Foundation Funding of Grassroots Organizations, by Robert O. Bothwell







*Academic Advisory Committee for the study project:

Louis Delgado, Instructor, Loyola U., Chicago.

Prof. Craig Jenkins, Ohio State U., Columbus, OH.**

Prof. Susan Ostrander, Tufts U., Boston.

Prof. David Horton Smith, formerly Boston College, Bradenton, FL.

Prof. Jon Van Til, Rutgers U., Camden, NJ.

Community Consultants Advisory Panel:

Dan Delaney, Second Harvest, Chicago.

Pablo Eisenberg, former executive director, Center for Community Change, Washington, DC.

Joan Flanagan, well-known author of books on grassroots fund-raising, Chicago.

Art Himmelman, nonprofit consultant, Minneapolis-St. Paul.

Steve Holmer, Campaign Coordinator, American Lands, Washington, DC.

Eleanor LeCain, consultant on strategic planning and organizational development, Boston.

Valentin Mitev, consultant, Kosovo civil society; Founding Director, Civil Society Development Foundation, Sofia, Bulgaria.**

Larry Parachini, nonprofit consultant, Silver Spring, MD.

Cynthia Smith, Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Washington, DC.


* Provided methodological advice and critical comments on draft report.

**Did not provide grassroots contact information, but provided data and/or advice/comments.



Community Organization and Leadership Training: 17 organizations.

Educational programs: 16 organizations.

Newsletter (2)
On specific health issues (2)
For child welfare workers (both public and private agencies)
Computer classes
Job club
Role playing regarding jobs
Teaching people to buy homes (2)
Home maintenance
Parenting training
Teaching families about college prep
Bachelors in Arts degree
Immigrant rights workshops
Training attorneys on immigrant rights
Training immigrants to make naturalization applications
Training ground for area law school students in immigration and domestic violence
Making/displaying silhouettes of victims of family violence
With police department
Monthly seminars (CPR, flower arranging, plastic surgery)
Campus involved with universities, after school education and cultural programs
English proficiency classes
Child support training programs for social workers, government employees and low income single moms

Public Policy Advocacy: 15 organizations.

Lobbying for administrative and legislative changes
Public education for administrative and legislative changes

Public Education through the Media, Other Public Communications: 14 organizations.

Other Community Services: 13 organizations.

Human services: job training and counseling (2)
Career closet (clothes for those seeking new jobs)
Business incubator
Develop large shopping center
Housing rehab
Home ownership opportunities
Develop low income and affordable housing
Develop and manage rental housing
Social services
Emergency food bank
Day care centers (2)
Recruitment of foster parents
Foster care, adoption, counseling
Three support groups for self-esteem, tough love for parents, drug and alcoholic children
Referrals to medical and social services, including medical evaluation and some treatment
Referrals by health team network, and obtaining access to services
Health care clinics
Transportation to medical appointments
Collect donations for women in need
Women's leadership
Student community research
Youth program cultural development
Providing general cultural sensitivity for Native American families
Recreational-educational services

Research and Policy Development: 9 organizations.

Legal Services and Litigation: 5 organizations.

Other: 3 organizations.

Economic development
Developing collaborations between the faith community and community development organizations
Housing and small business development



% Income from Foundations Name of Grassroots Organization and Interviewee State Local, State, Nat'l % Income from Government Number of Members Number of Volunteers per Month Primary Constituencies
0% Growth Restraint Environmental Organization,

Dan Lobeck, President

FL L 0% 255 0 Environmentalists
0% Faith Access to Community Economic Development, Yvonne Lewis, Prog. Admin. MI L 99% 12 30-35 Low income, women, children, African-Americans
0% Coalition to Stop Family Violence, Bernie Shaffer, Chair FL L 0% 9 on Board

+ 7-8 orgs.

0 Women
0% Native Amer. Foster Parents Association, Lawrence DeBenito, Associate Director IL L 98% 9 5-10 Native Americans
3% Manatee Women's Resource Center, Mona Upp, Exec. Dir. FL L 20% 516 2 Low income, women, children, families
5% Center for New Horizons, Sokoni Karanja, Pres. & CEO IL L 90% 22 100+ Low income public housing residents, African-Americans
8% Concerned Citizens of North Camden, Tom Knoche, Volunteer Staff Supervisor NJ L 0% 7 5-200 Low income and other neighborhood residents, African-Americans, Latinos
10% Community Health Academy, Ben Fraticelli, Exec. Dir. CA L 67% 18 0 Low income and other neighborhood residents, African-Americans, Latinos, Asian/ Pacific Americans, women
23% Fairview Historical Society, Terry Armbruster, Director NJ L 77% 209 15 Low income, children, elderly
26% South Bend Heritage Foundation, Jeff Gibney, Executive Director IN L 18% 25 10 Low income, African- Americans, women
30% Native American Educational Service, Faith Smith, President IL N 19% 10 5-10 Native Americans
31% Northwest Neighborhood Federation, Gabriel Gonzalez, Exec. Dir. IL L 27% 16 on Board + 7 orgs. 50 Moderate income Latinos and whites
36% Mid-Bronx Desperadoes,

