The Giving Project is an innovative model for building leadership and moving money for real change in the Philadelphia region. Each Giving Project brings together a cross-class, cross-race, intergenerational group of 20 people who share a vision for social justice and want to apply their time, talent, and resources to supporting movements for social change. All Giving Projects include at least 50% people of color, and the space centers the lived experience and knowledge of people of color.
Giving Project members commit to a six-month process of shared learning and personal growth to gain a deeper understanding of race, class, and systemic oppression. Members make a donation that is personally meaningful, with no minimum amount, and raise money for the Giving Project from their friends and families after receiving training and coaching to support their fundraising success. Bread & Roses then facilities Giving Project members through a transparent, democratic decision-making process to distribute the money they’ve raised as grants to local grassroots groups organizing for justice and equity.
Since beginning in 2016, Bread & Roses Giving Projects have made 128 grants totaling more than $1.2 million. Seventy-seven percent of these grants went to groups led by people of color, including 52% that went to Black-led groups.
Giving Project grants fuel organizing for gender justice, Black liberation, racial justice, immigration justice, economic justice, and more. Bread & Roses runs three Giving Projects per year.
How do Giving Projects work?
The Giving Project is a process. It requires a commitment of your time, talent, and resources over a period of six months. The basic Giving Project structure is:
- A cross-class, multiracial group of up to 20 individuals commits to gathering up to 10 times over the course of six months.
- Through workshops and trainings, the group develops a shared understanding of race, class, and power within society.
- Each person makes a meaningful financial gift — whatever that means for you.
- Each person commits to fundraising from their friends, family, and community to support the financial goal of the group. Our staff will train you in grassroots fundraising and provide plenty of support.
- Each member is trained in Bread & Roses democratic grantmaking process. As a participant, you will read and score proposals, participate in interviews, make collective decisions, and grant money to some of the most inspiring, effective social change groups in the Philadelphia region.
All Giving Projects follow roughly the same process:
- Community building, including personal storytelling and setting goals.
- Workshop, delving deeply into issues of class and race.
- Political education related to the giving focus of the project.
- Grantmaking training regarding social justice philanthropy, process for scoring applications, and Bread & Roses grantmaking criteria.
- Fundraising training regarding grassroots fundraising skills and learning how to make an ask.
- Ongoing fundraising with support from Bread & Roses staff and other Giving Project members.
- Reading and scoring grant applications.
- Screening meeting to decide, as a group, which applicant organizations will get site visits.
- Group interviews to meet with finalist organizations and learn about their work directly from them.
- Final decision meeting to review site visit reports, discuss the final decisions, and decide together which organizations will receive grants.
- Celebrate our successes and evaluate the process so the next giving project will be even better.
Who can participate in a Giving Project?
- You could have wealth, you could be low-income – it doesn’t matter.
- You do not have to know anything about non-profits, philanthropy, fundraising, or the issue focus of the project.
- You do not have to donate any particular amount of money; there is no minimum (or maximum) amount.
- You do commit to the entire Giving Project process.
You should join a Giving Project if you…
- Want to make a difference about issues of injustice in the greater Philadelphia area.
- Want to learn how to fundraise, make grants, and expand your network.
- Are passionate about building community across race and class lines.
- Are ready to take on a challenging and transformative experience for the next six months.
How do I join a future Giving Project?
The process for joining is as follows:
- Complete this interest form, which asks you to provide information about your background and your needs for participating in the project.
- You will be contacted to schedule a one-hour meeting with a Bread & Roses staff member to discuss the Giving Project and give you a chance to ask questions.
- After this meeting, you will be asked to complete a registration form for a specific Giving Project.
Each Giving Project is carefully assembled to create a cross-class, multiracial, intergenerational group. If you have additional questions about the process, please contact director of donor organizing Nigel Charles at 215.731.1107 ext. 207 or email@example.com.
What is the time commitment for a Giving Project?
The Giving Project is an intensive six month experience. Former members have reported that participating in the Giving Project takes an average of five hours per week over the six months.
Before you commit to a specific Giving Project, you will be given a list of all dates and asked to commit to attending as many as possible.
Is there a specific amount I am required to contribute or raise?
We ask that every member make a “personally meaningful” individual financial contribution, but there is no minimum amount. Bread & Roses staff work closely with each member to determine what amount is right for them. In past projects, individual contributions have ranged from $50 to $30,000 dollars.
Similarly, a key part of the Giving Project is recognizing that individuals come from different socioeconomic and class backgrounds. Therefore, there is not a set amount you are required to raise. Instead, we work with you to determine what is a reasonable amount for you.
I’ve never done fundraising before. Is this project right for me?
Yes! Over 40% of our Giving Project members have never engaged in one-on-one fundraising before. Most of us feel intensely uncomfortable asking for money; there are a lot of reasons for that, which every Giving Project group will explore in its fundraising training. We will not only help you learn how to ask for money effectively, but to feel good about it, knowing you are engaging in powerful action for social change.
It’s not just about fundraising; Giving Project participants become donor organizers – leveraging their own donations to bring in the donations of others and help build power for those working for long-term social change. We just ask every participant in every Giving Project to challenge themselves, which will mean different things for different people. This could be a great way for you to meet the challenge of donor organizing.
We provide intensive fundraising training as well as an assigned fundraising coach from Bread & Roses staff who can help strategize, troubleshoot, and provide encouragement throughout the process.
Hear directly from people who have done Giving Projects at Bread & Roses. Read their comments in the slideshow below:
I’m interested, but I just can’t participate at this time. How can I support?
- Tell others about Bread & Roses Giving Projects! We need your help to get the word out.
- Donate. You can donate to any of our active Giving Projects (see “Current Giving Projects” below) or you can donate directly to Bread & Roses.
- Join our email list to stay updated on Giving Projects and other social change news.
Upcoming Giving Projects
2020 Racial & Economic Justice Giving Project (January to June 2020)
Current Giving Projects
Past Giving Projects
- 2019 Racial & Economic Justice Giving Project
- 2018-9 Immigration Justice Giving Project
- 2018-19 Gender Justice Giving Project
- Winter 2018 Giving Project
- Fall 2017 Giving Project
- Spring 2017 Giving Project
- Spring 2016 Giving Project
Giving Projects beyond Philadelphia
Bread & Roses Community Fund is one of six movement funds around the country running Giving Projects to engage donors in funding movements for change:
- Chinook Fund
- Crossroads Fund
- Headwaters Foundation For Justice
- North Star Fund
- Social Justice Fund Northwest
Find out if there’s a Giving Project or social justice fund near you.