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Grants to USA Nonprofits to Respond to Urgent Needs and
Opportunities to Promote Social and Reproductive Justice

Rapid Response Fund (RRF)

Agency Type:

Foundation / Corporation

Funding Source:

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Groundswell Fund

Deadline Date:



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Grants of up to $20,000 to USA nonprofit organizations for projects that address urgent and immediate needs and opportunities, especially to protect the social and reproductive rights of women of color, trans people of color, and low-income women and trans people. Funding is meant to allow organizations to respond to time-sensitive crises.

Groundswell’s Rapid Response Fund (RRF) will continue to center its criteria around:

1. Urgency

  • The request is responding to an unanticipated event, political moment, and/or requires urgent or timely action. It is a new/unexpected critical opportunity or threat.

2. Leadership

  • Must be majority women of color and/or transgender, gender non-conforming (TGNC) people of color-led organization.
  • Groundswell Fund defines majority leadership that is more than 50% in decision making.
  • Definition of Women of Color and/or Transgender/GNC (TGNC) Led:
  • (a) organizations with a majority WOC/TGNC board, staff, and volunteers in leadership positions;
  • (b) a WOC/TGNC-led effort that is a core strategic priority within a majority white/cisgender people of color/white trans-led organization. This organization must have WOC/TGNC in decision-making positions at the staff and board level;
  • (c) a WOC/TGNC-led coalition; or

3. Organizing + Base-Building

  • Groundswell Fund’s RRF aims to support organizations with a history of dismantling systems of oppression by way of organizing as a central strategy.
  • Groundswell defines 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. Groundswell defines base building as using strategies to build the leadership of directly impacted communities to create solutions to the issues negatively impacting their lives, and gain skills, abilities, and collective power needed to transform and dismantle policies and systems that affect their lives.

       4. Building Systems of Community Care

  • For birth justice groups, using a reproductive justice and community-centric frame to provide a spectrum of support which includes abortion services, birth, and postpartum care that is urgent and responsive to a specific event.
  • Building new systems and imagining new ways of care for directly impacted people outside of existing systems which may include mutual aid and food sovereignty. This must be tied to organizing and not direct service provision.

If the organization is an existing Groundswell Fund grantee, the RRF request must fall outside their existing scope of work.

Groundswell Fund is particularly interested in supporting the following issues in response to this political moment that meets other funding criteria and addresses the following community care needs:

  • Community Care, mutual aid, and disaster resilience efforts in response to Hurricane Ida and other climate disasters led by directly impacted communities
  • Local efforts to advance vaccine equity and health justice in places where Delta variant deaths and cases are on the rise rooted in issues organizing and base-building organizations
  • Housing justice efforts in response to the eviction moratoriums being lifted
  • Afghanistan solidarity and relocation support rooted in issue organizing and base-building organizations
  • Community rooted and local birth justice efforts and organizing
  • Healing justice connected to a specific campaign or issue organizing opportunity

Additional Considerations:

Groundswell Fund has made a commitment to movement to specifically increase grantmaking to Black women, Indigenous women, Trans women of color, and TGNC people broadly. In addition to those communities, Groundswell is also prioritizing Southern, Midwest, and rural communities. Please see Groundswell’s 2020-2025 Blueprint for details.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 184165

Estimated Size of Grant:

Grant requests may range from $5,000 to $20,000. On rare occasions, Groundswell may consider requests of up to $25,000, yet the average grant size is $8,000.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Who can apply?
- Organizations who have an active 501c3 status, or a fiscal sponsor with an active 501c3 status
- 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

The Rapid Response Fund does not fund:
- 501(c)4 organizations
- Funding for individuals, personal projects, or personal needs such as personal health, emergency relief, and assistance, medical bills, rent, providing food or basic essentials to individuals
- Direct service provision defined as meeting individuals’ basic immediate needs and other-emotional and social supports
- Travel expenses and conference fees
- Academic scholarships, campus education, K-12 after school or youth education initiatives, school programs (public or private, K-12, university, or postsecondary)
- Capital campaigns
- Congregations/churches
- Community arts and theatre-based projects
- Publications, media events, or research unless it is tied to an organizing strategy
- Replacing revenue shortfalls or addressing cash flow challenges
- Organizational development or infrastructure building costs
- Leadership transitions
- Ballot initiatives
- General operating requests for ongoing work or existing programs that are not timely or urgent in response to sudden shifts in the political climate such as an unexpected threat or an unforeseen opportunity to build power

Pre-Application Information:

Application Deadlines:
- Friday, April 15th
- Friday, May 13th
- Thursday, June 15th
*Dates subject to change

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

How to Apply:

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 found on the URL for Full Text below.

Groundswell strives to reduce the burden to organizations, especially in times of crisis. Therefore, RRF requests are made via phone, although proposals in lieu of a phone call are welcome. RRF requests can be submitted at any time but must be submitted by that month’s deadline date to be considered for that month.

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Groundswell Fund
PO Box 71642
Oakland, CA 94612

Sheena Johnson
Senior Director of Grantmaking

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Alabama;   Alaska;   Arizona;   Arkansas;   California;   Colorado;   Connecticut;   Delaware;   Florida;   Georgia;   Hawaii;   Idaho;   Illinois;   Indiana;   Iowa;   Kansas;   Kentucky;   Louisiana;   Maine;   Maryland;   Massachusetts;   Michigan;   Minnesota;   Mississippi;   Missouri;   Montana;   Nebraska;   Nevada;   New Hampshire;   New Jersey;   New Mexico;   New York City;   New York;   North Carolina;   North Dakota;   Ohio;   Oklahoma;   Oregon;   Pennsylvania;   Rhode Island;   South Carolina;   South Dakota;   Tennessee;   Texas;   Utah;   Vermont;   Virginia;   Washington, DC;   Washington;   West Virginia;   Wisconsin;   Wyoming

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