FUND
CHANGE
FROM THE
BOTTOM UP
Blue Heart Grassroots Giving Guide 2019
Photo by Melany Rochester on Unsplash
This year, how you give matters more than ever.

During the giving season, the most commonly funded non-profits are those that have publicity budgets to shout their message from the rooftops.

 

But there are many small, scrappy organizations around the country that have less visibility, yet are doing transformational work to help black, brown, female, queer, trans, and low-income people survive and thrive.

 

Blue Heart created the Grassroots Giving Guide to elevate the work of the under-funded organizations who are boldly building the power of marginalized communities across the United States.

The arc towards justice is long, and the movements that advance justice gain potency with the support of financially and socially privileged allies. As you consider where to give this year, we invite you to support these visionary organizations who are creating change from the bottom up.

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Most people donate to organizations that are personally recommended to them. Invite your friends and family to #GiveBoldly this season. Together we can amplify the work of these grassroots changemakers.
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How This Guide Was Created

At the end of each year, you probably get lots of emails your inbox with organizations to fund or actions to take. We wanted to create a giving guide that was simple, accessible, and elevates the work of organizations that often fly under the radar of traditional philanthropy and mainstream media.

Through our work at Blue Heart, we identify and partner with grassroots, community-led organizations who are building the political power of low-income communities and communities of color in the United States.

 

But, there are far more incredible organizations than we at Blue Heart can fund in any one year. Thus, we create an annual giving guide to help these visionary movement-builders the recognition they deserve. Many are formally incorporated 501c3 non-profits; some are not. We support both. What matters to us is the quality of a group's work, not their legal status.

 

Each organization is recommended to us through our network of partners and advisers. We researched each one further and developed this set of recommended organizations based on 1) the trust and respect grassroots organizers and organization staff have for their work and 2) how relatively under-resourced they are. The Blue Heart team is rooted in the San Francisco Bay Area and most of our member are in the Bay, so you will notice an over-representation of Bay Area organizations.

This list is not comprehensive, but we believe it is a starting point for donors interested in funding the organizations doing powerful work resisting systemic injustice and building community alternatives to destructive economic and political systems.

Read more about our selection process

Funding social change isn't 'silver bullet philanthropy'. Rather, it requires investing in diverse strategies and a long-term vision. Trusted leaders have personally vouched for the creativity, passion, and efficacy of each of these organizations. By donating to them, you will be able to do the same.

If you know of or work with an organization that you think should considered, please tell us about them

How to Use This Guide

We know that deciding what organizations to give to can be overwhelming. Overall guidance: Don't let the good be the enemy of the perfect! You don't need to feel guilty about giving LGBTQ+ organization but not to a racial justice organization. These divisions are pretty arbitrary anyway, as all this work is interconnected. We selected this set of organizations to make it easier for you to give to organizations doing critical work in the Bay Area and beyond. Choose a few, give to them, follow their updates over the next year, and then revisit. Through giving, you will develop relationships and evolve your own personal giving ethic.

Before you dive in, here are a few questions to ask yourself:

  • Do you want to support organizations working near where you live? Use the icons next to the organizations to identify the organizations working in your region (CA, Midwest, South, East, Puerto Rico). 

  • Do you want to focus your giving on a specific issue? Below you will find 10 different issue-specific portfolios.

 

  • Do you want to get your money out of the urban bubble? Rural non-profits are dramatically less-resourced than urban ones. If you want to support grassroots organizing in rural communities, check out our "Rural Organizing" portfolio.

Decision biases to be aware of:

  • The "design bias": When evaluating organizations to give to, donors (especially urban millennial donors) tend to preference organizations that have a slick, well-designed website. In our experience, an organization's web presence is not reflective of its efficacy on the ground - just that it's prioritizing other things or doesn't have the resources to maintain an online presence. Some rural organizations don't even have websites because their constituents don't often use computers. We encourage you to be aware of this bias when you are comparing organizations in this guide.  

More questions? Check out our FAQs section

California                 Pacific North West             South                   Midwest                   East                     Puerto Rico 

CA

 P

 S

 M

 E

PR

LGBTQ+
Mass Incarceration

CA

CA

CA

CA

 S

 S

 S

CA

SF

CA

CA

CA

CA

CA

Women
Climate Action &
Environmental Justice

CA

CA

CA

CA

 E

CA

CA

CA

CA

 E

 S

 S

PR

 P

 P

EB

X

Youth Leadership
Black Liberation

 S

CA

CA

CA

CA

 M

CA

CA

CA

CA

 S

 S

Arts & Culture
Health & Food Justice

 S

CA

CA

CA

CA

CA

PR

CA

CA

CA

CA

CA

 S

CA

CA

 P

Economic & Housing Justice
Rural Organizing

CA

CA

CA

 M

 M

 S

 S

 S

CA

 M

CA

CA

CA

CA

 S

 S

 S

Indigenous Self-determination
Immigrants & Refugees

CA

CA

CA

 M

 M

 M

 S

CA

 P

 P

 P

CA

CA

 E

 M

CA

 E

CA

CA

*Some of these small organizations do not have a budget or expertise for a slick website. If you are interested in funding some of these smaller community groups, please contact us to set up a donation.  

CA

 M

 
 
Want to support grassroots power-building all year long?
Join Blue Heart!

Join a community of over 100 member-donors who are supporting grassroots change. Each month, we send you a profile of the organization you are funding, stories from their work, and actions you can take to support them.  We have channeled over $150,000 to under-the-radar changemakers, artists, and visionaries.

 

Join us for 2020.