Ralph Porter, President

NY L 2% ? 13 10-15 Low income Latinos and African-Americans
45% Association for Children for Enforcement of Support-ACES, Gerri Jensen, President OH N 0% 45,021 0 Low income, African- Americans, Latinos, women, children
49% Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, Joe Fagan,

Staff Director

IA S 15% 1310 0 Low income, small farmers, rural townspeople, African-Americans
50% Pilsen Resurrection Project, Raul Raymundo, Exec. Dir. IL L 30% 36 on Board + 14 orgs. 140 Working class Latinos, especially Mexican-Americans
51% Tahirih Justice Center,

Justin Greene Roesel, Treasurer

DC L 0% 12 20-30 Foreign born, Middle Eastern, African-Americans, Asian/ Pacific Americans, women
57% California Wilderness Coalition Paul Spitler, Exec. Dir. CA S 0% 1524 50 Environmentalists
59% Save Our Cumberland Mountains, Maureen O'Connell TN S 0% 3019 0 Appalachian white rural, low income and working class, some middle class, African-Americans, Latinos
67% Sacramento Valley Organizing Community, Larry Ferlazzo, Lead Organizer CA L 0% 19 on Board

+ 40 orgs.

0 Catholics, African- Americans, Latinos
77% Capital Area Immigrants Rights, Coalition (CAIR), Deborah Sanders, Exec. Director DC L 0% 9 100 Low income, Latinos, African-Americans, Asian/ Pacific Americans, women, children
77% AYUDA, Yvonne Martinez Vega, Executive Director DC L 5% 16 25-30 Low income, Latinos, foreign born
80% Michigan Organizing Project, John Musick, Lead Organizer MI S 0% 7 on Board

+ 35 orgs.

3 Church members, low wage workers, low income, African-Americans, Latinos, children
80% Southwest Organizing Project, Jeanne Gauna, Co-Director NM S 0% 205 50 Communities of color, esp. Latinos, immigrants
92% San Francisco Organizing Project, Denise Collazo, Dir. CA L 0% 50 on Board

+ 40 congregations

0 Church members, low and moderate income, African- Americans, Latinos
95% American Lands Alliance,

Jim Jontz, Executive Director



N 0% 214 3300 Environmentalists, grassroots groups and activists
40% AVERAGES   L 22% 2027(3) 155  
41% MEDIANS   L 1% 34 11

 3. The average # of members would be only 307 if the one organization with 45,021 members is excluded.




Top Foundation Funders of Indigenous Social Movement Groups, Based on 1990 Data,(4)



Grants $Millions

Assets $Millions

#Grants/ Year of Data
Ford F.

Marsha Smith, Dep.Dir., Governance Section & Alan Jenkins, Prog.Officer




Carnegie Corp. of New York 

Geri Mannion, Chair, Democracy Program and Special Projects

68.2 1543


Joyce F.

Rosanna Ander, Program Officer


835 316/97
W. Alton Jones F.

Charley Moore, Program Dir.


371 389/97
Joyce Mertz-Gilmore F.

Bob Crane, President


103 330/97
Unitarian Universalist Veatch Program at Shelter Rock

Margie Fine, Exec.Dir.



Catholic Campaign for Human Development

Doug Lawson, Program Director


38 225/96
Robert Sterling Clark F.

Peggy Ayers, Exec. Dir.


113 126/97
Needmor Fund

Chuck Shuford, Exec. Dir.


23 234/96
Wieboldt F.

Regina McGraw, Exec. Dir.


26 80/97
Haymarket People's Fund

Patricia Maher, Exec. Dir.


5 na/96
Jewish Fund for Justice

Marlene Provisor, Exec. Dir.


0.8 72/97
Fund for Southern Communities.

Jack Beckford, Program Officer


1 112/96
Albert Kunstadter Family F.

Geraldine S. Kunstadter, Chair of the Board

.250 3



Infrequent Funders of Indigenous Social Movement Groups, Based on 1990 Data,(5)

Foundation/Interviewee Grants




#Grants/ Year of Data
Cummins Engine F.

Tracy Souza, Exec. Dir.

Hyams F.

Beth Smith, Exec. Dir.

Town Creek F.

Christine Shelton, Exec. Dir.

Glickenhaus F.

Maddy Wehle, Administrator

.995 2 246/96
Boehm F.

Judy Austermiller, Exec. Dir.

.965 2 80/97
Harder F.

