Applications are NOW due by 5 pm est Fri, March 17, 2023

Movement and Power Building Grant Cycle

Who Is Eligible to Apply
Contigo Fund seeks proposals for efforts based in Orlando and across Central Florida supporting Pulse-affected and LGBTQ+ communities historically marginalized by society from equal opportunity & power:

  • Proposals welcomed by existing and emerging leaders, groups, organizations, and coalitions should help grow and sustain capacity and forward movement to empower LGBTQ+ people living at the intersection of marginalized identities, particularly Black and Latinx individuals, immigrants, and other communities of color.
  • Must be a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization or fiscally sponsored by a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. Groups do not need 501(c)(3) tax exempt status to apply. Those lacking 501(c)(3) status can apply as being fiscally sponsored under the auspices of an established 501(c)(3). Fiscally sponsored groups are required to submit a fiscal sponsorship agreement outlining the roles of both the fiscal sponsor and the fiscally sponsored group and signed by representatives of both parties. If your group does not yet have a fiscal sponsor, contact the Foundation Manager for assistance connecting with potential sponsors.
  • Fiscally sponsored groups need to have an oversight and accountability structure in place or develop a plan for such a structure before receiving a grant. The oversight and accountability structure for the group can be a Community Steering or Advisory Committee of local community members that reflects the community the group seeks to support, setting the group’s vision and guiding its work like a board of directors. Please note the group’s oversight and accountability structure is separate from the fiscal sponsor’s governance structure. The community steering / advisory committee informs the group’s work in alignment with the group’s mission and provides oversight of the group’s financial health and executive leadership. The oversight and accountability structure in place – or plan to develop one – must include an outline of the committee’s roles and responsibilities, including how the committee will provide oversight of the group’s executive leadership/staff.
  • Very strong preference will be given to organizations with less than $1 million in expenses.
  • Regardless of their structure or age, the applicant’s proposal should be able to demonstrate their alignment with the values of Contigo and potential for advancing its vision and theory of change.
  • Preference is given to projects and programs that respond to a distinct unmet need in the target communities and employ medium-term to long-term solutions.
  • Applicants must be a part of a capacity-building program / learning community and will be asked to participate with other community leaders, including convenings, leadership and organizational development training, and peer learning opportunities. Contigo will cover training costs, and the applicant core staff and board or advisory committee members should be prepared to devote appropriate time and thought to participate actively in these opportunities.

Some Considerations For Start-ups / Newly Emerging Organizations, Programs, & Consultants

To maintain a healthy social justice ecosystem where grassroots efforts and leaders can thrive, applicants need to understand the different challenges and opportunities of various organizational structures, particularly the differences between an organization, a program, or an individual consultant. All three structures have advantages and drawbacks, and your goals and scope of work should determine your chosen structure. We strongly encourage any new or emerging applicants to reach out to Contigo staff to discuss these questions so that we can help you develop the strongest application possible. Below are some general guidelines to help you consider what structure may be best suited to your work:

For a Grassroots Start-up / Newly Emerged Organization (eligible for Contigo grant funding)…

  • An organization is typically a “community of leaders” with a membership base and the need for multiple staff. This structure is best suited for groups that employ multiple strategies and programs and engage a wide range of members or volunteers to advance a broad mission. 
  • An organization must identify and understand the problem it seeks to address. An organization must have a theory of change and articulate clear strategies and how they are uniquely positioned to solve the problem.
  • An organization must have a fundraising value proposition and potential for long-term sustainability.
  • An organization must have an accountability structure in the form of a community board or board of directors for oversight of finances, the executive director, and the organization. 
  • An organization may be an independent 501(c)(3) or an autonomous fiscally sponsored project with its own advisory board or steering committee. 
  • Organizations typically are not led by just a singular leader or pair of leaders. See the other structures below for work driven by just one or a couple of people.

For a Program (eligible for Contigo grant funding)…

  • This structure is best suited for groups driven by one or two leaders and focused on one or two strategies – without the more burdensome fundraising and financial management capacity required for an autonomous organization.
  • Programs allow a singular or pair of leaders to focus on the unique expertise/skills they can offer without requiring them to take on the full responsibilities of running an organization. Programs can be incorporated into the work of an existing organization with mission alignment.
  • Unlike organizations, a program leader would not be solely responsible for fundraising to sustain the program. Similarly, though an accountability structure could still exist for the program, such as an advisory committee, the leader would not be solely responsible for the formation, development, and engagement of a community board or board of directors to oversee the organization. 

