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GRANTMAKING:
RAPID RESPONSE

PERSPECTIVE STRATEGY

FUNDING URGENT NEEDS

OVERVIEW

Rapid Response funding is our most nimble way to fund time sensitive opportunities that might otherwise not have access to resources because they are too new, too small, or too urgent. Sometimes these are crises or uprisings; at other times, they are creative ideas. At other times people on the front lines of social change require funds to move quickly to critical convenings, actions or approaches that will push the work forward. Our rapid response processes meets this need.  

Through rapid response giving, Solidaire members stay vigilantly prepared to trust movement leaders in real time to tell us what they need, and give directly to frontline work in the heat of movement moments. 

Our rapid response process is unique in that requests come to the Solidaire community (members and staff) and are posted to a listserv to garner support. When a request comes from a movement group or leader, we ask that they answer the following short list of questions in order to gather the most relevant info to share with the Solidaire community:

  1. WHAT is the initiative or project, and what are its goals?
  2. HOW MUCH money do they need, and WHEN do they need it by? How much have they raised to date?
  3. WHY is the action important for us to fund – and why now? Make the case! What would this funding do that wouldn’t happen otherwise?
  4. WHO are the organizers?
    What is their history in this work? If this is a new entity, what is their vision for the work? Who are their movement allies? Do they have any past or present relationship to the Solidaire community? 
  5. CONTRIBUTION INFORMATION
  • ONLINE donation link
  • CHECK payment information and mailing address
  • TAX ID / EIN
    • Please indicate whether or not contributions are tax deductible facilitated by a 501c3/501c4 organization or fiscal sponsor.  
    • Please also let us know if you do not have a 501c3 or 501c4 designation.  
  1. GROUP CONTACT: Name, email, phone number, social media handles. 

Responses to these questions should be no more than 750-900 words.  

Rapid response requests are generally posted by Solidaire members to our listserv where other members can add their support to the ask. On average, each request stays posted to the list 1-5 weeks.  Each request falls generally between $1K – $50K, though there is not a strict limit. If it’s an initiative of an organization, the overall organizational budget should generally be under $1M, and is usually much smaller.

While there is much important and worthwhile work happening across many movement ecosystems, Solidaire’s rapid response process seeks to support efforts that meet the following criteria:

  • Truly urgent needs: needs that must be met within days or weeks of the request
  • Work led by the most directly impacted people working on the front lines of social change  
  • Efforts that are organizing Black and Brown people and their allies at a variety of intersections 
  • Grassroots efforts that build leadership capacity and community power

Solidaire is also a co-founder of the Emergent FundThe Emergent Fund was established immediately after the 2016 election to help move quick resources with no strings attached to communities that were and continue to be under attack by federal policies and priorities – immigrants, women, Muslim and Arab-American communities, Black people, Indigenous communities, LGBTQ communities, and all people of color. 

These communities need increased capacity so that they can respond, act nimbly, and develop new strategies in this new period. The Fund focuses on grassroots organizing and power building in communities of color who are facing injustice based on racial, ethnic, religious and other forms of discrimination. It provides resources to defend against the ongoing crisis, and to develop innovative strategies to transform our country.

The Emergent Fund is a partnership between Solidaire Network, Women Donors Network, Threshold Foundation, and the Democracy Alliance to provide a way for individuals at all levels to contribute their money strategically in this critical moment. The Fund is governed by an Advisory Council made up of leaders who represent communities who the Fund is designed to serve.

Learn more about the first year of Emergent Fund by reading its year one evaluation VISIONARY RESISTANCE: Inside the Rapid-Response Model of the Emergent Fund.

To find out more about the Emergent Fund and how to apply for grants please click the following link:  https://www.emergentfund.net/apply.

PAST FUNDED RAPID RESPONSE REQUESTS:

  • Non-violent direct action needing support before, during, after
  • High-impact creative cultural or media intervention
  • An important gathering or conference being organized on a shoestring budget
  • Travel scholarships for a crucial gathering or action
  • A ballot initiative, get out the vote effort, candidate fight or other C4 effort

To learn more about Solidaire’s take on the ethics and value of rapid response funding, check out the following article:  Trust First to Act in Solidarity.

To learn more about the rapid response process and to submit a request, please email: info@solidairenetwork.org.

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