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Groundswell’s Rapid Response Fund provides fast funding to grassroots organizations led by women of color, trans people of color, and low-income women and trans people in critical, but unexpected, fights to protect and advance reproductive and social justice.

A multi-issue fund, our Rapid Response Fund supports organizations on the frontlines, defending the most vulnerable communities with timely, flexible grants with an emphasis on funding in states and communities where women of color, transgender people of color, and low-income women and trans people-led organizing is under-resourced.

COVID-19 UPDATE

COVID 19 update

During this acute phase of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have broadened our Rapid Response Fund criteria to support organizing groups to respond to the immediate needs of their communities.

WHY RAPID RESPONSE?

As we face an onslaught of local and national attacks on women of color and trans people of color, lack of access to a funding mechanism that can deploy resources quickly has cost women of color and trans people of color activists and organizations in the United States countless policy setbacks and missed opportunities for base-building.

In response, Groundswell Fund launched its Rapid Response Fund in January 2016. Dedicated to moving resources quickly and strategically, the Fund seeks to meet unforeseen needs and opportunities in the struggle to advance and defend social and reproductive justice organizing by women of color and trans people of color.

What might the Rapid Response grants support?

  • A strategic organizing response to a public attack or a community crisis.
  • A strategic organizing response to advance solidarity and coordination of organizations working across issues to defend the most vulnerable communities.
  • A strategic organizing response to an unforeseen legislative or policy development.
  • A strategic organizing response to a new opportunity that is immediate, has a specific time frame, and is aligned with Groundswell Fund’s approach and priorities.
  • A short-term project or action that creates opportunities to organize and build coalitions and/or educate public officials or the general public.

THE RAPID RESPONSE FUND & COVID-19

A few examples of how RRF might support existing grantees and other organizations in the moment are:

  • Grants to support organizations to pivot to more digital organizing strategies.
  • Grants for urgent organizing against racism, xenophobia and hate.
  • Grants for urgent organizing around paid sick leave and protections for marginalized communities i.e. rent moratoriums, etc.
  • Grants to support campaigns for access to testing, health services, or government relief funds.
  • Grants to support mutual aid societies that are organizing and supporting people most impacted such as people who are immunocompromised, elderly, low-income, trans people of color, undocumented, and/or women of color.
  • Resources to support the safety of organizational staff who work within community, like birthworkers and field organizers.

For existing grantees only: resources to shift and adapt to remote work, including access to videoconference calling technology and equipment.

Who can apply?

  • Organizations based in the United States seeking funding for work within the United States.
  • Organizations that are already Groundswell grantees or organizations that have never received funding from Groundswell.
  • Organizations that center organizing, base-building, and advocacy as key strategies for building power and achieving social and reproductive justice.
  • Organizations that define themselves as women of color-led, trans people of color-led, and/or led by low-income women and/or transgender people.
  • Alliances, coalitions, and collaborations that are led by the above organizations working in solidarity to achieve social and reproductive justice.

Who is not eligible to receive a Rapid Response grant?

  • Organizations seeking support for candidate campaigns or other partisan activity.
  • Organizations seeking support for ongoing program work, for leadership transitions, for start up costs, or to address financial crises or funding shortfalls.
  • Organizations that do not have 501(c)(3) status or a fiscal sponsor.

How big are the grants?

2020 grant requests can range from $1,500 to $15,000; averaging between $5,000 – $10,000. On a case-by-case basis, Groundswell may consider requests above $15,000.

How does the application process work?

Due to increasingly high demand, we are pre-assessing requests before moving forward with an intake call, which serves as the first step in applying for Groundswell’s Rapid Response Fund.

There are two steps to the intake process: 1) sending an email answering three screening questions (below) and 2) a phone call.

Email Cecilia Sáenz Becerra, Program Officer at rapidresponse@groundswellfund.org to schedule an intake phone call about your Rapid Response request.

In your request for an intake call, please answer the following questions: 

  • Include one to two sentences about the nature of your Rapid Response Fund request.
  • Is there an organizing/power building/demand to the state that you’re mobilizing around?
  • Is your organization majority-led by women of color and/or transgender people of color?

After you send the email answering the above questions, program staff will reach out to schedule a call.

A call with Rapid Response Fund and the requesting organization’s representatives.

During the call, you should be prepared to answer questions about your request, organization, and budget. If applying for funding for a coalition or collaboration, please ensure that the person who does your intake call is prepared to answer questions about all the organizations involved in the project. You can have more than one person on the call.

How fast are decisions being made?

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Groundswell staff is doing its best to review applications on a weekly basis.

This means that generally, any intake calls related to COVID-19 response that are done in a given week should receive notification of their award by the close of the same week.

Grant requests are reviewed by Groundswell Fund staff members, who may also seek input from trusted stakeholders familiar with the region or issue.