Bread & Roses Community Fund believes in change, not charity. We organize donors at all levels to support community-based groups in building movements for racial, social and economic justice. We support movements and their leaders through fundraising, grantmaking, capacity building, and convening.

Bread & Roses makes grants to organizations that use community organizing to create sustainable social change.

What do we mean by community organizing?

We define community organizing as community-led collective action aimed at shifting the balance of power between community members and policy makers and making changes in policies or practices at the institutional or systems level. Examples of community organizing include:

  • Civil disobedience
  • Mass protest
  • Mobilizing community members to voice community concerns by attending meetings with or writing letters, sending emails, and making phone calls to public officials
  • Mobilizing community members to pressure individual public officials to change their position on an issue
  • Hosting town hall meetings and conducting listening projects or using other methods to gather community input on a particular issue with the intention of building a base of community members and taking collective action to create change at the policy or institutional level
  • Training community members to disrupt harmful practices that government or corporate entities are using to maintain the existing system
  • Creating alternatives to existing government or corporate systems or practices that are harmful and making those alternatives available in ways that have a measurable impact on the larger community
  • Providing space for political education that builds the leadership and skills of members of an affected community, enabling them to analyze harmful systems, develop strategies for social change, and take collective action to create sustainable social change

Who is eligible to receive a grant?

Organizations must meet all of the following basic requirements to be eligible for a grant from Bread & Roses:

  • Must be located in Philadelphia, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, or Camden counties
  • Must be designated by the IRS as a 501(c)3 organization or have a fiscal sponsor that is designated by the IRS as a 501(c)3 organization or have documentation of a pending 501(c)3 application with the IRS
  • Must be current with all progress reports from previously awarded Bread & Roses grants
  • Must submit a complete application prior to the deadline (because of the volume of applications we receive, we cannot make exceptions)
  • Must be using community organizing to create sustainable social change

Additional eligibility criteria are listed within the description for each fund. Organizations can apply for a grant in every fund for which they are eligible. Organizations can receive up to $50,000 total in grants from Bread & Roses within a 12-month period.

Bread & Roses makes grants to organizations that have a long-term vision for social justice and engage in strategies that promote sustainable social change, including:

  • A focus on community organizing and activism (not social service, self-help, or educational programs)
  • A clear understanding of the root causes of the problem or issue that they are working to resolve
  • A vision that emphasizes changing the systems that create or perpetuate the problem or issue being addressed
  • A strategy that includes building a local base for taking collective action by the community affected by the problem or issue and results in concrete outcomes at the neighborhood, city, state or national level
  • Leadership that is primarily composed of people most affected by the problem or issue that is being addressed

Bread & Roses does not make grants for:

  • Direct service work/social services, self-help/empowerment programs, educational programs, or advocacy
  • Research
  • Capital campaigns or building projects
  • Scholarships, fellowships, or grants to individuals (except through the Lax Scholarship Fund)

Opportunity Fund grants are intended for special projects or emergencies that are not part of an organization’s ongoing work. These activities are frequently in response to rapidly emerging issues and might include: demonstrations and rallies, coalition efforts, conferences, or forums.

The Opportunity Fund makes grants to groups that:

  • Meet all basic eligibility requirements and funding criteria
  • Are facing an emerging issue, project, or situation that is not part of the organization’s ongoing work
  • Have not received an Opportunity Fund grant within the past 12 months*

*12 months from when the application was submitted

Grants range from $50 to $1,000. Groups who have received grants from the Opportunity Fund in the past year may not reapply in the following grant cycle.

 For eligibility criteria and more information about this Fund, visit our website. Check out our list of recent grantees to see if the Opportunity Fund is right for your group. 

Overview of Funds

The Racial & Economic Justice Fund provides $10,000 grants to groups that use community organizing to promote racial and economic justice at the local, state, or national levels. To qualify for this Fund, organizations' strategy for change should rely on community organizing. Groups must also hold racial and economic justice central to their vision, their understanding of the issue they seek to address, and their strategy for social change.

Check out our list of recent grantees to see if the Racial & Economic Justice Fund is right for your organization. 

The Future Fund provides $5,000 grants to groups that are working on emerging issues or developing new approaches to social justice activism or community organizing. These groups may employ one or more effective strategies, such as cultural work, media advocacy, and political education. 

Check out our list of grantees to see if the Future Fund is right for your organization. 

For both funds, see characteristics of a Bread & Roses grantee to see if your organization is a good fit for Bread & Roses funding.

Please note: Groups cannot apply to both the Racial & Economic Justice Fund and the Future Fund during the same year. 

Application Deadline

The deadline to apply for the Racial & Economic Justice Fund or the Future Fund is 11:59 p.m. on March 1, 2023. To be considered for funding, proposals must be complete and submitted on time. Because of the volume of applications we receive, we cannot consider incomplete or late applications. 

Eligibility Criteria For Racial & Economic Justice Fund and Future Fund

  • Meet all basic eligibility criteria
  • Are led by people most affected by injustice, and have broad membership and leadership bases that can survive when key leaders step down
  • Understand power and can talk about how they are trying to challenge power imbalances within their organizations and in their communities as well as between community members and policy makers
  • Are less likely to be funded by more traditional funders, because of their commitment to challenging power and prioritizing the leadership of marginalized people; therefore, a grant from Bread & Roses would be critical to seeding or sustaining their work

Racial & Economic Justice Fund Specific Criteria

  • Meet Eligibility Criteria for Racial & Economic Justice Fund and Future Fund listed above
  • Have a long-term vision for and engage strategies that promote racial and/or economic justice
  • Are using community organizing to achieve their goals and create social change
  • Have a plan, including short term and long term goals that are specific and achievable and promote racial and/or economic justice through changes in policies or practices at the neighborhood, city, state, or national level
  • Are knowledgeable about other organizations working on the same issue, and are able to work collaboratively across movements, issues, and communities to amplify impact

Future Fund Specific Criteria

  • Meet Eligibility Criteria for Racial & Economic Justice Fund and Future Fund listed above
  • Are new or emerging groups or organizations that are new to Bread & Roses
  • Are focusing on developing their capacity and skills to build a local base and take collective action against the problem being addressed

Application Process Suggestions

  • We suggest you review the entire application before filling it out. If you find a hard copy helpful, you can print one using the print function in your web browser.
  • We also suggest you skip the Proposal Summary question and return to it after you've finished your application. Then you can copy the most important information from your longer answers.
  • You can save your application and return to edit it as long as you do not submit your application. Once you hit submit, you will not be able to make any changes.
  • Please fill the charts in as completely as you can. If you don't have the information we're requesting, enter "0" in that box for your application to be considered complete.

What Happens After You Hit Submit

  • Bread & Roses staff will screen all of the proposals to make sure that they meet our eligibility requirements.
  • Giving Project members will review proposals individually and use a democratic decision-making process to select groups that will be invited for an interview.
  • Giving Project members will interview invited organizations in April and May 2023.
  • Using a democratic decision-making process, Giving Project members will make recommendations for grants based on the amount of money they raise.
  • Recommendations for grants made by the Giving Project will be presented to the Bread & Roses Board of Directors for final approval.
  • Grant award announcements will be made in June 2023.
Bread & Roses Community Fund