Frequently Asked Questions

Explore answers to all the burning questions you might have.

about the grassroots movements fund

What is the The Grassroots Movements Fund?

The Grassroots Movements Fund is a new grant-making programme at JRCT. The fund aims to provide funding, infrastructure and access to resources and networks to support the sustainability of movement work. Decisions on which groups receive funding will be made by people who have direct experience of working within movements. Read more about the pilot on our website.

Where did JRCT’s money come from?

JRCT was established as a Quaker Trust in 1904 by a donation from Joseph Rowntree. Joseph Rowntree’s wealth came from the Rowntree sweet company. JRCT was a shareholder in the Rowntree business until 1988, when the company was bought by Nestle. You can read more about the history on our website.

A recent investigation into the origins of the money used to set up the Trust showed that the Rowntree company bought cocoa and other goods produced by enslaved people and benefitted from the system of colonial indenture. You can read a statement, including our next steps, on our website.

How does JRCT invest its money?

JRCT’s money has been invested according to a responsible investment strategy. Further details of our investment strategy are available on the main website.

Our application process

How do we apply?

Our approach for this funding round, unlike the first one, is to carry out targeted outreach to find groups aligned to our aims and values. We will be contacting groups with information on the fund and an eligibility survey to complete should they be interested in applying. To respect people's time and limit competition we will be inviting around 30-40 of the groups who complete the survey to apply based on how closely they meet the criteria and other factors, such as creating a balance across issues, communities, approaches and regions.

What are the deadlines for completing the eligibility survey?

The deadline for completing the eligibility survey is 14 February 2024.

Why have you limited the amount of applications and how are you ensuring this is fair?

In our first round 780 groups completed the eligibility survey and we carried out 151 eligibility calls, which resulted in 63 eligible groups submitting applications and 12 of those being funded. We want to respect people’s time and limit competition as much as possible. Therefore, for round two we have tried to make the criteria clearer and will do our own research to find around 30-40 groups to apply. This will also ensure we have more time to support applicants and less groups spending time writing applications to then not get funded. These are all responses to our learnings and reflections process with applicants and grantees from the first funding round.

Can We Apply?

Can groups who haven’t been directly approached by JRCT still apply?

Our main focus is to find applicants through doing our own outreach. In the feedback from focus groups we heard that groups wanted us to do more of the work to find groups ourselves rather than expecting them to find and approach us. We know that some groups are more likely to hear about the funding than others and more likely to have time and capacity to act quickly and want to avoid a ‘first come, first served’ approach. We also heard that reducing competition and respecting people’s time was important.

Groups we haven’t approached directly can let us know they would like to apply by completing the enquiry form. Due to the high need for financial support we expect to receive thousands of enquiries. We may need to close the enquiry form before the 14 February deadline to give us time to read through all the submissions. We estimate the form will take around ten minutes to complete. We recommend that groups sign up to the newsletter to be informed of the next round if they miss the opportunity to complete the form this time.

Our group is not a charity, can we still apply?

Yes! As JRCT is a charitable trust we can only fund work that is charitable, but this does not mean your group has to be a charity. If a group or project has ‘public benefit’ and ‘charitable purposes’ it means that it has aims that fall under one of thirteen categories of what is seen as ‘charitable’ under the Charities Act. Charitable purposes that fit our aims are:

  1. The prevention or relief of poverty
  2. The advancement of education
  3. The advancement of health or the saving of lives
  4. The advancement of citizenship or community development
  5. The advancement of the arts, culture, heritage or science
  6. The advancement of human rights, conflict resolution or reconciliation or the promotion of religious or racial harmony or equality and diversity
  7. The advancement of environmental protection or improvement
  8. The relief of those in need, by reason of youth, age, ill-health, disability, financial hardship or other disadvantage
  9. Any other charitable purposes

We will support you to understand if your project has charitable purposes, you can also find out more on the Charity Commission website.

Can we apply if our group is not a registered organisation?

Yes - informal groups that are not registered can apply. You don’t need to have a formal constitution but we will need to see a written statement which describes your aims and how you make decisions as a group. You will also need a bank account in the name of your organisation (with two or more signatories) or details of another organisation that has agreed to accept the funds for you, this is sometimes referred to as a fiscal host.We also accept applications from informal collectives that have come together to work on a short-term project as long as they can demonstrate they meet our criteria.

Can I apply as an individual?

No - this programme does not fund applications from individuals, we are committed to specifically supporting collective work.

Can we apply for funding with another organisation?

Yes, we are happy to receive joint applications from two or more organisations. We can also consider larger grants for joint applications.

We support grassroots movements groups with their infrastructure needs, can we apply?

Yes, we accept applications from organisations that support grassroots movements groups with infrastructure needs such as meeting space, accessibility needs, facilitation, conflict resolution, accountability, training/ guidance on decision-making, strategy, legal rights etc. We would still expect the group to see themselves as part of a grassroots movement working towards transformative change but understand they may not meet criteria 4B and 4C as closely as community-led action groups.

