Established in 2017, Groundswell Action Fund is already one of the nation’s leading funds centering women and gender-expansive persons of color-led electoral organizing.
Those most excluded from democracy should be at the center of transforming it.
The need for flexible and long-term funding electoral organizing is great, and Groundswell Action Fund’s (GAF) giving is growing.
So thoroughly have Black women, women, and gender-expansive people of color been shut out from flexible electoral resources that when GAF launched in 2017 with a $1million gift from an individual donor-investor, we instantly became the largest fund in the country centering Black women and women of color-led electoral organizing.
Our modest grants easily became among the largest received by some of the premier women of color–led electoral organizing efforts in the country. And, in the coming years, we plan to increase our efforts.
We direct the flow of our resources in alignment with three intertwining strategies to create a unique approach to philanthropy.
For many grantees, we are the only or primary source of this kind of steady support, which is essential to maintaining the operations style to withstand the pressures of the moment and make good on quick, targeted electoral investments.
- We also provided seed funding to the only four 501(c)(4) RJ organizations that existed in the US in 2017 and increased that number to nine in 2020.
- GAF has generally maintained grant amounts to long-standing grantees. This includes planning grants for emerging 501(c)(4) organizations.
- In 2021, GAF moved $2,580,000 to 48 organizations, up from $1,700,000 to 26 organizations in 2019, a comparable year for grantmaking.
In 2020, Groundswell Action Fund hired new staff to help implement our Blueprint plans.
- GAF responded to a difficult, contentious year with speed set in trust. In 2020, GAF distributed an additional $1.5 million in unanticipated income, which we used to ensure all GAF grantees received renewal funding and additional capacity-building support.
- In 2021, GAF dedicated $400,000 in capacity-building support to grantees by connecting them with data, legal and compliance coaching, communications training, digital security training, ballot issue campaign strategy, and (c)(4) startup infrastructure.
- All capacity-building offerings are optional and not mandatory for grantee partners. There are no one-size-fits-all.
We continue to educate investors and donors about the importance of 501(c)(4) funding.
- Electoral accountability matters at all levels. GAF has played an active role at convenings throughout any given year, and this directly impacts the strategic lobbying and legislative engagement on critical issues like redistricting and poll access to universal childcare and reproductive healthcare access.
- We remain vigilant and outspoken. GAF has amplified our voices through collaborative and high-profile digital campaigns. These ongoing actions ensure greater visibility for GAF and its grantees.