Grant Opportunity

Seed Fund

Fund Details Support This Fund

Application Deadline: Closed


The Seed Fund supports new, emerging, and/or small community-based organizations that are actively engaged in social change work. Funding is provided for general operating, start-up costs, or project expenses. The maximum grant in this program is $15,000.

Application Opens


Application Deadline



Early July, 2024

Fund Details


  • Open to registered 501c3 and fiscally-sponsored organizations, or groups with organizational bank accounts
  • Organizations with previous year annual expenses under $500,000
  • Meet Crossroads Fund’s Funding Criteria

How to Apply

  1. Create an account or log in to Crossroads Fund’s Online Grant Portal.
  2. Click APPLY in the upper menu.
  3. Type “Seed24” in the “Enter Access Code” box in the top right corner.
  4. The application will now be available. Scroll down to the lower right corner and click “Apply” to start the application.

All applicants must use the Grant Portal. If you have any questions on the new system, or on the application process in general, please email Joanna Preston at or call 773-227-7676.


The application review process runs from March to June each year.

Each application is screened by staff and Giving Project alumni based on whether a group’s work falls within our Funding Criteria. Those applications meeting our criteria are reviewed and selected for a site visit by the Grantmaking Committee (GMC). The GMC is made up of board, staff, and members of Crossroads Fund’s Giving Project. Site visits/interviews are conducted by the GMC.

The GMC makes funding recommendations to the Board of Directors for final approval in June. All applicants are notified of the final funding decision within a week of the Board’s decision, generally late June or early July.


What is Crossroads Fund’s grantmaking process?
Crossroads Fund uses community grantmaking processes for a variety of funds. Please visit our Grantmaking Process page for a description of each fund’s grantmaking process.

Does Crossroads Fund support direct or social service organizations?
Crossroads Fund supports social services when linked with activism, when there is a component of social change work within the organization. Please visit read our Funding Criteria for a full discussion of social change organizing. Also check out our current grantees to see what types of groups we typically fund.

What if my group is not based in Chicago?
Crossroads Fund supports work rooted in communities in the Chicago metropolitan area. If you have any questions about geographic limits in our criteria, please email If your work would fit into Crossroads Fund’s social change funding guidelines, but you are located in another area of the United States or Puerto Rico, check out the Giving Project’s list of sister funds.

Can local chapters of national organizations apply?
Yes, when the chapter has a strong base in Chicago area communities, and an autonomous fundraising strategy (is not solely dependent on the national group for funding).

Does Crossroads Fund have grant programs for individuals?
No, Crossroads Fund supports organizations. We cannot fund individuals.

Do I have to use Crossroads Fund’s application forms?
Yes – Crossroads Fund now requires all applicants to use our online grant portal.

How do I know if my organization fits Crossroads Fund’s budgetary restrictions?
We look at an organization’s previous year’s actual expenses to determine its fit with our budgetary guidelines. Most of our funding programs are for organizations with budgets under $500,000. If your organization’s planned budget for the current fiscal year is $510,000, but your last fiscal year’s actual expenses were $485,500, you would fit. Organizational budgets slightly over $500,000 will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

What if my organization does not have 501(c)(3) status?Crossroads Fund supports non-profit organizations, including those that do not have 501(c)3 status. Fiscal sponsorship for those organizations without tax-exempt status is recommended but not required. An organizational bank account is required for those groups not using a fiscal sponsor.
Crossroads Fund considers funding for 501(c)(4) organizations. Please contact Michael Aghuhar at to learn more.

Can I send my application via mail?
No, we no longer accept applications through the mail – all applications must be submitted through our online grant portal.

Does Crossroads Fund offer feedback on proposals that are not selected for funding?
Crossroads Fund can and will respond to requests for feedback. Please share a draft or one-pager with at least one-week prior to grant deadline. Our feedback is based on your proposed work, and how well it aligns with our current grantmaking priorities and funding strategies.



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