MUTUAL AID IS NOT CHARITY
Since the start of the global COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen how the distribution of resources, whether public relief dollars or personal protective equipment for essential workers, leads to oppression in communities of color. Black and non-Black communities of color are routinely forced to fight for resources in the current social, economic, and political structure. In response, mutual aid efforts were bolstered, amplified, or created for the first time in many communities. These efforts are part of a long tradition of community care and solidarity in the face of systemic oppression. Beyond mere services, these mutual aid efforts meet immediate needs while also building movements toward a shared collective vision of liberation and transforming structures and conditions that remain unjust. Crossroads Fund continues to reaffirm our commitment to supporting grassroots groups working for the long haul to create systems change, not charity.
Crossroads Fund aspires to hold pooled resources of our colleagues in philanthropy and create new models for redistributing resources that respond to the current moment while building toward our collective liberation. We seek to support work that is responsive to the intersecting needs of everyone who comes to Chicago, whether those needs are rooted in Black, migrant, or unhoused communities.
For more information on how to contribute to the fund please email Joanna Preston at email@example.com
In using the term mutual aid, we are rooted in the scholarship of Dean Spade who articulated three key elements of mutual aid work:
1) mutual aid projects work to meet survival needs and build shared understanding on why people do not have what they need,
2) mutual aid projects mobilize people, expand solidarity, and build movements, and
3) mutual aid projects are participatory, solving problems through collective action rather than waiting for saviors.
APPLY FOR A GRANT!
Organizing groups that meet the following criteria can apply for a grant:
- Alignment with at least one of the three key elements of mutual aid:
- 1) Mutual aid projects work to meet survival needs and build shared understanding about why people do not have what they need
- 2) Mutual aid projects mobilize people, expand solidarity, and build movements
- 3) Mutual aid projects are participatory, solving problems through collective action rather than waiting for saviors.
- Grassroots leadership: we support groups that involve the people who are directly affected by an issue at all levels of the organization – in planning, organizing and leading, and working to continue building leadership within the grassroots community.
- Solid Plan: clear purpose and well-planned goals, objectives, activities, timeline, and budget
- Work in the Chicago Metropolitan Area: includes Chicago and surrounding counties of Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, and Will, along with Lake County, Indiana
Funding requests can be for the following:
- Community-based mutual aid efforts
- Immediate survival needs such as (but not limited to): housing assistance, food, clothing, transportation, and other needs that may be necessary
- Projects or initiatives that address racial tensions and/or expand solidarity between communities
- Training and convening people to strategize, build their power, promote healing and create community solidarity (including virtual strategies)
- Organizing campaigns to address the root causes of systemic oppression, migration, redlining, anti-Blackness to name a few justice issues
- Applicants may request between $20,000 – $30,000 for General Operating expenses
- Priority to organizations with budgets of under $700,000
- Coalitions or collaboratives are encouraged to apply and may request larger amounts. Award amounts will be a case by case basis.
- Fiscally sponsored mutual aid projects are encouraged to apply.
- Applications will be accepted in September on a rolling basis.
- Funding decisions will be made every 4-6 weeks.
- Funding should be used within 6 months.
HOW TO APPLY
- Create an account or log in to Crossroads Fund’s Online Grant Portal.
- Click APPLY in the upper menu.
- Type “MUTUAL” in the “Enter Access Code” box in the top right corner.
- The application will now be available. Scroll down to the lower right corner and click “Apply” to start the application.
Please email Joanna Preston at firstname.lastname@example.org for eligibility questions.
After a period of six months following the grant, Crossroads Fund staff may conduct a phone follow-up to get updates or site visits with grantees.