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Grantee: Communities United for Police Reform

Let Us Breathe Fund Grants

The Let Us Breathe Fund was created in 2015 to support the surge in organizing in response to the death of Eric Garner and many other Black New Yorkers who have died at the hands of New York police. You can see the 2018 Let Us Breathe Fund grantees here.

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

Purpose of These Grants

The Let Us Breathe Fund supports work around police accountability and racial justice, as well as efforts to address historic disinvestment, lack of economic opportunities, and other discriminatory forces in Black communities.

The Fund prioritizes Black-led organizing groups, which is a reflection of North Star Fund’s deeply-held belief that people directly affected by an issue or injustice should lead efforts for social change. Allied efforts should have a clear plan for solidarity work with Black communities. Multi-racial organizations should demonstrate how they support Black leadership within their organization and work.

Grant Amounts

$5,000, $10,000 or $15,000 (most of our 2018 grants were for $10,000)

The grant amount received is determined by our Community Funding Committee, based on the organization’s fit with 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.

Let Us Breathe Fund Grant Eligibility

Organizations that have received a grant from the Let Us Breathe Fund.

Priority will be given to groups that:

  • Have demonstrated strong base building work, and are growing a base of leaders in New York City
  • Have a commitment to developing local leaders and can show the impact of their leadership development practice
  • Are having a political impact in the local New York ecosystem and are taking local or regional leadership

Application Process

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

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

  • 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.
  • Submit a complete application by the deadline. All applicants will receive a confirmation email.
  • Grant applications will be reviewed by the Let Us Breathe Community Funding Committee.
  • Applicants will be notified with grant decisions in 5-6 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:

  • 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 501(c)(3) letter or your fiscal sponsor’s 501(c)(3) letter and fiscal sponsorship agreement

2. Write proposal narrative (1-2 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.

3. Begin your application online via the Submittable website.

4. Upload your proposal narrative, follow up report from last year’s grant, 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 Deputy Director cori schmanke parrish at (212) 620-9110 or

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