Uses donor outreach and matching grants to leverage and direct new resources to organizations that are led by women of color, low-income women, and transgender people and building an organized grassroots base of support for reproductive justice
Groundswell’s Catalyst Fund resources the nation’s strongest reproductive justice (RJ) organizing led by women of color, low-income women, transgender, and gender-expansive people. The Catalyst Fund supports efforts that use grassroots organizing to advance reproductive justice policy and systems change.
Charged Impact Where it Counts
By centering efforts led by women of color, Catalyst supports work led by low-income white women, transgender, and gender-expansive people, who together make up the constituencies that experience the greatest reproductive health disparities and the largest barriers to reproductive freedom in the U.S.
In 2021 alone, Catalyst funded 60 organizations investing over $3.5 Million.
The Catalyst Fund supports organizations that are using grassroots organizing to advance reproductive justice policy and systems change.
It centers efforts led by women of color while also supporting work led by low-income white women and transgender people, who together make up the constituencies who experience the greatest reproductive health disparities and the largest barriers to reproductive freedom in the U.S.
The Catalyst Fund supports several grassroots organizations and POC-led abortion funds on the frontlines in Texas after the passage of SB 8—a law that bans abortion after 6 weeks and puts a $10,000 minimum bounty on the heads of anyone deemed to be helping someone access abortion care.
Catalyst awards grants directly to grassroots organizations, including matching grants designed to bolster organizations’ efforts to raise new money from other sources. Particular attention is paid to organizations building cross-movement alliances between reproductive justice efforts and other social justice organizations, including labor, environmental and economic justice.
Catalyst also awards matching grants to public foundations and women’s funds who make grants to organizations led by women of color and transgender people of color.
Catalyst has a strong track record of galvanizing new money for RJ from foundations and individual donors. Since Groundswell’s first RJ grants were made in 2008, grantmaking partners and grassroots organizations receiving matching grants have catalyzed $41 million into primarily women of color-led RJ work.
The Catalyst partners referred to here include Grantmaking Partners (public foundations and women’s funds that receive matching grants from Catalyst, fundraise from donors to raise the match, and then re-grant dollars to women of color-led RJ organizations) and direct matching grantees (grassroots organizations who receive matching grants directly from Catalyst and raise a dollar for dollar match).
When identifying groups to support through the Catalyst Fund, Groundswell looks for organizations with:
A highly engaged and growing membership/constituent base comprised of people directly impacted by the conditions that they seek to transform;
Organizational leadership that reflects the diversity of this base;
Clear mechanisms for leadership development;
The ability to mobilize a base to win concrete policy changes;
A strategic direction with clear goals and objectives that are driven by the membership/constituency;
Ability to forge inter- and cross-movement alliances and to work well in coalition;
Innovation in framing and thought leadership;
A clear timeline for achieving goals and objectives and organizational capacity to achieve these;
An integrated racial, gender, and economic justice analysis;
Connections to intermediary support organizations that build the capacity and collective power of the RJ movement;
A strong track record of policy wins or strong strategy towards future wins; and
System for measuring the impact of the work, including clearly defined benchmarks for success.
How to apply for Catalyst funding
The Catalyst Fund has one primary grantmaking round in the fall of each year.
The fund provides general operating grants, capacity building grants and project grants, with grant sizes ranging from $20,000-$200,000.
Proposals are by invitation only. However, interested organizations are encouraged to contact Groundswell with a brief summary of their work, and when appropriate, staff will schedule a call to discuss.