NOW IS THE TIME
for
COURAGEOUS  VISION
and
 BOLD ACTION
Bay Area Grassroots Giving Guide 2016

The non-profits most commonly funded are those that have media and publicity budgets to shout their message from the rooftops. Many small, scrappy organizations in the Bay Area have less visibility, yet are doing transformational work to help black, brown, female, queer, trans, and low-income people survive and thrive.

 

We created the Grassroots Giving Guide to elevate the work of the under-funded organizations who are boldly building the power of communities in the Bay Area and the Central Valley.

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 local organizations.

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San Francisco          East Bay           East Palo Alto          Central Valley           Cross-Regional

SF

EB

PA

CV

X

SF

X

X

X

X

SF

SF

EB

EB

EB

X

SF

EB

X

EB

EB

EB

EB

EB

X

EB

EB

EB

EB

PA

PA

PA

EB

EB

EB

EB

EB

X

X

X

X

EB

EB

EB

PA

PA

X

X

SF

SF

X

X

EB

EB

EB

EB

SF

X

X

CV

CV

CV

CV

CV

CV

CV

CV

*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.  

How This Guide Was Created

In the wake of the election, you have probably seen many lists come cross 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.

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 Bay Area. Over the last 4 months, we have had dozens and dozens of conversations with Bay Area movement leaders and service providers to help refine our strategy and broaden our understanding of the local ecosystem of local grassroots organizations.

 

Through these conversations, we have identified over 100 Bay Area nonprofits or unincorporated collectives. 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.

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.

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. 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. Choose a few, give to them, follow their updates over the next year, and then revisit. Through giving, you 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 near you. 

  • 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 Bay Area bubble? If you want to support grassroots organizing in rural California 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.  

Questions? Check out our FAQs section
 
LGBTQ+

Advocating for the rights, lives, health, and power of lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer, trans, and other people with non-normative genders and sexual identities.

Mass Incarceration

Working with currently and formerly incarcerated people to create “a system that nourishes people rather than eats people”, in the words of Nicole Deans, a staff member at Planting Justice.

Building political power with and for women in the Bay Area, particularly low-income women and women of color.

Women
Green Economy & Climate

Working to create liveable alternatives to our extractive economy, building leadership within the climate movement, and mobilizing communities to stand up against the fossil fuel industry. 

Youth

Amplifying the voices, ideas, and talents of Bay Area youth. As Joshua Fisher Lee at AYPAL says, “Youth are not the leaders of tomorrow, they are the leaders of today.”

Black Lives Matter

Creating spaces, campaigns, and leadership for and within black communities fighting violence and systemic racism in the Bay Area.

Arts & Culture

Wielding the power of art to challenge narratives, reimagine futures, and celebrate otherwise marginalized perspectives in the Bay Area.

Health & Food Justice

Ensuring Bay Area residents have access to fresh and affordable food, and medical attention, when they need and want them.

Building Political Power

Working towards self-determination of the black and brown communities most impacted by systemic injustice in the Bay Area.

Rural Organizing

Creating unity and organizing power across rural communities in the Central Valley, San Joaquin Valley, and East Salinas. 

 
Share this guide!

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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