For an Individual Consultant (not eligible for Contigo grant funding)…

  • This structure is best suited to entrepreneurial leaders providing support, training, or capacity-building to a range of nonprofit organizations. It does not require any advisory board, membership base, or fundraising plan. 
  • Unlike a program, an individual consultant is not limited to one organization. A nonprofit / grassroots individual consultant is a leader who can flexibly offer their unique expertise, skills, and services to an array of organizations as an independent contractor, sometimes paid for a project in a lump sum or at an hourly rate based on an estimate or scope of work. 
  • While individual consultants are invaluable resources for our movement, Contigo does not provide direct grants to consultants. 

What We’ll Fund
Contigo Fund will fund organizations to do several types of activities to advance its mission. Organizations may apply for support for one or more of the following:

Healing and Empowerment: Projects that provide opportunities for healing for Pulse-affected and LGBTQ+ communities historically marginalized by society from equal opportunity and power. Including peer-led support groups, community organizing, and other programs that focus not only on providing culturally and linguistically competent services but on empowering community members to advocate for long-term systemic and transformative change. 

Advancing Racial Equity and Justice: Projects that address societal, structural and systemic racism and other inequities in health outcomes. Anti-racist strategies that address systemic barriers for LGBTQ+ people of color. Alternatively, efforts that address root causes and focuses on a particular intervention, such as training for policy change within a specific issue area. Other examples include addressing: online disinformation and hate; white supremacist violence and rhetoric; and voter subversion and suppression that undermine democracy and entrench systemic inequities.

Leadership Development: Projects that promote leadership development, including popular and political education and grassroots and advocacy training and skills building, among LGBTQ+ communities historically marginalized by society from equal opportunity and power.

Work led by trans/gender-expansive/intersex individuals and women, undocumented leaders, sex workers, and youth: Projects that center and are led by women of color, transgender, queer, gender expansive, intersex and/or undocumented leaders, sex workers, and youth.

Bridge-Building: Projects that create opportunities for meaningful connection, mutual learning, and coalition among Central Florida’s diverse communities, especially between LGBTQ+ Black and Latinx, Muslim, Immigrant, and other communities of color.

Racial, Economic, and Gender Justice-focused: Projects that raise an intersectional awareness to address homophobia, transphobia, patriarchy, gender inequity or inequality, gender-based violence, Islamophobia, xenophobia, racism, economic inequity, and other forms of bigotry and disparities.

Safety and Security: Establishing safety and security measures in response to the rise of anti-LGBTQ hate and mass violence  – particularly against transgender, nonbinary, drag communities and people of color – and advocacy and organizing focused on systemic change – including addressing gun violence and advancing access and control measures. 

Grants will not be awarded to:

  • Efforts outside of Central Florida;
  • For charity, direct cash assistance, or individual scholarships;
  • 501(c)4;
  • Efforts led by other philanthropic grantmaking institutions or for the purpose of re-granting;
  • Health service organizations (including those that operate pharmacies) with revenue generated from the 340B drug program that do not reinvest 100% of that revenue into community programs for and led by impacted communities; and
  • Sponsorships for conferences, fundraisers, or other annual or one-time events

…exceptions may be made for service / educational events, such as strategic conferences and convenings that are part of larger movement strategy; however, must demonstrate how it would advance a strong long-term systemic impact on target communities in a way that lives beyond that event.

How Proposals Will be Evaluated
The Contigo Fund Community Board will evaluate proposals based on several critical criteria:

Demonstrate community leadership & accountability: Projects are led by and in partnership with the Pulse-affected and historically marginalized LGBTQ+ communities they support and are responsive and accountable to those communities.

Fills a gap in the community: Projects respond to a unique need within the community that existing institutions historically have not or currently are not adequately addressing & solutions will be long-lasting. 

Collaborate: Applicants must form strategic partnerships and collaborate with other grantees and social justice partners.

Demonstrate institutional commitment: Applicants must show evidence of their commitment to support LGBTQ+ communities of color, including nondiscrimination policies that include sexual orientation and gender identity and past institutional support for addressing issues affecting a diversity of LGBTQ+ communities, including people of color, transgender people, and immigrants.

Have clear goals: The proposal outlines a plan that is well thought out with clear goals, outcomes, & strategies.

Track record of success: Returning applicants must be able to articulate their impact both quantitatively and qualitatively, including the number of folks meaningfully impacted by their work, the number of leaders built and engaged in opportunities to lead in the movement, and demonstrating an ability to build bridges and coalitions around the issues they are addressing.