Unrestricted Grants for Nonprofits
Unrestricted Grants for Nonprofits in the United States
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About the Chorus Foundation
The Chorus Foundation works for a just transition to a regenerative economy in the United States. We support communities on the front lines of the old, extractive economy to build new bases of political, economic, and cultural power for systemic change.
We envision an economy in which everyone can find meaningful work; an environment in which everyone has access to clean air, clean water, and a stable climate; and a democracy in which everyone has a say.
The long-term plan is for the foundation to spend out our principal in its entirety – or to “sunset” – by 2024. We believe that the climate crisis is simply too urgent for us to do otherwise.
Our Grant Making Approach
If we’re going to meet the challenge of climate change, then we must address the injustice and dysfunction that created the problem in the first place. This means building new power in communities across the country:
- New political power to offset the influence of the fossil fuel and financial sectors;
- New economic power to create alternative structures for business and finance; and
- New cultural power to provide a new narrative and vision of what is possible.
Our grants program focuses on helping organizations, especially those on the frontlines of the old extractive economy, build these new kinds of power.
In 2013, the Chorus Foundation made a ten-year funding commitment to Eastern Kentucky — through the Foundation’s anticipated spend down in 2023 — to speed a just transition in the region. This investment aligned with the Foundation’s intention to strengthen the US movement to address climate change, especially in the regions of the country that have been most impacted by the fossil fuel industry.
Then, after a year-long process that concluded in 2016, the Foundation made eight-year funding commitments to three additional Focus Communities: Alaska; Buffalo, New York; and Richmond, California. These Focus Communities, including Eastern Kentucky, are working to build a new economy based on the principles of broadly shared economic prosperity, democratic governance and ownership, and climate and environmental justice. Through its long-term, unrestricted funding commitments to Anchor Organizations in each community — as well as through additional funding for other organizations and projects in each region — the Foundation supports a variety of activities aimed at building local power and leadership.
The Anchor Organizations in each Focus Community include:
- Alaska Engagement Partnership (AEP)
- Native American Rights Fund (NARF), Alaska Office
- Native Peoples Action
- Kentuckians For The Commonwealth (KFTC)
- Mountain Association for Community Economic Development (MACED)
- Asian Pacific Environmental Network (APEN)
- Communities for a Better Environment (CBE)
- Urban Tilth
Buffalo, New York
- Open Buffalo
- People United for Sustainable Housing (PUSH) Buffalo
In addition, the Chorus Foundation also provides support to a small number of movement support organizations (such as Movement Generation) and networks (such as the Climate Justice Alliance) that work with local communities to build a stronger, more coordinated national movement.
We ask that any organization seeking support from the Chorus Foundation note the following:
- The Foundation will only consider funding national organizations that work with our existing grantees in two or more of the Foundation’s four Focus Communities (Alaska; Kentucky; Buffalo, New York; and Richmond, California). If this is true of your organization, then we ask that you secure brief letters of support from at least two of our existing Focus Community grantees, each from a different community in which you work.
- Local funding decisions in each of the Foundation’s four Focus Communities are made through a grantee-led process that is unique to that community. If your organization works locally in only one of the Focus Communities, then we ask that you engage directly with that process and can provide you with the appropriate information to do so.
The Foundation’s grants typically range from $15,000 to $100,000 per year to any individual organization. The exact amount generally will be determined upon reviewing materials submitted by an organization and through conversations with representatives of the organization.
Grand Rapids Community Foundation
Fund for Community Good
With our Fund for Community Good (unrestricted) and field of interest fund assets, we seek out and respond to requests for resources from partners who share our commitment to becoming actively anti-racist.
Systemic and institutional racism is present in every issue our community faces. Thanks to the generosity of donor partners, we continue to provide financial support across a broad spectrum including education, the environment, health, the arts and social engagement, neighborhoods and economic prosperity.
In all instances, we continuously assess how we work and with whom we partner, in order to dismantle barriers to equity and justice.
We strive for equitable educational attainment when race, ethnicity, and first generation status are not predictive of post-secondary enrollment, persistence, and degree or credential attainment.
We invest in culturally effective solutions that lead to equitable health outcomes and well-being.
