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For more information about joining as a funding partner,

please contact Shona Chakravartty at

…O, let America be America again—

The land that never has been yet—

And yet must be—the land where every man is free.

The land that’s mine—the poor man’s, Indian’s, Negro’s, ME—

Who made America,

Whose sweat and blood, whose faith and pain,

Whose hand at the foundry, whose plow in the rain,

Must bring back our mighty dream again.


--Excerpts from Let America Be America Again, Langston Hughes (1936)

A collaboration between five national foundations (General Service Foundation, Hill-Snowdon Foundation, Jessie Smith Noyes Foundation, Whitman Institute, and UU Veatch Program) and other funders, the Defending the Dream Fund supports a groundswell in grassroots engagement to defend and promote deep and inclusive democracy in the US.  In the past two years, the Fund has granted approximately $1.5 million to over 50 organizations around the US.  In 2019, the Defending the Dream Fund made it's third year of grants, totaling about $500,000.  



The Fund will renew its focus for it's fifth round of grants on supporting grassroots-led organizing efforts by communities most targeted and vulnerable to increased attacks from the current Administration and harmful forces at the local and state level. We believe it is important in these times to focus on the larger goal of building a more just, equitable and free society. To do this, we provide resources to fortify community power to develop and build a society where all people belong and thrive.

The 2020 Defending the Dream Fund grants will consist of renewal grants to the groups previously funded in 2019.


In 2019 we began supporting shifts from reaction and defense to proactive and offense — this year we intend to build on this and further strengthen effective strategies to build community voice and power. The Fund will support grassroots power building, with a focus on Civic Engagement. In addition to C3 ONLY GOTV work, we define civic engagement broadly to include work to define a political agenda and to hold elected officials accountable at all levels of government. This can include traditional activities like non-partisan voter registration, education and mobilization, education on ballot measures, protecting voter rights and access to polls, as well as both integrated voter engagement (IVE), deep canvassing and relational organizing that helps build longer term power and strengthens social justice movements.


We will also support the development of power building infrastructure (e.g. coalitions, networks, alliances, etc.), that intersect with civic engagement, such as efforts that focus on bringing together diverse and underrepresented constituencies/voters to effect systemic change across a range of issues.  Finally, we continue to have an interest in supporting vulnerable, targeted and under-resourced communities and issues such as Native communities, immigrants and refugees, youth-led efforts, protecting and promoting reproductive justice, etc… 

  • Priority will be given to grassroots, community-based organizations with budgets under $1 million; as well as work that is focused on under-resourced regions of the country (e.g. the South, Midwest, etc.). 

  • Grants will range from $10,000-25,000 and will be awarded at the end of 2019 for a one or two year period.   

  • Please note that we are only able to support organizations with a 501c3 organizations or a 501c3 fiscal sponsor.


For more information about the Defending the Dream Fund or to inquire about joining the Defending the Dream Fund, please contact Shona Chakravartty at

Please visit JustFund and register to learn more. Find out more about the organizations who who have received support through the Defending the Dream Fund, or browse through the uploaded proposals to discover new organizations and connect with other funders.

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