Application Process

Application Process

Do you meet our Guidelines?

Please read and acknowledge the content of the Before You Apply link on this website before submitting a proposal.


Needmor's Grantmaking Programs:



Core Grants- Deadline June 30, 2020

(Application Opens May 1, 2020)

Needmor’s Core Grants Program provides general operating support to groups engaged in the work of community organizing. Grantees funded through this program are eligible to receive funding for up to three years, after which an organization may not apply for at least two years.

The Fund’s Core Grants Program will focus on supporting community organizing in the Midwest – specifically an eight state region that includes Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio, and Wisconsin. 



Basic Criteria: While Needmor embraces the opportunity to fund emerging organizations, our commitment remains to funding strong, effective community organizing. We thus seek to support groups that:

  • Organize primarily low- and moderate-income people, as evidenced by demographic/ statistical data indicating social and economic distress.
  • Have a multi-issue agenda that reflects an intersectional approach to addressing issues associated with race, economic justice and equality.
  • Demonstrate a commitment to long-term base building and effectively link issue work to building organizational power.
  • Are democratically run and consist of a dues-paying membership base, with deep member engagement and a process for both developing and regenerating a strong cadre of leaders over time.
  • Have developed a power analysis and a clearly defined plan for challenging/altering the dynamics of power within their communities.
  • Engage in direct action and have demonstrated the ability to win concrete victories of increasingly larger scale.
  • Have a vision to continually build and aggregate power, enabling them to take on bigger policy issues and expand its base of allies to increase its impact over time.
  • Are well managed, engage in strategic planning, and have a sound budget and diversified fundraising plan.

Additional Screens: In addition to meeting the above basic criteria, Needmor is interested in funding groups that:

  • Organize across lines of race, class, and gender; and, promote the principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  • Are linked to and leverage the power of faith, labor, and community into powerful organizations.
  • Demonstrate a willingness to work collaboratively for the purpose of building collective power to achieve systematic change at the regional, state, and national level. 
  • Are connected to larger organizing networks that are working to implement new, broad, and creative public policies that address systemic issues facing low- and moderate-income communities.
  • Integrate voter engagement strategies and the expansion of democracy into the building of powerful community organizations.
  • Demonstrate the ability to develop an agenda that frames issues of relevance to both urban and rural constituencies.
  • Recognize and address the impact of global corporatization as it relates to issues of economic and environmental justice.
  • Have potential for attracting the interest and support of other funders.


The Frank I. Sanchez Award - Deadline March 1, 2020

Description: Beginning in 2019, The Frank I. Sanchez Award will be awarded to one organization annually to recognize excellence in the field of community organizing. This one-time grant of $50,000 may be used to support general operations and/or any need identified by the recipient organization. Any prior Needmor grantee, including those previously supported through our National, Southeast or Southwest Clusters, are eligible for consideration for this award.

Rationale: For over two decades, Frank Sanchez’s passion for social justice and democracy served as a bellwether that helped to guide and shape the direction of Needmor’s grant programs. Frank’s deep, relational approach to grantmaking is but one aspect of a legacy that will continue to guide our work for years to come. Upon his retirement in December 2018, the Board and Donor Family of the Fund established the Frank I. Sanchez Award for Excellence in Community Organizing to honor his many contributions to both Needmor and the field of community organizing.

Basic Criteria:  This award is intended to recognize a current or former Needmor grantee as an exceptional community organization with an established history of considerably improving the lives of low- and moderate-income communities, while also promoting a social justice agenda and enhancing the practice of democracy. Applicant organizations must be able to demonstrate that they have:

  • Significantly increased their membership base consistently over a 3 to 5 year period.
  • Recruited and developed a deep leadership base (quantitative and qualitative) consisting of a mix of new, intermediary, and veteran leaders.
  • Changed the relations of power between those who have it and those who don’t, thus lifting the voices of those who have been systematically disenfranchised.
  • Aggregated their power with networks, allies, and sister organizations to implement systemic change at the local, regional, state, and national level that significantly improves the lives of low- and moderate-income communities.
  • Used their power to win public policies that address systemic issues and have won concrete benefits for low- and moderate-income communities.
  • Effectively integrated a voter engagement strategy into the organization and significantly increased voter turnout among low- and moderate-income communities.
  • Reduced reliance on foundations (or any single source of support) by diversifying its fundraising strategies.

Applications for the Frank I. Sanchez Award will be accepted by invitation only. If you wish your organization (or some other) to be considered, please contact our Executive Director, Mary Sobecki, at 419-872-1490.


General Instructions

  • Our policy is to provide general operating support.
  • Applications are accepted only through our online grantmaking system.
  • Proposals are due by midnight on the deadline date.
  • Please do not submit video or audio materials with your application.
  • Approximately six weeks after the deadline for submissions, you will receive an email from Needmor stating whether or not your organization will be considered for funding.
  • Organizations approved for funding can expect grant funds to be available approximately six months after the application deadline.
  • Funded organizations are eligible to apply for up to four consecutive years, after which they may not re-apply for at least two years.
  • Continuing grantees have a slightly different application process.  Needmor will provide you more detailed instructions prior to the deadline date.  
  • If you have any questions, please contact our Grants Manager at 419-872-1490.



Needmor's Online Grantmaking System:

Needmor utilizes the Foundant on-line grantmaking system.  Please review the following instructional videos to learn more about using this system.  We recommend you view all videos before proceeding to the site.



If you or your organization have not yet registered in our system, here is an Instructional video on how to do so:


Enter the Needmor Fund online grantmaking system