Del Langhauer, President

.850 22 68/97
Wisconsin Community Fund

Steve Starkey, Exec. Dir.

.090 0.1 35/97



Asset Category % All Foundations (6) % Fdns This Study # Fdns This Study
$50million and over 1.8% 35% 7
$10m--Under $50m 5.5% 25% 3
$1m-- Under $10m 27 % 30% 6
Under $1million 66% 10% 2
Totals 100% 100% 20
Not Available     1



Grants Category % All Foundations (7) % Fdns This Study # Fdns This Study
$25million plus 0.2 % 19 % 4
$10--25million 0.4 % 5 % 1
$1--10million 4.2 % 33 % 7
$100,000--$1million 21.4 % 38 % 8
Under $100,000 73.9 % 5 % 1
Totals 100 % 100% 21

4. From J. Craig Jenkins' study, "Grassrooting the System? The Development and Impact of Social Movement Philanthropy," the top 20 foundations who funded indigenous social movements in 1990 were contacted; 14 listed here agreed to interviews, 6 additional foundations either failed to respond to repeated telephone calls, or explicitly declined to be interviewed.

5. From Jenkins' same study, the 20 foundations in 1990 who funded indigenous social movement groups the least -- but at least made one grant -- were identified and contacted; the seven listed here agreed to interviews, the other 13 either failed to respond to repeated phone calls or to letters; explicitly declined to be interviewed; were too small; or had no phone or otherwise were unreachable.

6. Data calculated from Renz and Lawrence (p.17 Table 13).

7. Ibid. (p.17 Table 14).



January 2000 (Aspen Research\Q.grassroots.wpd) Revised


Questionnaire for Structured Telephone Interviews of Grassroots Org. Leaders

Start interview: Time________Date________

A. Organizational Data:

1. Name/address/telephone of organization?:

1a. Name/title of interviewee?

2. What is the mission of the organization?

3. What are the major activities of the organization?

a. Legal services/litigation

b. Research/policy development

c. Public policy advocacy (incl. lobbying & public educ. for admin. & legislative chgs)

d. Public education through media, other public communications (no lobbying)

e. Educational programs

f. Other community services______________________________________

g. Community organization and leadership training

h. Other______________________________________________________

3i. Please identify the approximate % of the budget devoted to each major activity.

4. What are the major public issues on which your organization focuses its energies?

a. Racial/ethnic minorities

b. Urban/rural economic development/renewal

c. Women's rights, opportunities and services

d. Children's advocacy, especially low income children

e. Gay/lesbian rights and opportunities

f. Peace and world order

g. Consumer rights

h. Environmental

i. Other?_________________________________________________

5. What are your organization's primary constituencies?

a. Low income 

b. Aftrican Amer. 

c. Latino 

d. Asian/Pacific Amer..

e. Native Amer. 

f. Gay/lesbian 

g. Women 

h. Children

i. Disabled 

j. Environment 

k. Consumers 

l. Other (what?)

6. What is your organization's primary geographical scope?

a. Local 

b. State 

c. Regional 

d. National 

e. Internat'l

7. Last year's total expenditures?

8. Last year's income?

8a. How much was from foundations?

8b. If foundation $ received, from how many different foundations?

b1. Which ones?

b2. Range of foundation grants?

b3. % for core support vs. program or project support?

b4. Has this % for core support been increasing or decreasing?

b5. Is this an appropriate % of foundation grants for core support?

b6. If not, why not?

8c. If zero foundation $, have you ever received grants from foundations?

c1. When was the last year?

c2. From which foundation(s)?

c3. How much total that year?

8d. What were the other sources of income last year?

1. Local government (including federal govt pass-through)

2. State government " " " "

3. Federal government direct funding

4. Workplace fund-raising from United Way allocation

5. " " " " " " donor choice/option

6 " " " " alternative fund allocation

7 " " " " " " donor choice

8. Individual donors

9. Memberships

10. Fees for services, sales of publications, etc.

11. Fund raising events

l2. Corporate foundations and other giving programs

8dd. How much from each source?

9. Unincorporated? 501c3? 501c4? Or what other IRS classification?

9a. Is the organization legally linked to another organization or not?

9b. If so, to what organization?

9c. Is that organization 501c3? 501c4? Or what other IRS classification?

10. Does your organization have members?

10a. How does one become a member?

10b. How many current members?

10c. How many pay dues?

10d. How much is dues?

10e. What is expected of a member?

11. Do non-member volunteers work for the organization?

11a. How many current volunteers (in a month)?

11b. What have they done for the organization?

12. Number of staff (full-time equivalents)?

12a. Racial/ethnic, gender, age and education composition?

13. Board of Directors: How many?

13a. Racial/ethnic, gender, age, profession and geographic composition?

14. What is the age of the organization?

B. Questions About Foundation Support:.

1. Does your organization receive an adequate level of support from foundations?

2. Why don't you get more money from foundations?

2a. What is the most important reason?

