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)

The Phoebus Criminal Justice Initiative at Bread & Roses Community Fund awards grants ranging from $2,000 to $6,000 to grassroots groups that are building a base for taking collective action against injustices within the criminal legal system. Groups applying to the Phoebus Criminal Justice Initiative must have a long-term vision for change and use community organizing strategies to promote justice.

Groups funded through the Phoebus Criminal Justice Initiative address issues that include, but are not limited to: police brutality, racially biased sentencing policies, growth of the for-profit prison industry, mass incarceration, criminalization of youth, and the death penalty.

In 2021, the Phoebus Criminal Justice Initiative supported a wide range of organizations. Check out the list of last year’s grantees and review the characteristics of a Bread & Roses grantee on our website to see if your organization is right for the Phoebus Criminal Justice Initiative. The deadline to apply is Wednesday, December 1, 2021. To be considered for funding, proposals must be complete and submitted on time. Eligible organizations will be invited for an interview with the grantmaking committee in March 2022 and grants will be announced in April 2022.

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. 


Bread & Roses Community Fund