Before You Apply

Before You Apply

Do you qualify?

The Needmor Fund’s grantmaking is guided by our mission, which is “to work with others to bring about social justice. We support groups of people who come together to organize their community, build power, and work to change the social, economic, or political conditions that bar their access to participation in a democratic society.”

  • We strive to engage those whose participation in our democratic society has been systemically denied, because we believe our nation will operate most equitably when all of its people are actively involved in crafting the vision, values and policies that affect their lives. This includes, but is not limited to, those who have traditionally been marginalized – i.e., low- and moderate-income communities, people of color, the disabled, immigrants and members of the LGBTQ community.
  • We seek a just society in which all persons are treated with dignity and assured their fundamental rights, including equal access to the basic necessities of life: food, shelter, safety, health care, education, livable wages, and a clean environment.
  • We work to build a nation in which all persons are free to exercise their rights regardless of race, ethnic origin, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, economic status, or religious persuasion.
  • We believe in the power of community and its ability to collectively determine the best strategies for improving the lives of its members.

 The Needmor Fund has identified community organizing as one of the most effective means for achieving these goals. Community organizing is “a process through which historically disenfranchised people can build power, address the systemic barriers to the practice of democracy, hold public and corporate officials accountable for their actions, and participate in shaping public policy.”

Needmor’s Core Grants Program provides general operating support (of up to $40,000) 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.

Beginning in 2019, 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 Needmor Fund does not fund:

  • Community development corporations 
  • Scholarships/fellowships 
  • Private businesses 
  • Training programs or direct services (e.g., counseling programs, medical services, etc.) 
  • Cultural enrichment programs
  • Films, TV or radio productions. 
  • Books, publications or research 
  • Conferences 
  • Capital improvements 
  • Litigation 
  • Projects outside the United States 
  • Government sponsored or controlled projects 
  • National organizations