The Grassroots Foundation

The Grassroots Foundation was founded in 1999 with the goal of supporting civil society movements in their struggles for the protection of nature and the respect for human rights. Grassroots aims to strengthen non-governmental groups and movements in their efforts to challenge destructive and undemocratic development practices that many governments and corporations are promoting.  Grassroots is particularly interested in supporting groups that do not have an established funding base and that are developing innovative and inclusive approaches to challenging and transforming environmental and social problems.

Grassroots Foundation seeks to provide support where small grants can potentially make a big difference and affect policy and practice in the wider region or nation or internationally. Grassroots funding is focused on Eastern Europe but it also provides support to groups in other regions through its land use and banks and finance work. Grassroots usually only funds groups for one to three years but during that time it tries to help groups find other funding sources. For instance, several groups in Indonesia challenging forest destruction and human rights abuses caused by the pulp and paper industry were supported by Grassroots for seveal years in the early 2000’s. Those groups now have access to other funders that can continue to support their work.

Although grassroots is a German foundation, its focus is international and European. An essential aspect of our work is therefore strengthening the links between civil society movements in North and South and East and West.

Grassroots currently has four thematic programs:

  • Reforming export credit agencies and banks
  • Supporting the anti-nuclear movement
  • Supporting landuse that benefits people and nature
  • Stopping the spread of genetically modified organisms (GMOs)

In order to maximize our impact on a regional level, the anti-nuclear and GMO programs are focused towards supporting groups in Eastern Europe.

As a small foundation, we aim to be efficient and to keep administrative costs low. We therefore do not accept unsolicited proposals, but instead learn about and approach prospective partners through our links to existing networks. At the same time, we do our best to enhance our partners' ability to respond quickly to new opportunities and challenges. Grassroots is generally able to take funding decisions within six weeks if an urgent funding need arises.

Proposals to grassroots should be no longer than 3-5 pages and must address issues that are relevant to at least one of our thematic programs.