Photo Credit: Jews United for Justice
WHAT IS OUR GRANTMAKING PROCESS LIKE?
We have two grant cycles per year in the spring and fall, ending in May and November respectively. HSF has a small staff and thus does not accept unsolicited proposals or letters of inquiry. However, we actively seek out information from new groups whose work intersects with our interests. We encourage organizations to thoroughly review our website to see if they meet our grantmaking criteria. If your organization is involved in community organizing, and you believe there is a strong fit, then give us a call so that we can talk further about your work. It is always better if you come on the referral of one of our grassroots or funder partners. We make every effort to return all calls promptly, but please be patient if we do not return your call immediately.
Almost all of HSF’s grants are for general support and generally range from $25,000 to $35,000. Most of our grants are made in one-year increments; however, we are committed to a long-term funding strategy. Recently, we adopted an eight (8) year time limit with our major grants in order to mesh the need for long-term general support for organizing work with the desire to be responsive to emerging needs and build partnerships with new groups over time.
I WOULD STILL LIKE TO SHARE INFORMATION ABOUT MY ORGANIZATION, HOW DO I DO THAT?
At this time we do not accept unsolicited LOI’s, but we encourage organizations to thoroughly review our website to see if they meet our grantmaking criteria. HSF has a particular focus on supporting community organizing in the US South, with an emphasis on multi-generational organizing and a community organizing approach to systems, institutional or policy level change. The foundation primarily funds grassroots organizations in the United States that are working in the areas of youth and economic justice organizing domestically. Click here for a more detailed description of our program areas.
If you think that your organization might be a good fit, please contact us through our Inquiry Form, and a staff member will follow up as soon as we are able to do so. Please note, as we are a small staff, there may be a period of time between you reaching out to us and getting a response, but know that we will do our best to follow up in a timely manner.
I AM A CURRENT GRASSROOTS PARTNER AND AM LOOKING TO SUBMIT MY PROPOSAL, WHERE CAN I DO THAT?
Organizations will need to use our online grant application to apply for Spring/Fall cycle grants, Opportunity Fund grants, and Capacity Building Fund grants.
Starting in 2019, all proposals will need to be submitted via the Blackbaud Grantmaking System. Applications for the Spring/Fall Grant Cycle, as well as applications to the Hill-Snowdon Opportunity OR Capacity Building Fund must be submitted via our online grant application. To access the application, please use the individualized link provided in the email you would have received with the applicable RFP.
Blackbaud Grantmaking will ask you to set up a user name and password. If you have one already that you use with another funder, you may use the same login for HSF applications. If you do not have one, go to the original RFP, and you will see a link on the sign in screen to set up a new account.
Please keep track of your user name and password. HSF can reset your password, but we cannot resend your password to you. If any of the contacts with your organization have changed, please let us know so that we can transfer access to your organization’s account to any new people. Questions regarding the online grant application can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org or to Christine Harris or Erin Morris via phone at (202) 833-8600.
DO YOU HAVE AN EXAMPLE/COPY OF A CURRENT RFP?
Yes, we do! You can view and download our 2020 RFPs & Reports below.
I HEARD HILL-SNOWDON OFFERS A STREAMLINED APPLICATION, WHAT DOES THAT LOOK LIKE?
Our Streamlined Application came out of a need to create a streamlined process for our Defending the Dream Fund. We knew we had to move quickly. We thought we already had a pretty streamlined approach - HSF requests a yearly narrative and proposal required for yearly grant renewals. But when TWI joined the group of funders involved in the Fund, they shared that they don't do a proposal or LOI – and we all really grappled with that idea. So the initial application we developed was a survey with three brief questions. When it came time for us to do follow-up interviews with finalists, we decided we would do something super short — 15-20 minute phone calls — since they are relatively small grants at about $10k each.
Then we realized, if we can streamline a rapid response grant, why can’t we do it for a regular grant? We reached out to the Whitman Institute specifically because we appreciated a lot about their process and wanted to figure out how to move differently with our own. We’ve learned a number of things and have made a number of changes to our overall RFP process. Now, groups who have been with us three years or longer no longer have to do a proposal; they can submit a recent proposal from another funder. As far as reporting, we ask them to write in bullets: three accomplishments from the past year, and three goals for the coming year. Maybe we’ll get to a place where we don’t ask for anything written, but for now this is working for us. We’ll assess with our grassroots partners to see what they think about it, asking them if it is actually helpful to them.
We also do small grants for our current partners that are up to $5k for capacity building or strategic opportunities. We used to require reports for those, but changed that to just require a brief "postcard" that they fill out with very basic information..
It’s important to remember that proposals and reporting shouldn’t be about due diligence; it’s around learning from grassroots partners, rather than them having to prove their worthiness. Literally all we need to know is "did they use the money for what they said they’d do?". We just need some sort of financial certification that the money was used that way.
Having a streamlined process benefits our grassroots partners (they have the money, time and the space for reflection). If they are not spending an inordinate amount of time writing proposals—they actually have more breathing room to focus on achieving their mission.