Frequently Asked Questions

What happens to the money I donate?

Half goes into the grant pool for distribution to important projects that meet the goals of the fund. The other half goes into an interest earning account with the goal of accumulating a capital base that will allow us to invest in much larger future project(s), strengthening our collective capacity to fight for social justice. Please note that only a maximum of 10% of total funds collected can go to administration costs, such as paying for auditors.

How will Groundswell inspire and support a diversity of important projects?

  • Broad advertising of the fund will reach diverse causes and communities.
  • The fund will encourage people to think of new and creative projects.
  • Lots of people and organizations have incredible ideas but lack the infrastructure or connections necessary to get funding. Groundswell will grant unprecedented access, turning these ideas into realities.

Why wouldn’t I just directly donate to the causes I support?

First of all, if that’s what you are doing, keep up the great work! We don’t wish to disrupt any existing fundraising efforts. Here are a few reasons we think you should consider donating to Groundswell:

  • Sometimes we mean to donate to things as they come up, but for various reasons we don’t end up giving as much support as we'd like.
  • Individual donors give to the campaigns they hear about. These tend to be run by well-established organizations with fundraising capacity. Important projects get neglected, either because they don’t have the same ability to reach out or donors don’t have time to research organizations they are unfamiliar with.
  • Providing only direct donations perpetuates a cycle in which people with money are the ones who decide what gets funding and what doesn’t. Groundswell helps break that cycle.
  • When you give to Groundswell, you are not only supporting current projects. You are also helping create a desperately-needed capital base for future large-scale projects we couldn’t possibly fund as individuals.

Who decides where the money goes?

Groundswell’s Board must distribute money based on the mandate of the Trust and is governed by legal requirements to so do. All our Board members are unpaid volunteers with extensive experience in social justice movements. We are deeply invested in our shared mandate. We have a carefully developed process to ensure we distribute funds fairly and to guide our decision-making. You can check out our bios here.

What about conflict of interest?

This is something we have thought about a lot. As activists, we are all personally connected to a variety of social justice organizations. We want to control our respective potential biases and ensure safeguards, in order to wholeheartedly pursue Groundswell’s aims. Every year, we will select between five and ten applications to fund. Trustees are prohibited from voting for proposals from organizations they are part of. Our governing documents also prevent us from supporting any proposal that would provide us with personal gain.

Are there any accountability measures for grant recipients?

Grant applications are detailed and stringent. You can view our application package on Groundswell’s website. Grant recipients must provide reports to Groundswell detailing how they have used their funds and the results of work that has been funded. If they don’t provide a report, they will be ineligible to apply for future monies.

What can you do if your application is denied?

We anticipate receiving a large number of applications for deserving projects. Sadly, we have a limited capacity to provide funding. If your application is denied, you have the right to request reasons for the decision. Hopefully this will help you craft an even better application next year!