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Our organizational grantmaking funds traditional nonprofits, grassroots and movement organizations, funder collaboratives, cooperatives, and community groups with fiscal sponsors working in the areas of racial justice, LGBTQ justice, and combating antisemitism. Grantees engage in systems change, community healing, and the redistribution of money, resources, and power. Their work includes advocacy, healing justice, direct service provision, community organizing, youth programming, popular education, 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 staff regularly scan Asheville and the surrounding region to identify organizations that may be aligned with Tzedek’s mission, grantmaking checklist, and organizational values and practices. 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.
If Tzedek develops special grantmaking programs which include an open application process, we will share all information on our website, announce this via email, and post information on our social media pages. (You can sign up for email updates here.)
Who do I contact if I think my work is aligned with Tzedek’s grantmaking, and what can I expect?
Organizations based within a 35 mile radius of Asheville are invited to reach out via email to our Director of Organizational Grantmaking and Philanthropic Partnerships (firstname.lastname@example.org) to share about their work. If an organization is aligned, the organization is added to Tzedek’s database of potential grantees. As funds for organizational grantmaking become available, our grantmaking team reviews potential grantees based on alignment and priorities and reaches out to begin the proposal process.
What does the proposal process look like?
Tzedek’s Director of Organizational Grantmaking and Philanthropic Partnerships reaches out to potential grantee organizations as part of a pre-grant inquiry to learn more about their work and determine that legal and IRS obligations can be met through the relationship. This inquiry also enables Tzedek to learn about an organization’s capacity to receive a grant.
If Tzedek staff determine that legal and IRS obligations can be met and confirm alignment as indicated by the Tzedek Grantmaking Alignment Checklist, Tzedek staff collaborate with grantees to produce a proposal. The collaborative process reduces the paperwork and time burden for grantees significantly. These two steps in the grantmaking relationship (pre-grant inquiry and proposal) generally take grantees about 90 minutes (unless major components or documentation are incomplete or missing).
To create a proposal, Tzedek staff take notes based on conversations with grantees and use these notes to craft a grant proposal. Grantees are invited to read, edit, and add to the grant proposal.
Unlike many grant applications, this is not a competitive process but rather designed to capture essential information, document the relationship, and finalize the funding agreement between Tzedek and grantees.
Being in ongoing conversations and documenting our meetings with grantees is part of how we meet the requirements established by our parent foundation, the Morton and Barbara Mandel Family Foundation, who disburses funds to our grantee organizations and must follow IRS reporting guidelines.
How does Tzedek decide what organizations get funded?
The grantmaking team determines alignment using the Tzedek Grantmaking Alignment Checklist.
Our grantmaking team reviews existing grantees annually to determine that organizations’ work remains aligned with our mission, strategic plan, and grantmaking checklist. When deciding to fund new organizations, the grantmaking team prioritizes potential grantees that work in underfunded areas of our mission and who focus on pressing community issues in our local community of Asheville, North Carolina.
Who makes grantmaking decisions?
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’s grantmaking team, composed of our Executive Director, our Director of Organizational Grantmaking and Philanthropic Partnerships, and our Director of Community-Led Grantmaking.
What reporting is required? How does Tzedek hold grantees accountable?
Tzedek’s grantmaking team reviews existing grantees annually to determine that organizations’ work remains aligned with our mission, strategic plan, and grantmaking checklist. Tzedek staff schedule a yearly check-in meeting with grantees. Based on what is best for grantees, meetings happen via phone, video call, or over a meal. 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.
As with the proposal, there is an option of collaborating with Tzedek staff to produce a collaborative report. Generally, the meeting and co-creating the proposal takes about 2 hours of grantees’ time. Grantees whose funding is not renewed provide a grant-end report through this same collaborative process.
Tzedek is required by the IRS to due diligence, oversight and monitoring for grants to 501(c)3 organizations. Such responsibility includes:
- 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 the grantee tracks grant funds and a budget
Are there any restrictions on or expectations for Tzedek grantee organizations?
Tzedek’s grantmaking is guided by practices of social justice philanthropy. We typically award multi-year, general operating grants, unless we have been asked to support a particular program, initiative, or fiscally-sponsored project. We work to keep any paperwork as simple and painless as possible. We aim to keep communication channels open so that we can address any concerns or questions that a grantee might have with our grantmaking process, and so grantees can share and be thought partners in trouble-shooting relevant issues with us.
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 combating antisemitism?
We believe that a vibrant and effective social justice movement must wrestle with the ongoing and dangerous threat that antisemitism poses, particularly 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 antisemitism, 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 antisemitism 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 have worked towards social justice. Find more information about Tzedek’s grants for individuals here.
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 from other funding sources.
We redistribute non-financial resources, too. In recognition that our office and the land it is on does not belong to us, we share our office space free of charge with community organizations and events aligned with our vision. We share access to a community Zoom account which supports local organizations to host small to large-scale online gatherings. When Tzedek staff are able, we work with grantees towards capacity building by identifying funding sources, supporting grant writing, and non-profit organizational development.
Finally, we tell the stories of our grantees through producing social media, video, and feature content in an effort to spread the word about their work to the broader community and other philanthropic organizations.
Which organizations do you currently fund?
Asheville and Western North Carolina
- A Therapist Like Me
- Asheville-Buncombe Community Land Trust
- Asheville Jewish Community Center
- BeLoved Asheville
- Campaign for Southern Equality
- Center for Community Self-Help, Asheville
- Center for Participatory Change
- Compañeros Inmigrantes de las Montañas en Acción (CIMA) via Colaborativa La Milpa
- CoThinkk via Eagle Market Streets Development Corporation
- Eagle Market Streets Development Corporation
- Hood Huggers International via Asheville Creative Arts
- JMPRO TV via WNC Workers’ Center
- My Daddy Taught Me That, a program of KL Training Solutions
- My Sistah Taught Me That, a program of KL Training Solutions
- PODER Emma Community Ownership via Colaborativa La Milpa
- Raices Emma Erwin via Colaborativa La Milpa
- Our VOICE
- Positive Changes Youth Ministries
- Racial Justice Coalition via Eagle Market Streets Development Corporation
- SistasCaring4Sistas, a program of MAHEC
- Tierra Fértil Coop via Bountiful Cities
- Word on the Street, a program of Asheville Writers in the Schools & Community
- YMI Cultural Center and its Black Homeownership & Wealth Building Program
- Youth Outright
- Youth Transformed for Life (YTL)
- YWCA of Asheville
North Carolina, Southeastern U.S.
- Carolina Jews for Justice
- Equality North Carolina
- Equality Federation Institute: Southern Equality Work
- Funders for LGBTQ Issues: Out in the South Initiative
- LGBTQ Racial Justice Fund at the Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice
- Southerners On New Ground
- Southern Poverty Law Center
- Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice’s U.S. Fund
- Black and Pink: LGBTQ HIV/Criminal Justice Working Group
- Bend the Arc: A Jewish Partnership for Justice
- Jewish Social Justice Roundtable via Bend the Arc
- National LGBTQ Task Force
- Movement Advancement Project
- National Black Justice Coalition
- Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund