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Open Society Institute Announces Small Donor Development and Diversification Grant Recipients

The Open Society Institute has partnered with the New World Foundation and the Stoneman Foundation to award eight community-based social justice groups a total of $510,000 to support the development of new models for small-donor fundraising. The collaborative, known as the Donor Development and Diversification ("3D") Initiative, hopes to enhance the ability of community-based groups to weather the economic downturn by diversifying their funding bases.

The recipients were chosen from among more than 315 applications received after an open, nationwide call for proposals. All of the groups work to advance social justice through community organizing and issue-based advocacy, with a particular emphasis on outreach to low-income people, people of color, immigrant, LGBTQ, and youth communities.

The following organizations were selected for one-year grants:

  • Colorado Community Organizing Collaborative (CCOC), Denver, Colorado, $120,000, to build the shared fundraising capacity of eight community-based groups working collectively to advance racial and economic justice in Colorado. The CCOC will hire two fundraising consultants to provide tailored assistance and ongoing training to each organization and conduct rigorous evaluation to determine which fundraising approaches—in person, phone, mail, online—work most effectively to increase membership contributions and sustain long-term donor loyalty;
  • Kentucky Coalition/ Kentuckians for the Commonwealth, London, KY, $75,000, to deepen the connections between community organizing, grassroots fundraising, and membership recruitment and retention. The Kentucky Coalition has tripled its membership and increased its grassroots fundraising by nearly 350% from 2004 to 2009 and projects to do similarly over the next five years;
  • FIERCE, New York, NY, $70,000, to build stronger member-led grassroots fundraising efforts among lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer identified (LGBTQ) youth of color in New York City and to develop a grassroots fundraising model to share with other social justice organizations;
  • Pineros y Campesinos Unidos del Noroeste (PCUN), Woodburn, OR, $60,000, to expand the donor bases and fundraising capacity of nine immigrant and farmworker organizations in rural Oregon. PCUN will establish a leadership institute to provide fundraising training to 100 staff and leaders from the nine partner groups;
  • Domestic Workers United, New York, NY, $50,000, to strengthen its membership's commitment to fundraising, expand its fee-for-service Nanny Training Program for its largely immigrant women membership, and implement a "Donor Member" initiative that will raise matching contributions from non-domestic workers to match the membership dues of its domestic worker members;
  • Make the Road New York, NY, $50,000, to implement the "Our Money, Our Power" fundraising initiative, including instituting a member donor program and connecting thousands of low-income immigrant New Yorkers with low-cost, non-predatory banking services, financial counseling, loans, and other financial services;
  • Washington Community Action Network, Seattle, WA, $50,000, to expand its membership and donor base (currently at 35,000 members) through the targeted development of small business leaders and to increase membership retention through the use of enhanced technology, including web-based predictive dialer phone capacity; and
  • Just Cause Oakland, Oakland, CA, $35,000, to implement its Unity Campaign to raise $100,000 in small membership contributions in the first year of an organizational merger of its grassroots base of low-income, primarily African-American tenants and workers with the largely Latino community membership of the San Francisco-based St. Peter's Housing Committee.

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