The Fund to Build Grassroots Power: Request for Proposals

Seeking to empower grassroots environmental and climate justice groups to advance the needs of their communities.

Click here for a downloadable copy of the Request for Proposals
Haga clic aquí para la versión en Español


Grassroots organizations are critical to building powerful climate and environmental justice movements. The newly established Fund to Build Grassroots Power (the Fund) is pleased to offer its first round of 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 justice movements. The Fund will make grants available to the members and affiliates of these networks who work in their communities to advance solutions to pressing environmental challenges. The funding will be made available to grow and strengthen the organizational capacity 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 pooled funds supporting frontline communities and increasing their effectiveness through deeper coordination.

We welcome member and affiliate organizations of Climate Justice Alliance, Partnership for Working Families, People’s Action, and EJ Forum to apply for funding by May 29, 2019. Much more information, along with criteria for applying for funding and details about how the process will work, is available in the full RFP, links above. Below is basic information about the fund’s purpose and various stakeholders.

This is a one-year pilot phase for the Fund. Organizations awarded grants this year are not guaranteed funding from the Fund for future years, and applications should be written with that in mind.



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. We will make grant decisions by prioritizing organizations who meet the criteria described below. Because we will not be able to satisfy every request, we will prioritize grants to regions and populations that have historically lacked adequate investment. This means that we will evaluate the options for funding with an eye on providing resources equitably across geographies, and attention to the racial/ethnic representation and diversity of issues and approaches to achieving environmental justice we desire to be included our grantee pool.

The Fund’s grantees:

What the Fund Supports

The Fund seeks to provide 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.

We will fund grant requests from $5,000 – $150,000, based on the expressed need. We may not grant the entire value of the award you request, but we encourage you to include information on the total cost of your plans, even if it exceeds this amount.

We expect that grantees will express needs that exist across various timeframes. We are not dictating the grant period up front but rather request in our application for you to express the time period over which you will need and spend the funds. We are seeking to be flexible and meet grantees’ needs on the timeline that works for their unique situations.

Program Quality: What would help you be more effective in running your activities? Do you need funds to cover staff and operating costs to…

Financial Stability: What would help your organization feel more stable? Do you need funds to…

Organizational Growth: What would help your organization be more effective? Do you need funds to…

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:

Windward Fund
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 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.