2b. The next most important reason?

2c. The third most important reason?

3. What could foundations do differently to expand money to grassroots organizations?

3a. What is the most important thing they could do?

3b. The next most important thing?

3c. The third most important thing?

4. What could you and your organization do differently to obtain more foundation money?

4a. What is the most important thing?

4b. The next most important thing?

4c. The third most important thing?

5. Do you have good communications and interaction with the foundations which fund you?

5a. If yes, explain.

5b. What kind of communications and interaction do you think would be optimal?

6. Deleted.

7. To how many foundations did you submit proposals for funding last year?

7a. How many foundations funded you?

7b. Which ones?

7c. Why do you think you received this funding?

7d. Did you know of other foundations that might have funded you if you had submitted proposals?

7e. Which ones?

7f. Why did you not submit the proposals?

7g. Were you turned down by any foundations?

7h. Which ones?

7i. Why?

8. Describe your organization's best relationship with a foundation.

8a. Which foundation?

9. Describe your organization's worst or most disappointing relationship with a foundation.

9a. Which foundation?

10. Have foundations made any conditions on your grants which you think inappropriate?

10a. If so, what are they?

10b. What foundations made these conditions?

11. What level of responsibility should foundations shoulder to expand their funding of grassroots organizations, and what should you? Choose from one of the below:

11a. All foundation responsibility, none mine.

11b. 75% foundation responsibility, 25% mine.

11c. 50% each.

11d. 25% foundation responsibility, 75% mine.

11e. Zero foundation responsibility, 100% mine.

12. What kind of increase in foundation grant money would make a major positive impact on your organization?

12a. What would that impact be?

12b. What would be the impact if foundation money was cut in half?

End interview_________


January 2000 (Aspen Research\Q.foundations) Revision


Questionnaire for Structured Telephone Interviews of Foundation Leaders

Start interview: Time_________Date_______

A. Organizational Data:

1. Name/address/telephone of foundation?

1a. Name/title of interviewee?

2. 501c3 private foundation? 501c3 public foundation? Or what other IRS designation?

3. What is the age of the foundation?

B. Questions About Foundation Support of Grassroots Organizations:

1. Do you think your foundation provides adequate support to grassroots organizations?

1a. Do you make grants based to grassroots orgs because you have specific guidelines?

2. Why don't grassroots organizations get more money from foundations?

2a. What is the most important reason?

2b. Are there any other important reasons?

3. What could you and your foundation do differently to expand money to grassroots organizations?

3a. What is the most important thing you/your foundation could do?

3b. What else could you and your foundation do to expand money to grassroots groups?

4. What could grassroots organizations do differently to obtain more foundation money?

4a. What is the most important thing?

4b. What else could grassroots organizations do to obtain more foundation money?

5. Do you have good communications and interaction with the grassroots organizations you fund?

5a. If yes, explain.

5b. Do you have good communications with grassroots organizations you do NOT fund?

5c. If yes, explain.

5d. What kinds of communications and interaction do you think would be optimal?

6. Why did you fund your current grassroots grantees and not the others who submitted proposals to your foundation?

7. Do you know of other foundations which fund grassroots organizations?

7a. Which ones?

7b.. What foundations do you think do the best job of funding grassroots organizations?

7c. Why?

8. Describe your best relationship with a grassroots organization.

8a. Which one?

9. Describe your worst or most disappointing relationship with a grassroots organization.

9a. Which one?

10. What kinds of grassroots organizations do you mostly fund?

a. With professional staff?

b. With volunteer staff?

c. With mixed professional and volunteer staff?

d. With no staff, but just volunteer board of directors?

11. What responsibility should grassroots organizations shoulder to expand their funding by foundations, and what responsibility should you and your foundation assume? Choose below:

11a. All grassroots organizations responsibility, none mine.

11b. 75% grassroots organizations responsibility, 25% mine.

11c. 50% each.

11d. 25% grassroots organizations responsibility, 75% mine.

11e. Zero grassroots organizations responsibility, 100% mine.

12. To make a major positive impact on the grassroots organizations you know best, how much would you increase their foundation grant money?

12a. What impact would this increase make?

12b. If foundation money were cut in half for these organizations, what impact would this have?

13. WILL YOU PLEASE SEND ME YOUR LATEST ANNUAL REPORT AND GRANT GUIDELINES? 1st class mail, please. Thank you! My address is......

End interview_________


1. Donors

2. Foundation Type

3. Assets

4. Total Expenditures

5. Qualifying Distributions

6. Grant $

7. # Grants

8. Mission/Purpose and Activities

9. Fields of Interest/Major Programs

10. # Staff

11. # on Board of Directors/Trustees

12. Age of foundation

13. Sources of above data