Leader of Alliance of Families for Justice speaking at microphone

Grantee: Alliance of Families for Justice

Catalyst Grants

Thanks for your interest in our Catalyst Grants!

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

Purpose of These Grants

Continuing our tradition of supporting new and emerging groups, our Catalyst grants provide general operating support to groups that are in the early stages of organizing. This seed funding furthers our grantees’ ability to start or expand their community organizing work—with a focus of developing community leaders and a vision of achieving systems-based change. Read about our Fall 2017 Catalyst grantees.

Grant Amounts

$5,000 or $10,000

The Community Funding Committee determines how much to award based on the organization’s fit within our funding criteria and priorities. There is no need to apply for a specific amount when you submit your application.

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.

Catalyst Grant Eligibility

In addition to the criteria listed above, North Star Fund will consider Catalyst applications from organizations that meet all of the following requirements:

  1. An annual budget under $350,000
  2. Founded in the last six years
  3. Can demonstrate some elements of community organizing

Application Process

Grant applications are reviewed by local experts in grassroots community organizing. The all-volunteer Community Funding Committee assesses all proposals, meets in person with select applicants and determines grant awards.

Here are the steps you will take to apply for a grant from North Star Fund:

  1. Review criteria and application materials. Applicants can create an account on our application system, preview questions, and begin assembling the required information. North Star Fund staff are available to answer questions.
  2. Attend a How to Apply Workshop. This evening workshop is an opportunity to learn about available grant opportunities and how to submit an application through our online portal.
  3. Submit a complete application by the deadline. All applicants will receive a confirmation email.
  4. Applicants will be notified about site visits about one month after the application deadline. Some, but not all organizations, will be invited to meet with members of the Community Funding Committee.
  5. Application decisions will be announced about three months after the application deadline.

Download a complete calendar of our current grant cycle with dates. 

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:

  • Overview of demographic information of your members and leaders (e.g. total vs. active members, race, class, gender, class make-up)
  • Financial information, including your operating budget, salaries of key staff members, and foundation/significant support for the current and most recent fiscal year
  • Organizing projects of direct service or legal service providers or other larger entities will be asked to describe the nature of the relationship, including the extent of “back office” administrative and fundraising support
  • Your organization’s meeting availabilities for site visits (Read more about site visits in our FAQ)
  • Your 501(c)(3) letter or your fiscal sponsor’s 501(c)(3) letter and fiscal sponsorship agreement

2. Download narrative proposal questions for New Applications or Renewal Applications

3. Write proposal narrative (3-5 pages). You will be asked to describe your vision, campaign strategy, member leadership, and decision-making structures. Please note that we will accept proposal narratives submitted to other funders, best suited if such proposal pertains to community organizing.

4. Begin your application online via the Submittable website.

5. Upload your proposal narrative and 501(c)(3) letter/fiscal sponsor agreement to your Submittable application

6. Submit your application on the Submittable website. Once your application is submitted, you will receive an automatic receipt. Your application is not considered complete until you receive a confirmation email from our program staff. You will receive a confirmation email within 48 hours.

Still have questions? Contact our Program Officer Catherine Eusebio at (212) 620-9110 or catherine@northstarfund.org.

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