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.

How to Apply for Rapid Response Funding

If you’re interested in applying for Rapid Response funding, please 1) review the process and deadlines information; 2) review Groundswell’s definitions, and 3) take the criteria self-assessment.

Rapid Response Fund grant requests for 2021 may range from $5,000 to $20,000Groundswell may consider requests of up to $25,000, but only on a case-by-case basis.

To start the process, review the process, deadlines, and definitions, then complete the criteria self-assessment. If the request is a match to Groundswell’s RRF criteria, you will be asked to submit your contact information at the end of the assessment. 

Our staff will review your submission and reach out to schedule an intake call and may cancel your request if they conclude it is not a fit to RRF criteria. Intake calls must be completed by the application dates listed below to be considered for that month. 

Groundswell’s grantmaking staff review the requests and may seek input from trusted stakeholders familiar with the region or issue 

Organizations are notified about their grant request on or around the 25th of each month.

*Dates subject to change. Please check the website for current dates prior to applying.

Grassroots Organizing and Base Building
We define organizing as ongoing, systematic engagement and relationship building with an ever-expanding and increasingly committed number of constituents and leaders who act collectively to change the conditions harming the community due to systemic oppression and state-sanctioned violence.

Specifically, this is achieved by building a base.

We define base building as using strategies to build the leadership of directly impacted communities by gaining skills, abilities, and collective power needed to transform and dismantle policies and systems that affect their lives.

Transgender People of Color Organizing
(1) organizations with a majority Transgender POC board, staff, and volunteers in leadership positions; 

(2) a Transgender POC-led coalition; or 

(3) a Transgender POC-led effort within a majority cisgender people of color-led organization or within a majority white transgender led organization. This organization must have Transgender POC in decision-making positions at the staff and board level.

Women of Color Led Organizing
(1) organizations with a majority WOC board, staff, and volunteers in leadership positions;   

(2) a WOC-led effort that is a core strategic priority within a majority white organization. This organization must have WOC in decision-making positions at the staff and board level;   

(3) a WOC-led coalition; or  

(4) a WOC-led effort within a majority male, people of color-led organization. This organization must have WOC in decision-making positions at the staff and board level.


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.


In 2020, the Rapid Response Fund moved $1,325,000 to 145 organizations. This is a huge record for Groundswell Fund and a milestone for RRF within the first five years of its existence. RRF supported 30 local and state-based efforts including Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Georgia, Hawaii, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Mississippi, Missouri, New Mexico, New York, Rhode Island, Texas, Puerto Rico, D.C., to name a few, as well as to several national efforts.

You can learn more about our 2020 grantees by downloading our mid-year Rapid Response Fund docket featuring grantees from January through June 2020.