A group of community leaders and former organizers have joined with the Conant Family Foundation to develop these guidelines, review proposals and make grants decisions for the Community Organizing for Racial Justice program area.
Recognizing that the past two years have been extraordinarily challenging, it is our hope that this grants program will create space within the culture of community organizing to focus on the well-being of staff and leaders.
Community organizing is a relationship-based strategy using the collective action of people and resources to create change. Organized people build power to enact change that wouldn’t be possible on an individual level.
Community organizing is also about healing and wellness, as illustrated by the abundance of grassroots mutual aid over the past two years and the fierce campaign against polluting industries on Chicago’s southeast side. But while organizing can literally save lives, the constant and urgent work can also result in stress, burnout and trauma/secondary trauma.
This grants program is an opportunity for ten groups to experiment with implementing healing and wellness within the practice of community organizing. What would it mean for your organization to integrate a holistic approach to wellness and sustainability for staff, board, and leaders? All while continuing the core work of leadership development, campaign actions, power building and strategizing!
Eligible community organizing will have the following attributes:
Builds collective people-power to create positive change
Is accountable to and reflects the communities it represents
Includes a racial justice analysis as a basis of the work
Has an annual budget at or under $650,000
Preference will be given to organizations at an inflection point, for example: facing a key turning point in a campaign, expanding a base, beginning or deepening relationships with other organizations, or starting a new organizing strategy.
Each organization selected for funding will receive an unrestricted, one-year $25,000 grant. Funded organizations will envision, plan and integrate healing and wellness as a component of their work. Healing and wellness will be defined by each organization within its own context.
There will be optional facilitated convenings for the ten organizations to learn from and with one another.
To apply, please follow the proposal instructions below and submit your proposal by email to Leslie@conantfamilyfoundation.org no later than May 23, 2022.
Compile a document that includes the following information. If this information is described in a proposal you’ve submitted to another foundation, you are welcome to use that or cut and paste applicable portions. Please limit your document to no more than five pages (not including attachments).
Contact information including email, phone number, website, and any relevant social media
Brief description of your organization’s purpose, history, and accomplishments. Be sure to include the issue(s) addressed and analysis of root causes, as well as geographic area and demographics.
Brief description of current work including organizing strategy, issue campaigns, leadership development, and base building
How do you include your community in decision-making? How is your organization accountable to your community?
Reflection and evaluation: how do you improve your practice?
If your organization is at an inflection point or significant change or shift, please describe the circumstances, the challenges and opportunities, and intended outcome(s). This could relate to a current campaign, base building, organizing strategy, geographic area, decision-making processes, external relationships, etc.
What does healing mean in the current culture of your organization and what would you like it to mean? What would wellness and sustainability look like if integrated into the structure and practice of community organizing? Do you currently have buy-in from board, staff and/or leaders and if not, what would it take to get there? Why is this a priority for your organization now?
List of board members
Annual operating budget including income and expenses
501c3 designation letter
Please know that this grant is an invitation to experiment with integrating wellness and healing, not an expectation to create an entirely new model of organizing. The focus here is on the process and learning, not expertise. This is about bringing greater ease and even joy to the marathon that is community organizing.
Questions? Please contact Leslie@conantfamilyfoundation.org
Submit your proposal, including attachments, as one pdf document to Leslie@conantfamilyfoundation.org by 11:59 pm on May 23, 2022.