Our grantees describe getting a grant from Chinook Fund as “becoming part of the Chinook family.”

We give grantees money, it is true, but also something else. A grant from Chinook Fund draws groups closer to Colorado’s progressive social change movement, via our unique grassroots community-led grantmaking process in which applicants meet each other and meet the grantmakers, who are also working in Colorado’s progressive social change movement.

Applying for a grant from Chinook Fund is different from applying to other foundations. You’ll start to learn how as you check out our materials online or contact our staff. Our last fiscal year, we gave out close to $150,000 in grants through our grassroots community-led grantmaking process and Giving Project. This year, we will give out grants from $1,000 to $10,000 to a range of groups working on human rights, racial justice, economic justice, environmental protection, peace and international solidarity.

Will your group be able to apply for a grant?

We prioritize proposals from historically marginalized communities, and we look for work that is collaborative, risk taking, and strategic. We fund groups with budgets under $350,000, and look for organizations with diverse funding sources. We accept proposals from groups without 501c3 status as long as they have a fiscal sponsor or organizational bank account.

For more info about our grantmaking please see the drop downs below:

FUNDING CRITERIA

Chinook funds organizations working to challenge the root causes of oppression, rather than treating the symptoms. Chinook believes the root causes of our most serious social problems include systemic racism, sexism, heterosexism, classism, ableism and ageism. We identify effective social change as efforts that strive to include these key elements:

  • Constituent-Led: The work is led by the people most impacted by injustice.  Unlike a traditional charity model, we believe that those most affected by the issue have the vision and solutions for their own liberation – and that the development of their leadership, skills, and power should be prioritized.
  • Community-Wide: The work reflects all members of the constituency, especially those who experience multiple forms of oppression.  This ensures that change for the community leaves no one behind, especially for those who have less privilege within the community.
  • Lasting Effect: The work makes change not just for one individual today, but for the community as a whole, and for future generations.  Generally this means organizing collective action to change systems and institutions.

For additional information, including definitions and explanation of identities, click here to download a supplemental informational packet.

All successful applicants must:

  • Be based in communities facing injustice or oppression, including but not limited to: communities of color, low-income communities, LGBTQ communities, disabilities communities, immigrant communities.
  • Have democratic leadership, decision-making and organizing that is led by and accountable to people most directly impacted by the issue or injustice
  • Demonstrate that the work can lead to permanent progressive change for their community
  • Be engaged in efforts to dismantle privilege and oppression within their organization and community
  • Be based in Colorado (with possible exceptions made for regional indigenous groups)
  • Have an annual budget of $350,000 or less

 Priority is given to organizations that are:

  • Collaborative or working in alliance with other progressive groups as a way to build multiple strategies for bringing social change;
  • Risk-taking by doing work that may be controversial, marginalized, and/or new and emerging;
  • Strategic and working with a long-term vision which clearly links to current plans;
  • Achieving concrete success which has positively impacted the community;
  • Raise money from multiple sources throughout the community, such as foundations, businesses, individuals, special events, and income generating projects.

Types of Work Supported for ALL grants:

Chinook supports many different forms of social change organizing, such as (but not limited to):

  • Direct Action Organizing
  • Public Policy Advocacy
  • Art & Cultural work that is community-based and linked to activism
  • Economic Development
  • International Solidarity
  • Action Research as an organizing strategy to identify, document and analyze information, in partnership with a community group
  • Media Advocacy that promotes greater public understanding of critical issues and increasing organizing outreach efforts
  • Social Services linked with Activism
  • Leadership Development and Training
  • Providing Resources for Local Activists
  • Working Collaboratively Across Issues and Communities
  • Gatherings and ConferencesDirect Action Organizing

Organization Status

Chinook Fund supports non-profit organizations, including those that do not have 501(c)3 status. Fiscal sponsorship for those organizations without tax-exempt status is recommended but not required. If a fiscal sponsor is not used, an organizational bank account is required.

To comply with IRS regulations, Chinook Fund cannot:

  • Fund organizations involved in electoral campaigns;
  • Contribute substantially to support lobbying at the federal, state, or local levels; or
  • Support private, in contrast to public, interest.

