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Our organizational grantmaking funds traditional nonprofits, grassroots movement organizations, funder collaboratives, and community groups with fiscal sponsors working in the areas of racial justice, LGBTQ justice, and combatting anti-Semitism. The work of grantees spans advocacy, healing justice, direct service provision, community organizing, legal and policy changework, and cultural work.
How can I apply for a grant? Do you accept unsolicited proposals or post RFPs?
Instead of having an open application process, Tzedek builds relationships with organizations based on alignment with our focal areas, mission, and values. Based on initial conversations, organizations are invited to collaborate with us on a proposal for funding. Soliciting proposals is one way that we try to honor the time and capacity of organizations, so that more effort can be spent building the world we dream of (rather than applying for funding). We do not post requests for proposals (RFPs) or accept unsolicited proposals.
As a part of our ongoing strategic planning, we are exploring how to build relationships with and extend funding to organizations that are not currently grantees.
What does the proposal process look like?
Grantee organizations meet with our Director of Philanthropic Partnerships to share information about their work, budget, and needs. Based on a series of conversations documented by Tzedek staff, a proposal is created collaboratively. Grantees have an opportunity to read, edit, add and share back grant proposals and reports. The goal of the collaborative proposal is to capture information and document the relationship rather than to advocate for funding per se. Being in ongoing conversations and documenting our meetings with grantees is part of how we meet the requirements established by the IRS for private foundations. Current multi-year grantees who are renewed for continued funding do not submit a new proposal.
How do you decide what organizations get funded?
Current grantees were reviewed along the following dimensions:
- engages in LGBTQ advocacy or outreach
- has a dedicated racial justice lens or engages in racial justice work
- is based in or impacts the community of Asheville, NC
- focuses regionally on the U.S. South or is based in the U.S. South
- centers people of color leadership
- identifies as a Jewish organization with a progressive, intersectional view or engages in combatting Anti-Semitism
- includes a youth focus or is youth or young adult led
Historically, grantmaking decisions were made by our Founder-Funder with input from our Director of Philanthropic Partnerships. Currently, organizational grantmaking decisions are made by Tzedek staff. As a part of our strategic planning process, we are committed to redesigning our local grantmaking processes in ways that are informed by community. Data from our community research project is currently being reviewed and synthesized and conversations with trusted advisors are ongoing. More information about our evolving grantmaking process and decision making criteria will be widely shared in 2020.
What reporting is required? How does Tzedek hold grantees accountable?
Tzedek staff schedule a yearly check-in meeting with grantees. Based on what is best for grantees, meetings happen via phone, video call, or in person. The goal is to see how the work is going, how plans have changed, share challenges, and celebrate successes. Tzedek staff document these meetings, and these notes function as our grantee reports, which are required for private foundations to assure legal compliance. Multi-year grantee recipients, whose funding is not renewed, provide a grant-end report. As with the proposal, there is an option of collaborating with Tzedek staff to produce a collaborative report.
Tzedek is required by the IRS to ensure “expenditure responsibility,” for grants to 501(c)3 organizations. Expenditure responsibility may include:
- Documenting a pre-grant inquiry (and receiving or collaborating on a proposal) to confirm capacity and alignment
- Collecting a written grant agreement
- Annual record keeping regarding grantee’s work
- Establishing that grantee tracks grant funds and budget
Are there any restrictions on or expectations for Tzedek grantee organizations?
Tzedek makes a concerted effort to employ best practices in social justice philanthropy. We award multi-year, general operating grants (unless we have been asked to support a particular program). We aim to make sure that any paperwork is as simple and painless as possible. We aim to keep communication channels open so that we can address any concerns that a grantee might have with our grantmaking process.
What is Tzedek’s financial relationship with the Mandel Foundation?
Tzedek receives the funds that we use for grantmaking and operations from the Morton and Barbara Mandel Family Foundation in Cleveland, Ohio. The funds are renewed annually. Tzedek does not manage the funds, does not have access to assets of the Mandel Foundation, nor can Tzedek control how investments are made.
Tzedek tracks its grantmaking budget with Mandel Foundation staff through regular reports and communications.
What is the history of Tzedek’s commitment to combatting anti-Semitism?
We believe that a vibrant and effective social justice movement must wrestle with the ongoing and dangerous threat that anti-Semitism poses, particular through the rise of white nationalism. As a subsidiary of the Mandel Foundation, our work is aligned with their strategy of ensuring the vibrancy and longevity of Jewish communities. One-third of our grantmaking budget is earmarked for efforts focused on combatting anti-Semitism, broadly defined.
We are a learning organization, and continue to deepen our analysis around each of our focal areas. Tzedek will share more soon about the importance of not neglecting the pressing challenge of wrestling with anti-Semistim within a context of multi-layered complexities.
Do organizations have to be a 501(c)3 to receive grants?
No. In addition to 501(c)3 organizations, we fund organizations who are fiscally sponsored alongside 501(c)3s. We also fund individuals in Asheville who work towards social justice.
Other than money, is Tzedek available to provide other types of support and resources?
When possible and applicable, Tzedek staff work to leverage funding for grantees. We also share opportunities for capacity building and tell the stories of our grantees through social media and our blog.
Which organizations do you currently fund?
Asheville and Western North Carolina
- Asheville Jewish Community Center
- Brown Boi Project: NC Chapter
- Center for Jewish Studies at the University of North Carolina Asheville
- Center for Participatory Change
- Compañeros Inmigrantes de las Montañas en Acción (CIMA)
- Eagle Market Streets Development Corporation
- Hood Huggers International
- JMPRO TV
- My Daddy Taught Me That
- My Sistah Taught Me That
- Nuestro Centro
- Our VOICE
- Positive Changes Youth Ministries
- Word on the Street
- Youth Outright
- Youth Transformed for Life (YTL)
- YWCA of Asheville
North Carolina, Southeastern U.S.
- Campaign for Southern Equality
- Carolina Jews for Justice
- Equality North Carolina
- Equality Federation Institute: Southern Equality Work
- Faith in Public Life: North Carolina Organizer
- Funders for LGBTQ Issues: Out in the South Initiative
- Freedom Center for Social Justice
- LGBTQ Racial Justice Fund
- SOJOURN–Southern Jewish Resource Network for Gender and Sexual Diversity
- Southerners On New Ground
- Southern Poverty Law Center
- Southern Vision Alliance
- We Dream In Black, a project of the National Domestic Workers Alliance
- Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice
- Black and Pink: LGBTQ HIV/Criminal Justice Working Group
- Bend the Arc: A Jewish Partnership for Justice
- National LGBTQ Task Force
- Movement Advancement Project
- National Black Justice Coalition
- National Council of Jewish Women
- Q Chat Space of CenterLink
- Trans Justice Funding Project
- Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund