SF Foundation: Rapid Response Fund for Movement Building


The Bay Area and the nation are at a crossroads. Despite historic levels of prosperity, there is rising income and wealth inequality, and increasing poverty. In order to advance racial and economic equity, The San Francisco Foundation believes that those who are most impacted should be at the forefront of efforts to change these disparities. They should have the resources they need to lead campaigns and to take action to improve conditions in their communities. Now, more than ever, movement leaders need to quickly respond to pressing challenges that disproportionately impact low-income people and communities of color.


In November of 2016, the foundation launched the Rapid Response Fund for Movement Building with the goal of quickly providing resources to frontline social justice organizations. In the first 18 months since its launch, the Rapid Response Fund has supported 70 grassroots organizations with more than $800,000. Read our 2018 Rapid Response Fund progress report.



  • The fund will provide small, one-time grants in the range of $3,000–$15,000 for a grant period of up to six months. If approved, the grant will be processed within 30 days after receipt of application.
  • Priority will be given to requests from small organizations and new grassroots efforts. This includes faith-based groups and small, fiscally sponsored projects working to advance racial and economic equity.


Grant applications should meet the following criteria to be eligible for funding:

  • Timely and Urgentthe specific event, opportunity or challenge that your organization is responding to must be unanticipated and require urgent action.
  • Focus on Racial and Economic Equitythe proposal must be in response to an unexpected moment or opportunity for advocacy or mobilization to advance racial and economic equity at a neighborhood, city, county, or regional level.
  • Opportunity for Intervention: the proposal must have the potential to immediately affect racial and economic equity.
  • Community Leadershipthe proposal must demonstrate strong leadership by those who are most impacted by racial and economic inequities (e.g. communities of color, immigrants, refugees, formerly incarcerated residents, youth, low-wage workers, people with disabilities, low-income residents, or LGBTQ community members).


  • Geography: funding requests must serve residents in one or more of the following five Bay Area counties: Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco and San Mateo.
  • Tax exempt status: Organizations must have an IRS 501(c)(3) tax exempt status or be a fiscally sponsored project of another nonprofit entity. 501(c)(4) organizations will be considered, but must submit additional lobbying documentation. The foundation cannot make grants to individuals.


The fund could support projects such as:

  • The creation of safe spaces for community building, healing, and strategic planning in the wake of a highly polarizing political and social climate.
  • “Know Your Rights” sessions in immigrant communities facing the threat of deportation.
  • Convenings for grassroots organizers to help respond to racial discrimination.
  • Non-violence trainings for community residents in response to violence.
  • Travel funds to attend an action that addresses a pressing equity issue. Please note that funds will be made available to organizations, not individuals.
  • Urgent communications or legal response to address a crisis.

The Rapid Response Fund for Movement Building will not fund the following:

  • Funding gaps due to internal nonprofit operations emergencies, such as office vandalism, resignation of an executive director, or the sudden loss of funding.
  • Nonprofit general operating or ongoing program support.
  • Capital improvements.
  • Budget shortfalls or fundraising events.
  • Previously planned or long-term campaigns.