GRANTMAKING PROCESS

We convene a group of community activists who have direct experience working for social justice on the ground to lead decision-making around all of our funding.  We are constantly working to ensure that our grantmaking committee is representative of the diverse communities, issues, and regions we fund, and we partner with donors/allies who follow the lead of activists.  This means that Chinook is led by, and accountable to, the communities we serve – just as we require our grantees to be. And it means our committee is ideally suited to ensure that Chinook targets its resources to the organizations with the most potential and the best track record for making effective social change in Colorado.

Giving Project cohort members review all proposals, conduct site visits, and make funding decisions using a unique consensus-based process. In all its deliberations, the committee is bent towards determining which organizations will transform society into a just and free environment for all people.


Types of Funding

Start-Up Grants are available to groups that are less than 4 years old.  Groups must demonstrate a vision and plan for meeting Chinook Fund criteria, but do not need a proven track record of success.  Groups can apply multiple times in this category, as long as they are less than 4 years old.  The maximum grant award is $4,000.

Established Grants are available to any group, but the competition for grants is tougher, as it includes organizations that have been working successfully on social justice issues for a number of years.  The maximum grant award is $10,000.

Multi-Year Grants will be considered for organizations who apply in the Established cateogry, have been funded at least twice during the last 5 years, and who receive the highest level of funding in the current cycle.  Please see Funding Guidelines for more details.


Funding Cycles and Proposal Deadlines

Chinook typically awards grants twice a year. Deadlines for proposals are usually in February and August. Grants are dispersed in June and December.  Grants must be postmarked or delivered to the office by 5pm on the deadline date.  


Orientation for New Grantseekers

Are you a new grantseeker or a past grantee that needs a refresher on the grant application process? If your organization or grantwriter is new to Chinook Fund, we strongly recommend attending our Grant Application workshop where we will give an introduction to Chinook Fund, funding criteria and an overview of the new grant application process. While we understand small non-profits are usually very busy, we guarantee that this will save you time, effort and money in the long run. This workshop will help you to determine if you are eligible to apply for a Chinook Fund grant and teach you some basics in writing a successful Chinook Fund application. The workshop is free. Bring a brown bag lunch and join us at our office for a hands-on training.

Our next workshop will be on July 19th, 2017. If you have any questions about the workshop or would like to be on the workshop mailing list, please fill out our Workshop Webform below.


How to Apply

Download the Funding Guidelines & Grant Application Forms. Please be sure to read the guidelines thoroughly before working on your proposal. Follow the instructions and use the checklist as a guide to prepare your proposal package. Call us with any questions you may have!

To assist prospective applicants in better understanding our revised Funding Guidelines and Funding Processes, and to make a Grant Application Workshop readily accessible to applicants outside of the Denver Metro Area, we have devised a 3-part Online Grant Application Workshop Series.

  • Part One
    Explores: the Chinook Fund’s history, values and philosophy; how grantmaking decisions are made; and background.
  • Part Two
    Examines: the Chinook Fund’s three key funding criteria; additional guidelines; funding categories, multi-year grants, and funding deadlines.
  • Part Three
    Details: the grant application forms, including the budget form, diversity chart, and final checklist.

Grants must be postmarked or delivered to the office by 5pm on the deadline date.  Please make sure all proposals are mailed or dropped off at: 1031 33rd Street, Suite 237, Denver, CO 80205.

Upcoming grant deadlines:

Tuesday, February 21st, 2017

Monday, August 21st, 2017

Wednesday, February 21st, 2018

GRANT APPLICATION WORKSHOP

Orientation for New Grantseekers

Are you a new grantseeker or a past grantee that needs a refresher on the grant application process? If your organization or grantwriter is new to Chinook Fund, we strongly recommend attending our Grant Application workshop where we will give an introduction to Chinook Fund, funding criteria and an overview of the new grant application process. While we understand small non-profits are usually very busy, we guarantee that this will save you time, effort and money in the long run. This workshop will help you to determine if you are eligible to apply for a Chinook Fund grant and teach you some basics in writing a successful Chinook Fund application. The workshop is free. Bring a brown bag lunch and join us at our office for a hands-on training.

Our next workshop will be on July 19th, 2017 at the Posner Center: Classroom Room 236. If you have any questions about the workshop please fill out the form below. 

Upcoming workshops:
7/19/17 1-3pm

1/17/18 1-3pm

Have more questions? Feel free to reach out to us!