Collaborative. Innovative. Bold.


Thank you for your interest in the grantmaking programs at Funding Exchange!

We are not currently accepting Letters of Inquiry and have no current grants deadlines. This page is for informational purposes only.

Funding Guidelines 2011-2014

The Funding Exchange (FEX) is a unique partnership of activists and donors dedicated to building a permanent institutional and financial base to support progressive social change through fundraising for local, national, and international grant-making programs. Because we support programs that foster long-term structural or political change, we tend to fund projects that other foundations may perceive as too controversial, too political, too experimental or too new.  Because community representatives are involved in decision making, we attract a particularly thoughtful and dedicated cadre of donor activists who appreciate the significance of redistributing power as well as money.

Curent Funding Programs

FEX is currently embarking on a new grant-making program that continues to support the the mission of our member foundations. In 2011-12, the FEX grant-making program will meet three strategic priorities:

Social Justice Collaboration Grants: Supporting cross-issue and cross-geography coalitions that create more impact than any one organization can do on its own.

Bold Frontiers Grants: Expanding our reach into areas that do not have a local FEX-affiliated fund nor a social justice grantmaker. We are particularly interested in hearing from organizations from Arizona, Texas, Ohio, south Florida and New Jersey.

Innovative Movement Building Grants: Promoting growth and movement building by linking local efforts to national movements. These grants will be made to organizations that are invited to apply by FEX member funds.

 Activist-Advised Grantmaking

The hallmark of FEX is the participation of community activists in the grant-making process who work within and understand their communities, and bring an invaluable depth of analysis to the decision-making process. For Social Justice Collaboration and Bold Frontier grants, FEX’s community-led grant panel will help inform FEX’s process of setting criteria for evaluating proposals and will advise the process of awarding grants to organizations applying for funds. For Innovative Movement Building grants, FEX member funds will nominate local grantee partners to apply for additional funds. Since these organizations have already been chosen by activist-led panels, they will not be reviewed again.

Guidelines and Priorities

FEX funds social justice community organizing. We define social justice as creating, transforming and sustaining processes which enable, empower and encourage members from every part of a community to become active in identifying and addressing injustice, be it within social systems, institutions or the broader community. As such, we prioritize programs and projects that originate in and are led by members of communities that are most directly impacted by injustice. We look for innovative and progressive work that seeks to educate and challenge existing power structures and promotes the leadership of those adversely affected.

We are not currently accepting Letters of Inquiry and have no current grants deadlines. This page is for informational purposes only.


There are four main criteria that all candidates should meet:

  • Working for Social Justice to eliminate all forms of oppression
  • Organizing as a Primary Strategy: The work of the organization, including advocacy and service provision, must be connected to an organizing strategy for change. For example, if an organization serves victims of domestic violence, it must demonstrate that the service and advocacy they provide are connected to a broader effort to change the institutional policies, laws or practices that enable domestic violence. We also fund organizations that provide resources for organizing.
  • Constituency Involvement and Leadership: The community impacted by the program or project must have key leadership in decision-making, defining and in carrying out the work.
  • Limited access to corporate or mainstream sources of funding.

Target Categories and Issues

Organizations must fall into a FEX targeted category:

  • Communities of Color. Organizations serving, representative of and led by people of color working on issues of human rights and economic justice.  People of color must make-up the majority of both the staff as well as the board.
  • Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex and Queer (LGBTIQ) Communities. Organizations that address the politics of race, class, gender and sexuality as integral to systems of oppression; is developed within and led by marginalized communities; and develops long-lasting coalitions.
  • Media Activism and Grassroots Organizing. We fund the pre-production and distribution of social issue film, video or radio projects, made by activist media organizations or independent media producers.
  • Social Justice Organizations.  Activists who work on:

• Economic or environmental justice
• Promoting the leadership of marginalized peoples within communities of color,  rural, poor/low-income people, women, youth, elders, people with disabilities, LGBTIQ communities.
• Coalition building and multi-issue work that minimizes divisions
• Criminal Jusitce
• Health and Safety
• Ability and Access


The Funding Exchange considers grants to organizations or programs that:

  • Are tax-exempt under the Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(3), or have established a relationship with a fiscal sponsor with IRS tax-exempt status under the Code Section 501(c)(3)
  • Conform to the IRS definition of charitable or educational activities, or, under very specific circumstances, fall under the Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(4) as lobbying organizations.

Grant Amounts

  • For Social Justice Collaboration grants, the maximum grant award is $20,000.
  • For Bold Frontiers grants, the maximum award is $5,000.
  • For Innovative Movement Building grants, the maximum award is $10,000.

Please Take Note

  • You can only apply to one FEX national grant program each year
  • FEX only accepts full grant applications from invited candidates who have submitted A Letter of Inquiry (LOI) Form and have been selected to complete a full application. We do not consider out-of-cycle requests.
  • All grantees must submit a completed fiscal/progress report form for any previous grants. Previous grantees of the Funding Exchange who do not complete and return any outstanding progress reports will not be considered for future funding.


There are no current deadlines at this time. Deadlines will be posted here in the future.

 The Letter of Inquiry (LOI)

If you answered YES to all of the grant eligibility questions, the next step in the grant-seeking process is to submit a Letter of Inquiry Form (LOI form). FEX is using the online tool Google Forms as a platform to receive LOI forms and grant applications. Through this site, you can save the data you are working on at any point and return to it as a later time. However, you will not be able to click “submit” until all the specified fields have been filled out. Only complete LOI forms with full responses will be eligible for review.

We are not currently accepting Letters of Inquiry and have no current grants deadlines. This page is for informational purposes only.

Questions? Email us or call 212-529-5300.