Northern California Environmental Grassroots Fund Grant

Rose Foundation

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Grant amount: Up to US $5,000

Next deadline: Feb 3, 2020 5:00pm PST

Later deadlines: May 1, 2020 5:00pm PDT, Aug 3, 2020 5:00pm PDT, Nov 2, 2020 5:00pm PST

Applicant type: Organizations

Funding uses: Education / Outreach, General Operating Expense

Location of project: Counties in California: Alameda County, Alpine County, Amador County, Calaveras County, Colusa County Show all

Location of residency: Counties in California: Alameda County, Alpine County, Amador County, Calaveras County, Colusa County Show all

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About this funder:



The Northern California Environmental Grassroots Fund supports small grassroots groups throughout greater northern California that are tackling tough environmental problems including toxic pollution, urban sprawl, sustainable agriculture, climate change, environmental degradation of our rivers and wild places, as well as, of our communities and our health. The Grassroots Fund is a pooled re-granting fund supported by about 20 funding partners. In addition to being one of the funding partners, Rose Foundation serves as the Grassroots Fund’s host and trustee. Guided by a board of community activists and veteran funders, the Fund’s mission is to bridge a significant gap between grassroots environmental groups and the traditional funding patterns of organized philanthropy by awarding small grants ($5,000 or less) to small organizations that are underserved by most foundations’ funding strategies.


Fund objectives are to:

  • Strengthen and diversify the capacity of the grassroots base of California’s environmental movement.
  • Provide grantees with training opportunities, as well as scholarship funds, to develop skills in budgeting, communications, strategic planning, computer software, working with volunteers and more.
  • Enable communities that often fall through the cracks of traditional funding processes to gain crucial recognition and support.
  • Offer fiscal sponsorship to allow groups that lack 501(c)3 status to receive grant funds.

The Grassroots Fund supports numerous strategies such as community organizing, policy development, citizen enforcement (litigation), hands-on stewardship, environmental education as well as general support and organizational development. Constituencies served and mobilized are similarly broad, ranging from monolingual farmworkers, native communities, urban and rural youth, recent immigrants, seniors, business owners, and more.

We work with grantees to increase their capacity and efficiency through our training and travel scholarship program, by providing grantees with fundraising resources, and by convening grantees once a year for training and collaboration. We also work one-on-one with groups to help them develop a competitive application.

While groups that have $100,000 or less in annual expenses are eligible, most of our Grassroots grantees tend to be very small groups – 60% have annual expenses of less than $25,000, and 80% have expenses of under $50,000.

You can learn more about this opportunity by visiting the funder's website.


  • To be eligible for a grassroots grant, the applicant must meet the following criteria:
    • Geographic Scope: Project impact must be in Northern California
      • (Includes the entire Sierra Nevada Mountains, Bay Area, Central Valley, Central Coast, and North Coast)
    • Organization Size: Annual income or expenses of $100,000 or less (for exceptions, see application)
    • Issues Supported: Include, but are not limited to:
      • Environmental health and justice,
      • land management and urban sprawl,
      • habitat and wilderness protection,
      • sustainable forestry,
      • water resources,
      • agriculture,
      • sustainability, and
      • pollution.
    • Strategies Supported: General support for organizations with an environmental mission, or project support for strategies such as community-based advocacy, technical assistance, litigation, restoration projects, organizing expenses, grassroots campaigns, and environmental education.
    • Tax Status: Applicants may be a nonprofit, be fiscally sponsored by another nonprofit, or ask for fiscal sponsorship from the fund. Groups don’t have to be a 501(c)3, nor do they need a fiscal sponsor to receive a grant.
    • Frequency of Applying: 
      • Organizations whose proposals are rejected may re-apply after one year
      • .Organizations that are funded may re-apply after one year if their evaluation form has been submitted and accepted.
    • Duration of Support: Most grants are for a one year period.
      • Since a goal of the Grassroots Fund is to support the development and creation of small, new nonprofit groups, after three years of funding, groups need to wait two years before reapplying.


  • Not eligible for support:
    • Capital campaigns
    • Annual fundraising appeals
    • Government agencies
    • Colleges or universities
    • Individuals