What will you fund?

What kinds of activities and projects will you fund?

We are particularly interested in activities that provide grassroots movements with the resources they need to keep going and be effective, those that bring different movements together, and work that increases the leadership of people with lived experience of oppression. You can read more about this in section three of this guide which covers our criteria.

How much can we apply for and how many years’ funding can we ask for?

The fund will make grants of between £10k and £70k to every successful application. We can consider larger grants for applications from more than one group. Grants can cover up to a two-year period. We expect to distribute £1,500,000 over 2 grant rounds between 2023-2024.

We encourage all applicants to think about what they realistically need to carry out the work, including covering infrastructure (e.g. governance, training, accounting) and wellbeing needs. An increase to cover inflation should be included after the first year for any grants covering more than a one year period.

As we are committed to resourcing groups in the way they need, if you are offered a grant, we will have further conversations about how we develop your budget to include all the things you need to do the work sustainably.

When should the project start?

It will take around 3-6 months to receive the funds after the application deadline so the funded work should start after this time. As we are in a 2-round pilot phase we would expect projects to start within 6 months of when the grant was agreed. Please talk with your group members to consider whether it is the right time for you to apply.


What is a ‘grassroots social movement’?

Social movements are networks of groups and organisations collectively working to bring about social and political change. Grassroots movements are led by the affected community. Some recent high profiles examples of social movements include #metoo, Black Lives Matter, Occupy, Schools Strike for Climate, Indigenous land rights movement, Trans rights movement, trade union organising and disability justice organising. There are many different social movements that aim to make changes around all types of issues, ranging from climate justice, labour, racism, disability rights, immigration and many more. Some more well known movements include the abolitionist movement to end slavery and the suffragettes, who fought for women’s voting rights.

What is ‘transformative change’?

We understand that this term may have different interpretations and understandings. Our definition of transformative change is that a group; 1) has a vision of the world where inequality and oppression no longer exist, 2) is addressing imbalance of power and challenging systems of oppression and looking for solutions beyond reform and 3) includes people with lived experience of oppression. This is more fully explained in the funding criteria.

What is ‘beyond reform’?

When an organisation is working for reforms this means it is taking action to improve an existing system or institution. Working beyond reform means aiming to replace those systems and institutions with something completely different or creating a world where those institutions or systems are no longer needed. For example, an organisation working for reforms to the immigration system may lobby the government to push for a fairer system, such as better conditions in immigration detention centres, whereas those working beyond reform would be looking to end national borders so there is freedom of movement for all and detention centres no longer exist.

What is ‘lived experience of oppression’?

We live in an unequal society where people are discriminated against and oppressed due to their identity and background. Black people and People of Colour, women, LGBTQI+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex) people, migrants, refugees, disabled people and working class people are likely to face discrimination, limitations, disadvantage and abuse due to oppressive systems such as racism, sexism, transphobia, homophobia, disablism and classism and therefore have lived experience of oppression. We recognise the importance of collective, intersectional organising, which includes leadership from people on the margins based on the principles of “nothing about us, without us” developed by disability justice organisers.

Support with Applications

What if we need support with our application?

Please contact the movements team on or call/ message 07709 037861 and we will do our best to support you to submit your application. Please bear in mind that closer to the deadline we will be very busy so please try to contact us as soon as you can if you need any support.

What kinds of accessibility support do you have?

Our Care and Accessibility Pot offers up to £450 to groups who need support to apply for funding. We will provide more information on this if we invite you to make a full application. You can answer the application questions by video or audio if this is easier for you. Videos do not need to be expertly filmed and edited, it’s just to allow you to apply in spoken word if that’s what’s better for you.

What Happens Next?

Who decides on the grants?

The final decisions on which applications are successful are made by the Movement Assembly, which is made up of people who have direct experience and knowledge of grassroots movements in the UK. They are paid by JRCT for their time but are not JRCT staff. A team of JRCT staff and trustees also offer advice to the Movement Assembly.

What if I know someone in the Movement Assembly?

That’s ok, and we expect this to happen sometimes. We have a Conflict of Interest policy which means that if one or more of the Movement Assembly knows or is associated with an applicant they have to declare this and may then also be excluded from decision-making on that application.

Why does it take so long to get a decision on my application?

The Grassroots Movements Fund uses a participatory grantmaking process, which means we have a group of people with relevant life experience and knowledge of social movements who collectively decide which groups should be funded. Collective decision-making processes involving larger numbers of people, with lived experience of the issues being discussed, can take more time than traditional methods but result in better decisions being made as they are informed by people with on the ground experience.

More traditional processes typically involve a small board of trustees, often from very different backgrounds to those who ultimately benefit from the funding, who can make decisions more quickly due to being smaller in number.

Can we reapply if we’re not successful?

You may be able to reapply in following rounds, this depends on the reasons your application was not successful the first time. If you're thinking of applying again please contact us.

What if my question hasn’t been answered?

Contact the movements team on or call/ message 07709 037861.