Groundswell’s Approach

“Groundswell’s track record of bolstering women of color-led organizing with general support funding and capacity building is unparalleled in the philanthropic sector.” “

— CONNIE HELLER Groundswell Action Fund donor and Board Member

An Essential Irrigation System for Movements

For 15 years, Groundswell Fund, our 501(c)(3), has been building an irrigation system to resource social justice movements – a channel into which individual donors and foundations can pour resources to reach vital work at the grassroots. During that time, we have become one of the largest funders of women of color-led organizing in the United States, and the largest funder of the Reproductive Justice Movement.

Designed by women of color and trans and gender-nonconforming people of color – including many of the most prominent grassroots movement leaders of our time – Groundswell’s approach is thoughtful, sound, and well-aimed at the most promising and impactful organizations. We are living proof that when a foundation is run by women of color and transgender people of color who come out of grassroots organizing, the giving looks different.

Groundswell models a remarkable kind of philanthropy – proving that building solidarity and beloved community across lines of race, class, and gender is possible. Five hundred individual donors of all races and genders and 40 private foundations give into Groundswell. Women of color and transgender and gender-nonconforming people of color who come out of grassroots organizing decide where those resources go. Over 150 intersectional organizing efforts, mostly led by women of color and transgender and gender-nonconforming people of color receive the funds.

We are proud of what we have accomplished together – moving more than $65M to the field.

What unites us is a belief that the way to freedom for all people is to follow – and fund – those who know the way.

Grantees Bold Enough to Tell the Whole Truth

Groundswell believes that with the clock running down on our planet, human beings will neither realize freedom nor survive as a species if movements tell half-truths. It’s not enough to tell the truth about climate change but deny the existence of patriarchy. To tell the truth about extractive capitalism but deny the impact of white supremacy. To tell the truth about LGBTQ rights but deny the caustic effects of xenophobia. We must tell the whole truth. That work begins by lifting the truth-tellers who are brave enough to break the spell of denial that keeps progressive movements from winning.

In every major U.S. social justice movement, there is a set of truth-tellers, bold enough to tackle white supremacy, patriarchy, extractive capitalism, and colonization simultaneously. They are overwhelmingly women of color, and transgender and gender non-conforming people of color. Like bright flashlights, their leadership illuminates the path movements must take to win freedom for all people. Resources help them shine their lights brighter so more people can see the way.

Groundswell’s mission is to put those resources in their hands.

Grantees Who Build Durable Grassroots Power

Policy wins and other victories are paper-thin without an organized and sustained grassroots base that can defend them, ensure their implementation, and fight to win again. There is only one way to build this kind of base: long-term grassroots organizing that engages community members on the issues that they care about with bold messages that inspire them to action.

Together we just witnessed the largest voter turnout since 1908, with organizers of color, who have been organizing this way for years, leading the way. This is the kind of organizing that was required to beat back fascism and it is the kind of organizing that is necessary to realize the hope of democracy and save our planet. Groundswell is dedicated to helping organizations scale up this critical work.

Our Mission

Groundswell Fund strengthens U.S. movements for reproductive and social justice by resourcing intersectional grassroots organizing and centering the leadership of women of color – particularly those who are Black, Indigenous, and Transgender.

Our New Blueprint

This 2020-2025 Blueprint offers a pathway for Groundswell to stay the course in our existing successful strategic direction and to innovate in ways that respond to our learning and to the unique needs of this historic moment.

We will continue doing what we are good at: getting general support dollars to sustained, intersectional organizing at the grassroots, providing capacity building support on integrated voter engagement and grassroots organizing, and organizing within philanthropy to unlock more resources for this kind of organizing work.

We will also sharpen our approach, by more explicitly centering our giving on work led by women of color, particularly those who are Black, Indigenous, and Transgender, and doing more to sustain and nourish our grantees: increasing resources for healing justice, organizational development, political education, data management, legal support, and climate justice. We will support groups who ask for our help to connect and build together across geographies and sectors. And we will become a stronger political home for donors who want to deepen their political education and learning.