Grant Making Process

Overview of SPF’s Grantmaking Programs

Throughout SPF’s history, the foundation has awarded over eight million dollars to grassroots community organizing groups addressing educational, immigrant rights, voter engagement, and social justice issues in the rural South. SPF provides general operating support, technical assistance, travel, and discretionary grants as well as occasional special initiative awards, to organizations in twelve States: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia. An overview of SPF’s three major grants programs is below.

To be considered for support through any of Southern Partners Fund grant programs, organizations must be rural community groups in the Southeastern United States, self-governed by members of the targeted rural population, and organizing on issues of social, economic and environmental justice that enables community members to become decision-makers.

Regular Grant Cycle

Through the Regular Grants Cycle, SPF will be awarding $400,000 through a Request for Proposals (RFP) process to organizations in the rural south to support social, economic, and environmental justice.

Although SPF supports program-specific requests, the majority of its grants are awarded as general operating support. Beginning in 2013 SPF’s regular grant cycle awarded 60% of its grants to rural grassroots organizing organizations in the following issue areas: Education Reform, Immigrant Rights, and Voter Engagement. The remaining 40% will continue to support social, economic, and environmental justice issues.

For the 2019 Regular Grant Cycle, under our Southern Organizing Strategy, Members and Board of Directors of the Southern Partners Fund have made a bold foresighted decision to focus the 60% of funds toward an integrated Census Organizing Strategy. This strategy enhances and intrinsically connects to our three primary areas: voting rights, immigrant rights, and education reform.

In 2020, the Southern Organizing Strategy funds will focus toward on an integrated strategy around Redistricting Organizing that builds on the work to increase the count in hard to count communities.

Applications can be submitted in the following ways:

  • Online: Submit your application by Thursday, May 9, 2019, BEFORE 5:00 P.M. EDT using our online process. Please select the link below to fill out and complete your online application:
    Upon completing your online application you will immediately receive a confirmation of your submission. Please retain a copy of this receipt for your records. If you do not receive an email confirmation please contact our office immediately.
  • Fax: Fax to SPF Office, fax# 404-541-9097. All applications must be postmarked and received in the office by Thursday, May 9, 2019, BEFORE 5:00 P.M. EDT.
  • Mail: Mail your application by regular postal mail to:
    Southern Partners Fund
    1 Baltimore Pl., N.W., Ste. 150
    Atlanta, GA 30308
    All applications must be postmarked and received in the office by Thursday, May 9, 2019, BEFORE 5:00 P.M. EDT.
  • Email: Email your application to [email protected]. All applications must be received in by Thursday, May 9, 2019, BEFORE 5:00 P.M EDT.

Discretionary Fund

SPF's discretionary program awards grants annually for technical assistance, travel assistance and special projects. Grants typically support organizational capacity-building, staff and board leadership skills, hosting conferences, and travel to conferences and workshops. Travel assistance supports organizations efforts to build knowledge and grow relationships between isolated groups actively engaged in similar issues.

Applications for this program are accepted monthly with a deadline of the 28th for each month. The review process is typically one month and organizations will be notified within one week of determination.

Justice Fund for Disaster Relief and Renewal

The Justice Fund was originally created in September of 2005 in direct response to Hurricane Katrina. The fund, as it exists today, provides short term relief, mid-term assistance, and long term support to those communities affected by natural or manmade disasters. The fund supports our grantee partners and allied social change organizing groups to ensure that the resources are directed to the people who needed them the most.

In addition to relief effort, the Justice Fund is available to support local, statewide and regional gatherings of southern organizers to discuss relief activities, movement building with those affected, and strategies leading to change in public policy. Limited funds are available to support the work of gathering, documenting and disseminating the stories of people in the region affected by a disaster.

Special Initiative Grants

Periodically, SPF will have the opportunity to offer special initiative grants that are restrictive in nature and are available only as funds exist. These grants will typically be available by invitation only and will require that specific programmatic and/or capacity building outcomes be achieved.

Examples of SPF’s special initiative grants are:

  • The Social Justice Institute Capacity Building Fund:
    The intent of this program is to give our partners the opportunity to apply for funds, which will help strengthen the core operations of their organization. If selected, the organization is required to participate in the SJI leadership training program
  • Georgia Organizing Fund:
    This special initiative supported organizations to build power, connect communities and understand the power of their vote! Southern Partners Fund (SPF) and the members of the Georgia Organizing Committee created and dedicated a rapid response fund to support organizations in doing this critical work. While support was given to organizations working in urban areas of the state, special consideration was given to organizations working to increase the number of engaged citizens in rural counties of Georgia. Particular consideration was also given to those organizations working to connect the rural and urban centers of Georgia.
  • The Family Engagement and Early Childhood Education:
    The project identified more than 1,000 families and touched the lives of over 3,000 people in Alabama, North Carolina, and Georgia. The vast majority of the families were from rural, low wealth, poorly educated (according to test scored, classroom graded, detention and expulsion rates), and disenfranchised communities of color.
  • Racial Equity and Economic Justice:
    The core objective of this initiative was to provide opportunities for groups to test new ideas, strengthen current efforts, and help build a knowledge base on what works to align racial equity and economic, security goals in the South and across the United States. SPF embarked on a partnership with the Philanthropic Initiative for Racial Equity (PRE) to support work that incorporates one or more of the core principles that PRE identified in its research with funders and activists for advancing racial equity for economic security.
  • The Latino Organizing Fund:
    The Fund’s primary priorities are grassroots organizing, leadership development and civic participation within Latino-led organizations in the rural south.