Rapid Response Fund for Movement Building

The Bay Area and the nation are at a crossroads. Despite historic levels of prosperity, there is rising income and wealth inequality, and increasing poverty. Additionally, young people, residents earning low wages, and people of color are underrepresented in the political and policymaking process. In order to advance racial and economic equity, The San Francisco Foundation believes that those who are most impacted should be at the forefront of efforts to change these disparities. They should have the resources they need to devise and lead campaigns and to take action to improve social and economic conditions in their communities, and across the region. Now more than ever, movement leaders need the ability to respond, in a timely manner, to pressing issues that disproportionately impact low-income people and communities of color. Recognizing this urgent need, the foundation is launching a Rapid Response Fund for Movement Building with the goal of providing fast resources to organizations that are on the frontlines of mobilizing around racial and economic justice issues so they can respond to unanticipated events in real-time.

Stories from the Rapid Response Fund:

Donor, The San Francisco Foundation

Organizer, California Immigrant Youth Justice Alliance

Director, Undocumented Student Program

To Give

  • Make a grant from your donor advised fund, or send a check to The San Francisco Foundation, for the purpose: Rapid Response Fund.
  • Give online by selecting Rapid Response Fund.

View the latest update and grants from the Rapid Response Fund.


  • The Fund will provide one-time small grants in the range of $3,000–$15,000 for a grant period of six to 12 months. If approved, the grant will be processed in no more than 30 days after receipt of application.
  • Priority will be given to requests from small, emerging or new grassroots efforts, including from faith-based groups or small fiscally sponsored projects working to advance racial and economic equity.


Grant applications should meet the following criteria to be eligible for funding:

  • Timely and Urgent: the specific event, opportunity or challenge that your organization is responding to must be unanticipated and must require urgent action.
  • Focus on Racial and Economic Equity: the proposal must be in response to an unexpected moment or opportunity for advocacy or mobilization to advance racial and economic equity at a neighborhood, city, county, or regional level.
  • Opportunity for Intervention: grant funds must be able to have an immediate impact related to racial and economic equity.
  • Community Leadership: the proposal must demonstrate strong leadership by those who are most impacted by racial and economic inequities (e.g. communities of color, immigrants, formerly incarcerated residents, youth, low-wage workers, people with disabilities, low-income residents, or LGBTQ community members).
  • Organizations: including faith-based groups, must have an IRS 501(c)(3) tax exempt status or be a fiscally sponsored project of another nonprofit entity. The Foundation cannot grant to individuals.

View the Spanish version of the Guidelines here


The Fund could support projects such as:

  • Create safe spaces for community building and healing in the wake of a highly polarizing election.
  • Support “Know Your Rights” sessions in immigrant communities facing the threat of mass deportations.
  • A convening of grassroots organizers and community leaders to strategize how to address a racially-charged event.
  • A non-violence training for community residents in response to incidents of violence.
  • Travel funds for community leaders to attend a national day of action on a pressing equity issue. Note that funds will be made available to organizations, not individuals.
  • Funds to support an urgent communications or legal response to address a crisis (e.g. a nonprofit voter engagement organization is wrongly accused of partisan activity that could jeopardize their 501(c)(3) status).

View examples of grants here.

The Rapid Response Fund for Movement Building is not intended to be used for “emergencies” such as:

  • Internal nonprofit operations emergencies, such as office vandalism, resignation of an executive director, or the sudden loss of funding
  • Nonprofit general operating or ongoing program support
  • Natural disasters
  • Capital improvements
  • Budget shortfalls or fundraising events
  • Previously planned or long-term campaigns


Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis. To submit a request please review the above guidelines and the application form prior to logging in to Grantee Center to complete your application.


Please contact Angela Quon Chan at achan@sff.org.