The Solutions Project is an intermediary—we are not a foundation. But grantmaking is an important part of our integrated programs to shift culture and narrative to achieve a just transition to towards a regenerative economy that includes frontline innovations in clean air, water, soil, energy and overall healthy and prosperous communities.
We subscribe to what the Whitman Institute calls Trust Based Philanthropy in that we see the grantee-grantmaker relationship as mutually supportive and radically collaborative. Grantee partners are the experts and innovators in organizing, models, vision and strategies for ground-up change.
What We Fund
We primarily invest in frontline women and leaders of color best positioned for impact—helping to amplify their stories and scale their Just Transition and regenerative economy solutions. The work we support helps remove political, financial, cultural barriers to frontline and community led innovations. We encourage equity-rooted strategies that work to ensure that community benefits, diverse leadership, and just transitions are central to the call for a transition to a regenerative economy.
Our grants typically support work in the following areas:
- Local and state policy work (from legislation to implementation) that supports a just transition to 100% clean energy and a regenerative economy
- Fossil fuel infrastructure resistance if coupled with a Just Transition solutions framework
- Indigenous organizing and led movements advancing a Just Transition
- Supporting transparent, cleaner and democratically controlled rural electric cooperatives
- Community-led demonstration projects in need of seed capital advancing models of innovation in clean energy, water, food and other areas advancing a Just Transition.
Successful applications must have a cultural power building component that leverages strong narrative and storytelling opportunities.
Support Beyond Grant Dollars
Our role is to move money, media and momentum behind frontline leadership to achieve a Just Transition to 100% that benefits everyone. We do so through our three programs—Invest (our grantmaking), Inspire (our communications and narrative work), and Connect (the platforms for influence we provide partners). To that end, all our grants will be coupled with commensurate support from our Inspire and Connect programs, such as media and storytelling training and tactical support for media opportunities. We are also starting communications collaboratives in target states to build cultural power through storytelling and narrative to effectively advance a just transition towards a regenerative economy.
Where We Invest
Our investments and partnerships happen across the United States. Our current priority target states for statewide work are California and Georgia (and currently considering others). We also have a number of select place-based investment areas across the U.S.—these include specific rural and urban areas in Florida, Iowa, Louisiana, New York, Puerto Rico, South Carolina and in various Indigenous communities in various states. We have also investing in leadership development of women of color across the Gulf South region.
Rapid Response Grants
The Fighter Fund provides rapid response grants in real-time to support frontline leaders that shift our culture and narrative to achieve a just transition to towards a regenerative economy in the United States. Resources are designed to support place-based movement moments through organizing, direct action, advocacy, and lobbying activities; communications that build public will and cultural power; inclusive coalition building efforts; and frontline led models of innovation.
Ideal grantees are tax-exempt organizations, either 501(c)(3) or (c)(4), that:
- Are governed by the communities in which they serve
- Mobilize marginalized communities
- Have the capacity to leverage resources from additional funders
- Are experimenting with innovative tactics to activate constituencies.
Grants range between $500 to $15,000 (typically averaging at $5,000 per grant). We accept applications by movement referral, partner recommendation, and by an open rolling application.
In addition, our Philanthropic Trustees, the grantmaking advisory and decision making body at The Solutions Project, are each given a set amount of grant dollars to award every year at their discretion through the Fighter Fund. As leaders in the movement, they may individually assign rapid response dollars through the Fighter Fund as they see fit.
Capacity Building Grants
The Fighter Fund also provides capacity-building grants that support community-based organizations that build cultural power for frontline communities, demonstrate the potential of community-based regenerative economy innovations, and create pathways for a Just Transition.
The Fighter Fund makes general operating support grants through one application round per year, typically in the fall. Ideal grantees are:
- 501(c)(3) or (c)(4) tax-exempt organizations that are governed by the communities in which they serve
- Black, Latino, Indigenous, API, Women, Intergenerational, and LGBTQ led organizations with strong and emerging leadership
- Organizations with an annual budget under $1.5 million
- Ready to scale experimental work in the Just Transition movement.
Currently, Fighter Fund capacity building grants are up to $40,000 per year (typically averaging at $20,000 per grant).
These grants are designed to be flexible dollars that catalyze new solutions and help organizations leverage their stories to take those solutions to scale. Typically, an investment from The Solutions Project lasts for three years. If the grant is awarded to a 501(c)(4) organization, funds cannot in any way be used to support electoral candidates.
Capacity building grants are by invitation only.
For general inquiries about our grantmaking, please contact Sarah Shanley Hope, Executive Director at Solutions Project, via email at email@example.com.