We seek to create greater access to housing prosperity for all who call Kent County home. We invest in the production and preservation of equitable, stable, quality, affordable housing in historically under-resourced neighborhoods.
Arts + Culture Engagement
We invest in opportunities that seek to sustain arts and cultural opportunities to advance equity and are led by or primarily reach communities of color. We also invest in leaders and networks that inspire, grow and connect movements aimed at advancing equity.
We invest in workforce development that results in sustainable, living wage jobs with competitive benefits. We also seek to increase access to capital and opportunities for historically under-resourced entrepreneurs.
We invest in efforts led by those most affected by environmental injustice and that ensure equitable environmental benefit.
About the Fred Morgan Kirby Prize for Scaling Social Impact
The Fred Morgan Kirby Prize for Scaling Social Impact (F. M. Kirby Impact Prize) is an annual global prize of $100,000 USD in unrestricted funds that amplifies and accelerates the work of enterprises working to scale their impact on social or environmental problems around the world.
New Media Ventures
NOTE: NMV has changed to a rolling deadline submission process, however, we will have two suggested deadlines each season. Priority will be given to those submitted by that season’s recommended submission date.
NMV's Continuous Investment Cycle
New Media Ventures funds for-profit companies and nonprofit organizations building progressive power. Our primary focus areas are media & narrative, organizing & advocacy, and elections & civic engagement.
- Scalable with a proof of concept
We prefer ventures with an existing user base (even if they are only beta users), demonstrated proof of concept, and a clear plan for generating revenue and/or growth. In some cases, we will fund ventures with little or no user base if there is compelling research proving the efficacy of the idea, or a clear opportunity to build power.
- Sustainable model and impact
We have a preference for work that is sustainable and builds progressive power. We’d like to invest in ventures who expect to generate revenue, although they may not now, or who have a plan for a sustainable operating model. Note: We do not invest in one-off media projects like documentaries, although we might invest in a company building a sustainable business model for making documentaries!
- Strong, diverse team
We look for leadership teams that have both the technical and business talent to create something great and who understand their market intimately. We are especially interested in democratizing access to capital and encourage people who have been historically overlooked in the startup community to apply. In our experience, founders with direct experience of the challenges they are working to solve are best positioned to do so.
- Progressive & mission-driven
NMV is mission-driven and works to invest in entrepreneurs and activists building progressive power in the United States. We care about environmental protection, economic equality, racial justice, a thriving democracy, and more. The startups we support are mission-driven and seeking to make the world a better place.
What support do selected organizations receive?
$50K to $150K in funding. We typically make investments in for-profits (most often via convertible notes) and give unrestricted grants to nonprofits. Additionally, NMV supports the portfolio through:
- A network of founders where leaders ask questions, identify problems, and surface solutions in community.
- Webinars and one-on-one coaching to help new leaders navigate organizational and operational challenges, like setting goals and managing cash on hand.
- Catalyzing additional funding by connecting them to donors and investors at our flagship event, the NMV Summit, and at other times of the year when possible.
- We’re currently refining our program in response to feedback from current portfolio members and look forward to rolling out the next iteration of our support program in the months ahead.
Who Should Apply?
New Media Ventures funds across various fiscal structures, including for profit and nonprofit.. We’re looking for scalable solutions from diverse, mission-driven teams that are working to advance progressive change. We’ll consider supporting:
- Early stage ventures working to build and scale solutions in this context
- New programs and / or collaborations of larger organizations that are positioned to develop new tech tools or other cutting edge approaches that could be transformative for the progressive movement
NMV funding is best suited for early-stage projects or startups (pre-seed/seed stage) for which a one-time investment of $50K to $150K can make a meaningful difference. Our mission is to support entrepreneurs and activists who are strengthening our democracy, building progressive political power, and/or empowering historically marginalized communities.
Ultimately, we hope to find the best technology and innovations and love to be surprised by things we haven’t seen or considered before. You should look at our portfolio and our most recent investment slate to get a sense of the breadth of organizations we support.
