Frequently Asked Questions About Grants
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
My organization is not in New York City. Can I apply for a grant?
Currently North Star Fund supports organizations working in the five boroughs of New York City, and also organizations in the Hudson Valley.
Sometimes, our donor advised fund partners give grants outside New York City. Please check our Grant Categories for any available opportunities.
How does North Star Fund define community organizing?
The central focus of our grants programs is support for groups organizing people to participate in the political life of their community. Effective community organizing builds the power of a “base” (or group) of people who are directly impacted by a problem, trains those people to be leaders and take action to improve conditions in their communities, and expands their understanding of the root causes of the problem so that together ordinary people can challenge and change unjust policies or institutional practices that impact their lives.
How should I submit my application?
You should submit your application by mail, email, or hand deliver it by the deadline. Late applications postmarked by the due date will not be considered. See the application instructions for detailed information.
How do we know which grant category to apply for?
Please read the Grants Categories and What We Fund pages on the North Star Fund website to define which programs your organization is eligible for.
Can I apply for more than one grants program at the same time?
In general, no. However, you may apply for a Rapid Response Grant at any time, which may be at the same time as you are applying for another category. Please check our Grant Categories for more information about the guidelines for Rapid Response Grants.
Will there be any opportunities for us to get more information and assistance in filling out the application form?
North Star Fund often holds How to Apply workshops before each deadline. You can find the most up-to-date information and schedule for upcoming workshops on the Apply for a Grant page.
If you cannot make one of the workshops and you have a question about the application after reviewing the information on our website, please call North Star Fund at (212) 620-9110.
If our organization just received funding in the past cycle, can we apply for another grant?
In most cases, no. For our regular grant cycles (Spring and Fall), you should apply to the same cycle in which you previously received funding. One exception is if you received a Grassroots Action Grant in the previous Spring cycle, you can apply for a Movement Leadership Grant the following Fall cycle, since the Movement Leadership Grant category is only open once per year.
We’ve never been funded by North Star before. Can we apply for a Movement Leadership grant?
Yes you can, but organizations with a proven history and track record with North Star Fund will receive priority over new organizations.
My organization’s budget is less than $350,000. Can we apply for a Movement Leadership Grant?
Yes. We will consider all organizations with organizing budgets up to $800,000. You can find information on how to determine your organization’s “organizing budget” here.
My organization’s budget is over $800,000, but the project we’re applying for has a budget of less than $800,000. Can we apply for a Movement Leadership Grant for that specific project?
North Star Fund accepts applications for Movement Leadership Grants from organizations whose organizing budget is less than $800,000. For information on how to determine your organization’s “organizing budget,” click here.
What is the time commitment for the peer learning program of Movement Leadership Grants?
For all participants from your organization, the peer learning program requires a weekend-long retreat, four full-day sessions held every other month, and bi-monthly meetings with a coach. Participation in the program will also require a willingness totry new ideas in your organization (for example, new ways of planning your work or being open to new alliances). It is a requirement that your organization can commit to doing all of the above to be eligible for a Movement Leadership Grant.
My organization does cultural/media work. Which grant should we apply for?
If your organization does ONLY social justice cultural/media work, you should apply for an Innovative Activism Grant.
If your organization does community organizing, you should apply for a Grassroots Action Grant or a Movement Leadership Grant. Base building groups should not apply for Innovative Activism Grants for their cultural work.
How many grants in each category will you be awarding this cycle?
North Star Fund awards 18-25 Grassroots Action Grants each cycle, 5 Movement Leadership Grants in the Fall cycle, and 5-10 Innovative Activism Grants in the Spring cycle.
Can a member of the Foundation staff come to visit our organization to see more of our programs and activities?
Unfortunately, we do not have the staff capacity to visit every organization that is seeking funding from North Star Fund. Applicant organizations that fit the funding criteria will be contacted to set up a site visit with our decision-making body, the Community Funding Committee as part of our grantmaking process. If you have questions about whether or not your organization is eligible after reviewing the information on our website, call the office at (212) 620-9110.