Is there such a thing as a grassroots silo?

We think so. And we want to foster work that breaks down those silos and helps organizations work together to build a national movement. For example, a domestic workers alliance could collaborate with other groups that organize workers excluded from labor law protections, such as farm workers, day laborers and sex workers.

We see these sorts of alliances built around an event, or a campaign, but it is so much more powerful when these collaborations are long lasting. That’s what builds a movement. And sadly, the right wing is out organizing us.

A report from the Stanford University Center for Social Innovation cited collaboration as one of the key ways successful nonprofits succeed. And what example did they give? The conservative Heritage Foundation. “High-impact organizations help their peers succeed, building networks of nonprofit allies and devoting remarkable time and energy to advancing their fields. They freely share wealth, expertise, talent, and power with other nonprofits not because they are saints, but because it’s in their self-interest to do so,” the report said.

The Heritage Foundation has done this by creating a national network of organizations that shares its donor list, trains policy analysts, cultivates talent, and works in coalition to promote conservative policy and pass legislation.

“Rather than seeing other conservative organizations as competitors, Heritage has helped build a much larger conservative movement over the last two decades, serving as a critical connector in this growing network of like-minded peers.”

The new grant-making cycle has begun at Funding Exchange, and we’re looking for progressive organizations who want to build a movement by working across issues and across constituencies. Groups can apply for Social Justice Collaborative Grants of up to $20,000. The process begins with a simple Letter of Inquiry.

The deadline to apply is September 1. Take a look at our guidelines, if you think you qualify, we’d love to hear from you.