JEWISH FUND FOR JUSTICE GRANTMAKING GUIDELINES

The purpose of the Jewish Fund for Justice grantmaking program is to support non-profit organizations working to alleviate the root causes of poverty and the disenfranchisement of low-income people in the United States.

JFJ supports community-based organizing and advocacy that promotes leadership development and builds community self-sufficiency to strengthen the impact of low-income people in the public debate on issues affecting their lives.

Jewish Fund for Justice Geographical Target Areas:

JFJ only supports groups working in six metropolitan areas—Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City, San Francisco, and Washington D.C—and five states in the greater South—Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Texas. For definitions of the six metropolitan areas, see our website or call our office.

There are separate geographic criteria for the Engaging Jews in Social Justice program area; see the attached supplementary guidelines for details. Also note that the Funders’ Collaborative on Youth Organizing (FCYO), an independent initiative housed at JFJ, funds nationally.

Jewish Fund for Justice Grantmaking Issue Areas:

Economic Justice: Groups in this issue area work to promote economic security and self-sufficiency for low-income people and their communities through campaigns such as building alliances between labor and community groups, organizing living-wage campaigns, advocating for job training and job programs, improving conditions in the workplace, organizing for community reinvestment and against predatory lending, preserving and strengthening public assistance programs, and promoting community economic development.

Women in Poverty: Groups in this issue area fight poverty among economically disadvantaged women, who are disproportionately heads of households, women of color, and immigrants and refugees. JFJ supports groups that are run by and for women, that organize and advocate on issues that directly affect the lives of women and girls, that help women attain economic self-sufficiency, and that provide leadership development, skills training, and support networks.
Investing in Youth: Groups in this issue area use youth organizing strategies to combat economic disadvantage and hopelessness among low-income young people. JFJ supports groups that improve the lives of youth and their communities through youth-developed programs, empower young people to advocate on their own behalf, train them to develop and lead issue campaigns, and mobilize parents and youth to improve public education.

Building Community: Groups in this issue area strengthen low-income communities by bringing residents together into strong multi-issue neighborhood or faith-based organizations. JFJ supports groups that stress long-term institutional development, view issues as a vehicle for training highly-skilled leaders, use relationship-building techniques, and hold decision-makers accountable for meeting democratically-determined demands.

Assisting New Americans: Groups in this issue area organize immigrants and refugees to assert their rights to fair and humane treatment and help them gain a foothold in society. JFJ supports groups that educate newcomers about their rights and how to protect them, develop immigrant leaders, combat anti-immigrant policies and exploitation in the workplace, fight scapegoating and harassment, and promote civic involvement.

Engaging Jews in Social Justice: Groups in this issue area advance local Jewish activism by educating, training, and mobilizing Jews in sustained efforts to combat poverty and injustice. JFJ supports groups that advocate and organize on poverty issues in partnership with groups based in low-income communities and communities of color, bringing a vital Jewish presence to community economic and social justice struggles. Please see the attached supplementary guidelines for more details on grants in this issue area.

To be considered for funding, a program must meet the following criteria:

  • It must engage in community organizing and/or grassroots advocacy, defined here as a group of people working collectively to build political and/or economic power in order to pro-actively influence decisions, laws and institutions that affect their lives.

  • It must be led by and benefit low-income people.

  • It must address the systems, societal values, institutions, laws, or policies that perpetuate poverty.

  • It must operate at the community level or have strong community roots.

In addition to the criteria described above, JFJ is interested in programs that:

  • Provide the opportunity for JFJ funds to leverage other financial support;

  • Direct funding to issues that are not yet attracting substantial financial support from the Jewish community;

  • Combine community organizing or grassroots advocacy with complementary strategies such as community development, direct service, and public policy advocacy; and

  • Encourage local Jewish social justice activism.

JFJ is open to requests for general support as well as for special projects from organizations that address the causes of urban or rural poverty in our geographical target areas. Most JFJ grants are between $7,500 and $20,000.

JFJ does not fund: research, social services programs that do not have an advocacy or organizing component, capital expenditures, media, or publication projects. JFJ also does not fund national organizations, groups with budgets of $1 million or more, technical assistance providers, or intermediaries. Solicitation of individual Board members is discouraged.

SUBMITTING AN APPLICATION

JFJ ACCEPTS THE COMMON APPLICATION FORMS OF BOTH THE NEW YORK AREA GRANTMAKERS AND THE NATIONAL NETWORK OF GRANTMAKERS.

Because our application process is extremely competitive, we require that you speak with a JFJ program officer before submitting an application.

The proposal (II - VI below) should be no longer than five pages. To ensure that we receive all the information we need, we suggest the following format:

  1. Face Sheet
    The attached Face Sheet will give us a quick synopsis of your organization.

  2. Background
    Describe the history of your organization: its objectives, program activities, accomplishments over the past few years and organizational structure.

  3. Program Description
    Describe the program for which you seek funding. Summarize why the program is needed; what specific problems it will address; what objectives, strategies and actions you will employ to implement the program; how these efforts will make a difference; and who will benefit from it.

  4. Jewish Involvement
    If your organization has significant relationships or involvement with Jewish institutions, organizations or synagogues, please describe.

  5. Program Management
    Describe the management of your organization (and of the specific project, if applicable). Include a description of the staff and other personnel resources that will be involved. If the funds will help create a staff slot, attach your selection criteria. Describe how policy decisions are made, who makes them, the role of the Board in making policy decisions, and how Board members are elected.

VI. Evaluation

Describe your criteria for a successful project, how you will know that the project has succeeded. Focus on outcomes, being as concrete and specific as possible. We would like to see both process-related outcomes (e.g. number of leaders trained, number of people mobilized) and issue-related outcomes (e.g. number of instances of police misconduct reduced by a new police reform policy, number of low-wage workers whose salaries were raised by an average of how many dollars by a new living wage ordinance). Make sure you let us know the number of people you expect to be effected by your work, if it is successful.

VII. Attachments

  1. A list of the members of the agency’s board of directors or other governing body, and a description of their community affiliations. Indicate how many members are low-income, and feel free to include any other demographic information you have available.

  2. A list of major funders, with the amounts received, for the most recently completed fiscal year, and a list of confirmed major funders for the current fiscal year.

  3. Proof of tax-exempt status. If you are being sponsored by another organization, we need a letter from that agency indicating its willingness to serve as your fiscal sponsor, as well as its tax-exempt letter. You must send this to us every year you apply, even if you have applied or received grants from JFJ in the past.

  4. Budget materials as follows:
    Please send a breakdown, by major expenditure categories, of your actual income and expenses for the most recently completed fiscal year, and your projected income and expenses for the current fiscal year. Also make sure to include a projected income and expense report for the fiscal year to which the grant would be applied. Keep in mind that JFJ grants are generally sent out six months after the grant deadline. If you are seeking support for a specific project, please include a budget for the specific project, both for the current fiscal year and for the year for which you seek support.

    Specify the amount of income that comes from local organizational fundraising efforts, e.g. membership dues, local fundraising events, ad book sales, etc. We also would like you to explain your plans for securing the rest of the funding needed to meet the project's projected budget. If you would like to include a narrative description of your budget, you may do so.

  5. If available, please also provide us with your most recent Form 990 and audited financial statement.

IX. Deadlines

All applications must be postmarked by June 1 for the fall cycle or December 15th for the spring cycle. Please do not spend extra money to send proposals by Federal Express or Express Mail. Send proposals to: