News from the GrassRoots Fund: The Guiding Practices focus on bottom-up organizing, centering the voices of those most impacted, and shared community leadership.

The New England Grassroots Environment Fund‘s mission is to energize and nurture long-term civic engagement in local initiatives that create and maintain healthy, just, safe, and environmentally sustainable communities by moving resources to community-based organizers and shifting power in decision-making to those most impacted by the work.

Our monthly newsletter serves as a way to keep you informed of the work of the Grassroots Fund,  our partner’s work across the region, and other interesting and informative stories, insights, and more.
This Month’s Letter
Spreading Seeds – Helpings others find grassroots funding
Explaining the Grassroots Fund Guiding Practices, Pt. 2
Grassroots in the News
Grassroots Fund Updates
Spreading Seeds – Helpings others find grassroots funding
We know how important it is for grassroots groups to be able to take risks, start new projects, or change work plans in response to community needs. And we know how difficult it can be to find funding that doesn’t require a 501c3 and a ton of paperwork and reporting. That’s why we created the Seed Grant – to ensure the innovative work needed to build a just and equitable future can be done by breaking down barriers and making funding accessible to everyone working at the intersection of Environmental Justice.
However, the Seed Grant is only helpful as long as groups know to apply for it. We’re here to build better communities together and the more folks who are doing the hard, grassroots work that are able to access funding, the better. 
As someone with connections to your community, can we count on your help to spread the word about the Grassroots Fund Seed Grant? 
Grey graphic with a blue and red cricle with text overlayed that reads "Seeking fund for a new community project? The Seed grant program is geared towards groups launching new project or starting to significantly change the direction of an existing project. No 501c3 required. Applications accepted on a rolling basis. Quick turn around on funding decisions. Up to one year to use awarded funds. Apply for Seed Today!
Now, more than ever, it’s important that we all stand together, lift each other up, and ensure that the good work taking place in communities throughout New England by those who are most directly impacted by climate chaos is able to continue.
To the right is a graphic for you to share with your networks and on social media about the Seed Grant. You can also find the graphic to download here. Please direct people to or tell people to reach out to Tess Beem, at You can also forward this email along! And don’t forget to tag us on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter and we’ll share your post.
Click here to learn more about Seed Grants
Community Commons
Shared Learning

Explaining the Grassroots Fund Guiding Practices, Pt. 2
By Sarah Huang, Director of Learning

In last month’s newsletter, we talked about our Guiding Practices, which are built on values within the Environmental Justice movement that focus on bottom-up organizing, centering the voices of those most impacted, and shared community leadership. At the Grassroots Fund, we’ve named them: Rooted Innovation, Shifting Power in Decision Making, Equity in Participation, Access to Resources, and Centering a Just Transition. 
If you’ve participated as a Community Grant Reader or as a grant applicant, we ask you to deeply engage with the Guiding Practices. Applicants are asked to talk about how their projects are rooted within their communities, how they are shifting power in decision making and ensuring that all voices are heard. We also ask questions about how they are addressing barriers to participation and what steps are necessary to lead to a Just Transition. Then we ask our readers to apply their understanding of the Guiding Practices to what they are seeing within the applications – are readers able to identify the specific practices that indicate a group is shifting power or centering equity?
We ask these questions on our application and also structure reader reviews around the Guiding Practices because we believe that these practices must be in place in order for organizers to make systemic changes in their communities. Without grounding work in the community or without ensuring that the voices of those most impacted by your project are in decision making power, will the changes made really stick? 
To follow up on last month, where we covered Rooted Innovation and Shifting Power, this month, we’re talking about Equity in Participation and Access to Resources. 

Equity in Participation

Equity in Participation focuses on understanding the barriers to participating and creating opportunities to collectively respond to those barriers. There are many types of barriers to participating that include tangible and intangible practices. An example of a tangible barrier, might be not having access to transportation to a meeting. An intangible barrier to participation might be a culture of unawareness or attention to equity and care. Some questions to help you think about this practice include: 
How do group members voice their concerns about participation? Is this an explicit process that all members are aware of and are able to engage with?
Do you understand the complexity of your community’s identity? How do intersectional identities influence how members show up to each meeting?
How do you assess barriers to participation? Who was included in those assessments? When was the last time you asked these questions?
Access to Resources

Access to Resources focuses on the barriers to obtaining funding for grassroots organizations – especially those who are considered ad hoc groups without a formal tax status through the Internal Revenue Service – and how grant opportunities can fill that gap and uplift important community work. Much of these barriers are a result of the toxic ways in which philanthropic organizations restrict who receives funding and how they should receive funding. It also acknowledges the diversity of resources that organizations seek, such as in-kind donations or community knowledge. Some questions that might help you think about how your work, our work at the Grassroots Fund, and philanthropy at large fits into the larger systemic barriers that philanthropic organizations uphold:
What types of barriers to funding exist for your organization? 
Why do these barriers exist? And who upholds these barriers?
What other resources, aside from financial resources, should be valued?
These questions are meant to guide you to think about how you’re centering equity and accessing resources and what additional opportunities you or your organization might have to learn and grow. We’d love to hear what you think about these two guiding practices. What other reflective questions come up for you?
Click here to learn more about the Guiding Practices

Grassroots in the News
Providence wants to clear homeless encampment by Nov. 1
By NBC 10 News
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WJAR) — The people in a homeless encampment in Providence’s West End have been told by the city to leave by the end of the month to make way for redevelopment.
But half the property was plowed over Tuesday.
Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza’s office has pledged more than $500,000 of its share of federal COVID-19 Recovery Relief money to tackle the citywide problem, but efforts often get bogged down in “red tape” bureaucracy, said Alexandrea Gonzalez of the “Gather Together United as 1” nonprofit.
“It boils down to systematic and state and structural failures,” said Gonzalez. Her group is looking for your help to get the half dozen still on the site into temporary housing until more permanent is found.
Read the full story featuring Grassroots Fund grantee GTUA1

Grassroots Fund
Celebrates 25 Years

Throughout the next year we will be sharing stories, insights, and more gleaned from 25 years of work.
Support the next 25 years and donate today