Grant Making Process

Overview of SPF’s Grantmaking Programs

Throughout SPF’s history the foundation has awarded over eight million dollars to grassroots community organizing groups addressing educational, immigrant rights, voter engagement, and social justice issues in the rural South. SPF provides general operating support, technical assistance, travel and discretionary grants as well as occasional special initiative awards, to organizations in twelve States: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia. An overview of SPF’s three major grants programs is below.

To be considered for support through any of Southern Partners Fund grant programs, organizations must be rural community groups in the Southeastern United States, self-governed by members of the targeted rural population, and organizing on issues of social, economic and environmental justice that enables community members to become decision-makers.

Regular Grant Cycle

Through the Regular Grants Cycle, SPF typically awards on average $357,000 in grants annually through a Request for Proposals (RFP) process to organizations in the rural south to support social, economic, and environmental justice. Although SPF supports program-specific requests, the majority of its grants are awarded as general operating support. Beginning in 2013 SPF’s regular grant cycle will award 60% of its grants to rural grassroots organizing organizations in the following issue areas: Education Reform, Immigrant Rights, and Voter Engagement. The remaining 40% will continue to support social, economic, and environmental justice issues.

Discretionary Fund

SPF's discretionary program awards grants annually for technical assistance, travel assistance and special projects. Grants typically support organizational capacity-building, staff and board leadership skills, hosting conferences, and travel to conferences and workshops. Travel assistance supports organizations efforts to build knowledge and grow relationships between isolated groups actively engaged in similar issues.

Applications for this program are accepted monthly with a deadline of the 28th for each month. The review process is typically one month and organizations will be notified within one week of determination.

Justice Fund for Disaster Relief and Renewal

The Justice Fund was originally created in September of 2005 in direct response to Hurricane Katrina. The fund, as it exists today, provides short term relief, mid-term assistance, and long term support to those communities affected by natural or manmade disasters. The fund supports our grantee partners and allied social change organizing groups to ensure that the resources are directed to the people who needed them the most.

In addition to relief effort, the Justice Fund is available to support local, statewide and regional gatherings of southern organizers to discuss relief activities, movement building with those affected, and strategies leading to change in public policy. Limited funds are available to support the work of gathering, documenting and disseminating the stories of people in the region affected by a disaster.

Special Initiative Grants

Periodically, SPF will have the opportunity to offer special initiative grants that are restrictive in nature and are available only as funds exist. These grants will typically be available by invitation only and will require that specific programmatic and/or capacity building outcomes be achieved.

Examples of SPF’s special initiative grants are:

  • The Latino Organizing Fund:
    The Fund’s primary priorities are grassroots organizing, leadership development and civic participation within Latino-led organizations in the rural south.
  • The Social Justice Institute Capacity Building Fund:
    The intent of this program is to give our partners the opportunity to apply for funds, which will help strengthen the core operations of their organization. If selected, the organization is require to participate in the SJI leadership training program