Core Grants Program

The Food and Farm Communications Fund is supporting leading-edge efforts for low-capacity groups. This work is experimental in nature. It is great to see funders support innovation, even if it carries some risk.” Food and Farm Communications Fund Grantee

Program Overview

*We are no longer accepting LOIs for the current grant round; we anticipate launching our next application period in late 2019 or early 2020*

The Core Grants Program is the central offering of the Food and Farm Communications Fund, awarding targeted communications support to community-based nonprofit organizations and grassroots networks working to advance systemic and cultural change across our food and farm systems. We’ve set our sights on building power and shifting narratives, and are looking to support organizations vested in the long view, with equity and resilience as central pillars of their vision. Read below for more details regarding our funding priorities. With limited resources, the Fund is not able to support an organization’s ongoing communications activities.

Core Grants are intended to:

This includes: establishing or upgrading communications tools, platforms, or systems, to strengthen your organization’s ability to understand, target, and reach diverse audiences; developing content, collateral, or creative media initiatives to convey your organization’s work in a more impactful way; comprehensive, integrated communications planning and strategy-setting; professional development and training, to improve the communications capacity of staff and leadership; as well as short-term communications staffing solutions (including partnerships with outside consultants) that demonstrate sustained benefit to the organization.

This includes: narrative development work that serves to amplify a grassroots food and farm narrative and/or debunk misleading dominant narratives; message framing and integration; as well as development of content, collateral, or creative media initiatives that convey the story of your constituents in a more impactful way.

This includes: campaigns, events, or experiences that utilize communications tools and activities to foster constituent and public engagement around food and farm systems issues; multicultural, equity, and justice-based approaches to communications; as well as communications projects that bring people together across divides (geographic, racial, economic), to foster empathy and solidarity, and to build collective power.

Criteria and Restrictions

The Core Grants Program primarily supports organizations headquartered in the United States; international organizations are eligible to apply with an established connection to the Fund. The Fund recognizes that the voices and stories of those who have been historically – and are currently – marginalized by powerful actors in the food system, are often not heard, yet critical to the change we seek. We prioritize work led by communities of color, indigenous communities, farmers, farmworkers, fishermen, and food workers.

  • Be a community-based organization or a grassroots network/coalition with 501(c)(3) status (or with a 501(c)(3) fiscal sponsor);
  • Have an average annual revenue of less than $2 million;
  • Clearly demonstrate a commitment to equity and racial, social, and/or economic justice;
  • Clearly demonstrate a commitment to integrating leadership of core constituents within the organization’s staffing, advising, or governance structures;
  • Be collaborative in approach and practice.

  • Nonprofit organizations that do not have 501(c)(3) status or do not have a fiscal sponsor with 501(c)(3) status;
  • Individuals or scholarship programs;
  • Other foundations or regranting programs;
  • Businesses or business associations;
  • Schools, Colleges, or Universities;
  • State agencies or government programs;
  • Organizations that have already received a Core Grant from the Food and Farm Communications Fund within the past three years (this restriction will begin with the 2019 round).

Furthermore, the Food and Farm Communications Fund does not support the following activities: academic research projects; capital or endowment campaigns; conferences; discretionary or emergency requests; litigation or legal expenses; or marketing or branding for products or services.

Range and Term of Core Grants

Core Grants are expected to range from $15,000 to 40,000 over a 12-month term, with $25,000 being the typical funding amount. Grant amounts are contingent on demonstrated need, alignment with the Fund’s purpose and criteria, as well as the Fund’s giving capacity in any given year. Upon successful completion of a Core Grant, grantees may be invited to apply for a mini-grant in the second year to further boost the organization’s communications work. Renewals of Core Grant awards are rare and by invitation only; they should not be counted on for project success. Core Grantees may be invited to participate in optional communications capacity-building, training, and peer-networking opportunities during the term of their grant.

How to Apply and Timeline

Before you begin an application, familiarize yourself with the Core Grants Program overview and restrictions. The Fund receives many more worthwhile requests for support than it can possibly fund (in fact, just eight percent of Letters of Interest to date have resulted in grants). As a result, we encourage only those who can demonstrate strong alignment with the intention, criteria, and values of the Fund, as well as a clear need that is in line with the funding range and term of the Fund, to apply. That said, we fully recognize that applicants will vary in their capacity to write grant proposals; please don’t allow concerns about grant writing skills to dissuade you from applying.

STEP 1. If you believe you are a strong fit, the next step is to submit a Letter of Interest (LOI) via our online portal. Please note, we are no longer accepting LOIs for our current grant round. We anticipate opening our next grant cycle in late 2019 or early 2020.

  • To view a PDF of the LOI application questions before you begin, click here.
  • For questions about the online iGAM submission process, please email [email protected]. Emailed or mailed LOIs will not be accepted.
  • Multiple LOIs from the same organization will not be considered.
  • Current LOI applicants will be notified of their status mid-February, 2019.

NOTE: The iGAM portal is a separate platform and will look different from this website.

STEP 2. If invited, the next step is to submit a Full Proposal via the iGAM portal by the communicated deadline. Further directions will be shared upon invitation.

Full Proposal applicants will be notified of their status by mid-April, 2019.