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Finding Progressive Funders

How do you find grantmakers that support small progressive groups? With the most recent data showing that only 12 percent of grant funds support social justice (, it's a good question.
To start, using the GPA GrantStation database member benefit, I searched for some relevant areas of interest and targeted populations, and came up with the following funders:

Abelard Foundation East (civil/human rights east of the Mississippi)
Andrus Family Fund (youth impacted by the foster care/juvenile justice systems)
Jacob and Hilda Blaustein Foundation (human rights/progressive Jewish life)
Brett Family Foundation (democracy/inclusiveness/equal rights, Colorado)
Center for Arab American Philanthropy
The Elias Foundation (community leadership networks)
The Fledgling Fund (documentary films)
Ittleson Foundation (AIDS/mental health/environment)
Left Tilt Fund (community-based organizing/education/legal advocacy)
The Max and Anna Levinson Foundation (environment/democracy/civil and human rights/ immigration/drug policy/media/leadership development/Jewish issues)
McCune Foundation(community organizing in Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties, California)
A.J. Muste Memorial Institute (nonviolent action)
Open Meadows Foundation (women/girls)

PFund (Philanthrofund Foundation) (LGBT, Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin)

Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation (criminal justice/women/immigrants/democracy/environment/
LGBT, North Carolina)
Roth Family Foundation (environment/food security/global programs/reproductive health/economic development/girls' education, Los Angeles)
Unitarian Universalist Veatch Program at Shelter Rock (democracy/civil rights/economic equity)
Wolcott Family Foundation (social change/environmental stewardship, Colorado)
WOMEN'S WAY (women/girls, Philadelphia)
The Lenny Zakim Fund (Eastern Massachusetts)
Several additional resources include:
Members of the Funding Exchange (, which promote “Change, Not Charity”
Philanthropy's Promise (underserved communities/advocacy/community organizing/civic engagement)
National Organizers Alliance
OutRight Action International (formerly the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission)
These have some focus on Michigan: (Community Development) (People with Disabilities) (Environment) (LGBT) (Minorities (sic)) (Religion/Social Change) (Women) (Women in International Development)
One way to find larger progressive funders is by checking the membership lists of affinity groups ( groups) of the Council on Foundations. The affinity groups are not grantmakers themselves but their members are.
Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy
Confluence Philanthropy (mission-related investing)
Environmental Grantmakers Association and
Funders' Committee for Civic Participation
Funders Concerned About AIDS


Funders for LGBTQ Issues
Funders' Network for Smart Growth and Livable Communities
Funders Network on Population, Reproductive Health, and Rights
Funders Together to End Homelessness
Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees (no membership list)
Grantmakers Income Security Task Force
Grassroots Grantmakers
Hispanics in Philanthropy
International Funders for Indigenous People (no membership list)
International Human Rights Funders Group
Media Impact Funders
Native Americans in Philanthropy (no membership list)
Neighborhood Funders Group
Peace and Security Funders Group
Philanthropy for Active Civic Engagement
Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems Funders
Women's Funding Network
This list is certainly not all-inclusive but it offers a starting point. The revolution will be funded!
This article was adapted, revised, and updated from a longer one that appeared in the January/February 2015 Grassroots Fundraising Journal. Sheryl A. Kaplan is a national Grants Consultant based in Los Angeles. She can be reached at or