Activist-Led Grantmaking

Greengrants acts as a bridge between donors and local groups on the ground.

Less than 3% of U.S. giving supports international causes

Around the world, grassroots groups are not getting the funding they need. At the same time, many donors in the U.S. and elsewhere are eager to help. The problem lies in the barriers between grassroots activists and donors—how do you find the best environmental advocates in Uganda?  How do you get money to someone working for social justice in Peru? How can you know the funds will be used well once they’re received? How can you do all of this and keep your costs down?

Members of our network in Boulder for the 2009 Advisors Retreat. Our advisors and Boulder staff meet annually to share strategies and discuss our grantmaking.

This is where Greengrants’ model of activist-led grantmaking comes in.

Around the world, Greengrants has strong connections with a select group of extraordinary community leaders and activists who make up our advisory boards. These people—journalists, lawyers, NGO leaders, scientists, academics—are our advisors. They are our connection between donors and grassroots groups who are on the front lines of change.

Greengrants’ advisors provide that essential ingredient that makes our model so simple, and yet so powerful: local knowledge. They are positioned to see both the big picture—a campaign to clean up the mining industry in policy and in practice—and the on-the-ground details—the local group that can play a key role in that campaign. Through their expert advice, we’re overcoming the barriers to effective grassroots philanthropy.

Activist advisors enable us to:

  • Find promising groups that are under the radar of other international funders

  • Mentor and monitor grantees to build capacity and help ensure success

  • Connect groups to national and international networks and campaigns

  • Promote regional and cross-border learning

  • Keep overhead costs low by volunteering their time and expertise