Fordham Street Foundation
Judy Bigelow, founder of the Fordham Street Foundation, grew up on Fordham Street in Pocatello, Idaho, and experienced the economic security, educational enrichment and family support that helped build a successful life. The Foundation seeks to secure a better future for our least advantaged children by making the opportunities recalled on “Fordham Street” a reality for all.
To that end, we provide grants to support programs and organizations that use innovative teaching strategies and experiences to improve learning and provide a foundation of core competencies and critical life skills that will help today’s youth realize their full potential.
The Fordham Street Foundation acts with compassion and creativity to promote excellent educational opportunities for our least advantaged children.
The Fordham Street Foundation supports programs and strategies to improve public education and reduce racial and socio-economic disparities in educational opportunities and outcomes.
To maximize the positive change our funding resources can bring to community life, we have developed these core operating principles:
Interdependence – we build relationships to provide opportunities for sustained and mutually beneficial learning.
Engagement – in working with grantees, we use a client-centered approach to provide positive support for funded opportunities.
Innovation – while we plan carefully, we remain open to as yet unknown, but potentially important, opportunities.
Leverage – we work collaboratively to make the best use of our monetary and volunteer resources.
Meaning – We identify and work with grantees to achieve measurable gains in areas of greatest need.
Areas of Focus
The Fordham Street Foundation seeks opportunities to promote the rights of all children to thrive, grow and be enriched. The Foundation will support innovative programs that:
- Help children of color succeed in school, improve public education, and reduce racial and socio-economic disparities in educational opportunities and outcomes;
- Improve the academic or physical environment in schools least able to address these needs;
- Enrich the lives of homeless children;
- Prevent domestic violence.
Currently, the Foundation is limiting its review and funding to grant proposals seeking funding to help children of color succeed in school, improve public education, and reduce racial and socio-economic disparities in educational opportunities and outcomes.
The Foundation will focus its efforts on human or direct services in these areas together with education, training and resource development, and advocacy and policy work.
The Foundation will actively pursue opportunities to leverage resources. This leverage may be gained by:
- seeking out organizations that have done well leveraging their resources;
- encouraging potential grantees to identify multiple funding sources in their requests; and
- promoting interaction between the Foundation and its grantees and among grantees.
Types of Grants
Each year Fordham Street Foundation will award two Sustaining Grants of up to $65,000 per year for up to three years. These grants are intended to provide unrestricted support to build grantee capacity, encourage innovation and sustain program quality over the 3-year term.
Please contact [email protected] for information about how to apply for a sustaining grant.
Fordham Street Foundation will award single-year grants of up to $20,000 to support programs helping children of color succeed in school.
Current and former grantees that are eligible to apply to apply for a program grant (i.e. those that have been funded less than four of the last five years) may elect to apply for either a program grant or a sustaining grant, but may not apply for both types of grant in the same year.
American Floral Endowment (AFE)
About the American Floral Endowment
The American Floral Endowment (AFE) is the trusted source and catalyst for floriculture advancement through funding of innovative research, scholarships, internships, and educational grants that best serve the dynamic needs and demographics of all industry sectors.
Building A Stronger Floriculture Industry
AFE strongly believes in funding educational programs to promote and strengthen the floriculture industry. The majority of the programs funded are wide-reaching and focus on attracting young people to the industry or are educational endeavors to identify and solve industry needs and/or challenges.
Meinders Retail Florist Education Grant Fund
The Meinders Retail Florist Education Grant Fund (previously Herman and LaDonna Meinders Fund) was established in September 2021 by Herman and LaDonna Meinders, longtime industry members and AFE supporters, with a new contribution of $224,000 added to the previous unrestricted contributions reaching a total of over $500,000.
This educational grant will specifically support reduced or free registration fees to floral industry events for retail florists by providing grants or scholarships to nonprofit floral industry organizations for this purpose. The fund is fully sustainable and is expected to grow year over year, allowing for increased contributions of important industry educational programs. In its first year, it will provide over $10,000 in grant funding.
The annual distribution from this named fund will be administered by the AFE Education Committee as part of the AFE Educational Grants application process in July of each year. The AFE Education Committee will review grant applications received and discuss annual retail floral educational events or opportunities to determine the distribution levels to fulfill the intent of this retail florist educational grant.