Building Capacity to Win

Capacity Building Grants

Thanks for your interest in our Capacity Building grants. These grants are only for current grantees (see specific eligibility below).

Para información en español, por favor llame a la oficina 212-620-9110.

Purpose of These Grants

North Star Fund has a limited amount of funding available for capacity building grants for current grantees. This is a pilot year, and we may not be able to offer these grants in future years.

These grants are designed to strengthen your organization’s ability to fulfill its mission. Here are some examples of how a grant might be used:

  • Organizational Development: to hire consultants to assist with fundraising, executive director transition, media and communications, special event planning, technology systems, community mapping, board development, or other organizational infrastructure projects.
  • Community Organizing: to hire consultants to develop membership structures or leadership development programs, or to support staff with community organizing coaching or training.
  • Movement Building: to build specific skills your organization needs, build solidarity or develop shared policy platforms by attending trainings or conferences, traveling for peer learning with organizers in other cities or regions, or hosting convenings.

Funds may be used to cover staff time required to complete a capacity building project. We encourage organizations to consider support and professional development programs for executive and non-executive level staff, whatever is appropriate for your capacity building needs.

North Star Fund can help identify consultants or coaches if desired.

Grant Amounts

$2,500 or $5,000

General Eligibility

The organization:

  1. Is led by the people most directly impacted by the issues the organization works on, and those members have clear decision-making power
  2. Brings people together and develops the leadership capacity of the people they work with
  3. Works to identify, articulate and address the root causes of the problems they work on, not just the symptoms
  4. Creates systemic change through “campaigns,” a planned series of events or activities that alter unjust power relationships
  5. Has a strong vision for social justice and is committed to working towards a larger movement

Strong preference will be given to organizations that:

  1. Have less access to foundation funders, capacity building or training opportunities
  2. Lack “back office” administrative and/or fundraising support from a host organization or fiscal sponsor

Still have questions? We explain these criteria in more detail here.

Capacity Building Grant Eligibility

Organizations that have received one of the following types of grants since Fall 2016 are eligible to apply for a capacity building grant:

  • Catalyst
  • Grassroots Action
  • Hudson Valley Momentum
  • Let Us Breathe

Given the limited resources in this pool, we will not be able to make more than one small grant to an organization in a 12-month period.

Priority will be given to:

  • Grantees with limited access to other funds
  • Requests that can clearly explain how the work will build the organization’s capacity

Application Process

  • Submit an online application.
  • Grant applications will be reviewed by North Star Fund staff on a rolling basis as they are submitted until all funds are disbursed.
  • Applicants will be notified with grant decisions in 3-4 weeks of submission.

Frequently Asked Questions

Get your questions answered on our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) page.

How to Apply

Our goal is to make our application process as easy as possible. Here are some tips that may help you submit your online application:

  1. Gather information and documents. On our online application portal, you’ll be asked to share a description of your capacity building project and its impact on your organization, a budget for your project, and (if it has changed) your 501(c)(3) letter or your fiscal sponsor’s 501(c)(3) letter and fiscal sponsorship agreement.
  2. Write narrative information (3-5 paragraphs). You will be asked to describe your project and how it will strengthen your organization. Please note that we will accept proposal narratives submitted to other funders for the same project.
  3. Submit your application on the Submittable website. Once your application is submitted, you will receive an automatic receipt. You will receive a response within 3-4 weeks.

All applications must be submitted through North Star Fund’s online application portal. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis through June 30, 2019.

Still have questions? Contact cori schmanke parrish at (212) 620-9110 or

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