Supports
The Fund is open to all network members and affiliates of Climate Justice Alliance, Partnership for Working Families, People’s Action, and EJ Forum.
The Fund’s grantees:
What the Fund Supports
The Fund provides capacity building grants to support the needs organizations articulate for themselves, whether those are for enhancing the quality of their work, the financial stability of their organization, or to grow the organization.
The Fund does not support work conducted outside the continental boundaries of the United States and does not fund lobbying.
The JPB Foundation’s environment program and Arabella Advisors have been working together since 2017 to look at how funders can most effectively get resources to the grassroots to advance the environmental justice movements. This research demonstrated that infrastructure for supporting the movements is under-resourced, spread thinly, and disconnected, and that, at times, funders’ priorities are at odds with those of the communities they fund who mobilize not just on climate and energy issues, but at the intersections of environmental issues and social and racial justice. The insights gained through this work led JPB to make a commitment to amplify its funding to organizations of networked members operating across the US. JPB established the Fund, housed at the Windward Fund for its flexible and nimble grantmaking operations, as a platform for making responsive grants to the grassroots members of these networks; Arabella worked with JPB and representatives of the four national networks to design and now implement the Fund together.
The Fund is committed to supporting the grassroots members and affiliates of four organizations to strengthen their capacity and advance the environmental movement. To that end, the Fund has committed to the following core values to guide its work:
Inclusivity: We seek to shift power away from the funder and closer to communities working on solutions to environmental and climate justice challenges. To do so, we engage representatives of grassroots networks who sit on our Advisory Board to lead in determining the fund’s priorities, identifying grantees, and directing resources.
Responsiveness: Grantees may use our resources flexibly to address their true needs, and we manage an efficient grant-making process so that communities can access resources in a timely manner to address pressing challenges and opportunities.
Efficiency: We try to minimize the burden the applicant organizations face during the application and reporting processes so community members can spend less time trying to access funding and more time on their important work. We also try to balance the time our Advisory Board members spend guiding the fund’s strategy and decision making with the need for authentic input from field leaders.
Transparency: We seek to be accountable to the communities we serve and solicit frequent input on how our operations affect those communities. We take time to reflect and adapt so that we are truly being led by those communities.
The JPB Foundation
The mission of JPB is to advance opportunity in the United States through transformational initiatives that empower those living in poverty, enrich and sustain our environment, and enable pioneering medical research.
The Fund to Build Grassroots Power Advisory Board
Each network represented on the Advisory Board is advancing environmental justice to help ensure a just transition to a regenerative economy, and the Fund has been designed to strengthen these networks and their members. These advisors provided input into designing the Fund’s grant-making strategy and process, and they provide insights to inform funding decisions based on the transparent criteria provided in the RFP and application questions. The Advisory Board includes:
Fund to Build Grassroots Power Steering Committee
Our Steering Committee guides the Fund’s overall grant-making strategy and process and recommends grant awards to the Fund’s fiscal sponsor, Windward Fund. The Steering Committee includes:
The Windward Fund seeks to build a more impactful environmental movement by connecting people across diverse geographies, sectors, and communities, enabling them to share expertise and resources, and providing a vehicle for effective, community-based, grassroots grant making that elevates the voices of those most impacted by environmental degradation. As a 501(c)(3) public charity, Windward incubates and hosts initiatives which pursue bold solutions to environmental challenges from a range of angles. Windward’s platform allows donors to convene and collaborate on these issues, leveraging the work of other interrelated projects housed at the fund to strengthen their efforts and advance the field. Windward provides strategic support, guidance on best practices, expertise on operational efficiencies, and specialized compliance knowledge to hosted projects. Windward is managed under an administrative agreement by Arabella Advisors.
Arabella helps foundations, philanthropists, and investors who are serious about impact achieve the greatest good with their resources. Arabella helps its clients understand complex problems, develop and implement innovative solutions, and achieve social and environmental impact at scale. Critical to Arabella’s mission is fostering diversity, equity, and inclusion in the field and internally within the firm. Arabella’s culture of listening and radical empathy connects Arabellans and rewards challenging the status quo. Arabella does this in service of each other, its clients and communities.