Civic Participation: Community Action Grants

Community Catalyst Fund - Civic Participation: Movement- and Power-building Community Grants

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View the August 2021 Civic Participation grantees here.

We believe that a healthy democracy is dependent upon all community members participating in the public policy process and exercising influence over the decisions that affect their lives. Yet here in Silicon Valley, there is a significant power imbalance. Communities of color do not have an equal role in deciding our region’s future. Studies have identified that communities of color face significant hurdles to building power. These hurdles are clear when analyzing representation among public offices, voter turnout and influence with elected officials.

SVCF's Movement- and Power-Building Fund supports nonprofits in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties that organize people, build coalitions and advocate for public policy changes. This fund supports smaller grassroots, Black, Indigenous, people of color-led organizations that have been engaging communities for years without sufficient resources and recognition. The fund also supports newer organizations that focus on shaping ideas and achieving equitable policies. Together, with other SVCF-led initiatives such as the California Black Freedom Fund and the LatinXCEL Fund, SVCF's Movement- and Power-Building Fund will empower a new generation of power-building leaders to reshape our region and country.

Background

SVCF’s strategic plan focuses on building a Silicon Valley where all can live financially secure, safe and fulfilling lives. To meet our four pillar goals , SVCF has shifted our grantmaking policies to provide more general operating support and capacity-building grants to organizations led by people of color and allied organizations that amplify the voices of and build power among historically underrepresented communities.

In December 2020, SVCF opened an RFP to support grassroots civic engagement, prioritizing smaller, BIPOC-led and allied organizations. All of the 22 grants issued through that RFP went to organizations with a clear focus on racial justice. Most the grantees are led by individuals who are Black, Indigeneous or people of color, and many of the organizations are first-time grantees of SVCF.

Our Community Catalyst Fund has also awarded funding to organizations working in issues areas such as Arts & Culture, Faith, Immigration, Neighborhoods, and Media & Journalism.

Our objective with these new grantmaking programs is to provide more flexible resources to a broader range of organizations. Together, these cross-sector organizations can share ideas and work together to bring their respective communities into the movement toward racial justice in Silicon Valley.

Similarly, over the past two years, HSF has invested in large anchor organizations in the City of San Jose that use community organizing to build the power of residents to change systems and policies that affect their lives and opportunities. HSF is widening its investments by partnering with SVCF to include smaller organizations and select organizations with a county-wide focus in Santa Clara County.

Grantmaking Process for Competitive Grants

Community Catalyst Fund - Civic Participation

The Civic Participation: Movement- and Power-Building Community Grants under the Community Catalyst Fund will provide funding to organizations led by people of color and allied organizations responding to the needs of communities of color and communities where the majority of families work in low-wage jobs. These investments, part of our long-term strategy to achieve systemic change in Silicon Valley, will build power in these communities.

Organizations seeking to apply should have a clear focus on racial justice and a plan in place to center the community they seek to serve in the design, implementation and leadership of the programs. Priority will be given to organizations with annual budgets under $1 million and led by people of color and allied organizations.

SVCF will prioritize support to organizations that commit to partnerships with others and make use of relational organizing strategies, while centering trusted community messengers in their work.

We are especially interested in supporting activities that continue to strengthen civic engagement, increase representation and effect more equitable distribution of power. Grants can be used to organize people, build coalitions and advocate for public policy changes. Other possible strategies could include policy advocacy, holding elected officials accountable, voter engagement and other tactics which are central to power-building.

Eligibility

  • Organizations must serve San Mateo and/or Santa Clara counties. Organizations headquartered outside the two-county region may apply but should demonstrate significant service to these areas or partner with a local organization that does.
  • Organizations must have a 501(c)(3) designation, a 501(c)(4) designation, or have a fiscal sponsor with a 501(c)(3) designation.
  • Organizations must not discriminate based on race, color, national origin, citizenship status, creed, religion, religious affiliation, age, gender, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, veteran status or any other protected status.
  • Organizations with religious affiliations will be considered for funding only if the project for which they seek support addresses the needs of the wider community without regard to religious beliefs.

The application period is now closed. Learn more about the grantees here.

Contribute

Your support will help us expand the reach of the Movement- and Power-Building grantmaking fund. Your gift will help SVCF invest in local nonprofit organizations that seek to reach more people, build broader coalitions and ensure a greater voice for communities of color.

Give through your SVCF advised fund

Donate to support power-building via PayPal

If you would like to send a check, please write "Movement- and Power-Building Fund, 6099" in the memo line and mail to:

Silicon Valley Community Foundation - Gift
Movement- and Power-Building Fund
PO Box 889235
Los Angeles, CA 90088-9235

If you're utilizing overnight delivery by courier, please mail to:

Lockbox Services - #0399235
Silicon Valley Community Foundation – Gift
Movement- and Power-Building Fund
3440 Flair Dr.
El Monte, CA 91731

If you would like to make a contribution in some other manner or from an advised fund held at another institution, please view the Gift Transfer Instructions here or contact us at donate@siliconvalleycf.org

Learn More

SVCF’s Senior Program Officer for Movement- and Power-Building outlined the vision for the strategy here.

View stories of impact, featuring grantees from SVCF’s Movement- and Power-Building Fund:

To learn more about SVCF’s Movement and Power-building Fund, please contact:

Jack Mahoney
Senior Program Officer, Movement- and Power-Building
JMahoney@siliconvalleycf.org

Leticia Gonzalez
Program Manager, Movement- and Power-Building
LGonzalez@siliconvalleycf.org