Check Your Eligibility

North Star Fund supports organizations that are community-based and use community organizing to achieve their goals in New York City and the Hudson Valley. Check out the criteria below to determine if your organization meets the basic eligibility for a North Star Fund grant.

Community Organizing Criteria

Organizations funded by North Star Fund build “people power” and use community organizing as the primary strategy. Here are the five things we look for to confirm that an organization is building people power:

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

For more detail about these criteria, you can review our We Fund Community Organizing page.

We fund a limited number of organizations that do not use community organizing as their primary strategy, but support the ecosystem of grassroots organizing groups. If your work involves arts and activism, resources for organizing, or alternative institution building, review the criteria for the Innovative Activism grant (not currently available).

Technical Criteria

Organizations funded by North Star Fund meet the following criteria:

Geographic: Work is conducted in one of the five boroughs of New York City, or in Westchester, Rockland, Putnam, Orange, Dutchess, Ulster, Sullivan, Columbia, Greene, Delaware, Rensselaer, Albany and Schoharie counties. Grantees must be located either in NYC or within at least one of these counties, but do not need to work in all the listed locations. Local chapters of statewide or national organizations may apply.

Nonprofit Status: The organization has 501(c)(3) charitable status or a fiscal sponsor with 501(c)(3) status. Organizations that do not yet have 501(c)(3) status or a fiscal sponsor may apply, but must secure a fiscal sponsor before receiving a grant.

One Grant per Year: The organization has not received a grant from North Star Fund for at least eight months (excluding Rapid Response grants, Special Initiative grants, or donor-advised grants).

No More Than Six Continuous Years of Funding: North Star Fund welcomes applications from current grantees for up to six continuous years. After six years, we ask grantees to take a one-year break before re-applying. Grantees are eligible to re-apply after this one-year break provided that they have secured funding sources in addition to North Star Fund’s support. We make an exception if an applicant applies to a different grant category and is successful (e.g. a current Grassroots Action grantee seeking a Movement Leadership grant).

Ineligible Organizations

Although we value the work, we do not consider:

  • Direct service organizations, i.e. food pantries, soup kitchens
  • Grants to individuals, i.e. fellowships
  • Private or public schools, colleges, and universities
  • Hospitals and clinics
  • International organizations
  • Travel expenses for individual speakers or conference participants
  • Activities to elect specific candidates for public office
  • Fundraising events such as galas and walk-a-thons
  • Feasibility studies, capital fund drives
  • Organizations that do not comply with federal, state, or local equal opportunity statutes

Still have questions?

If you are in NYC, reach out to our NYC Program Officer Catherine Eusebio at catherine@northstarfund.org.

If you are in the Hudson Valley, email Hudson Valley Program Director Mayra Hidalgo Salazar at mayra@northstarfund.org.

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