Field Notes

Grassroots Philanthropy

We interpret grassroots development work to mean: supporting small scale projects that work toward empowering individuals with an overall goal of achieving a positive impact in a community. For us, it’s about identifying areas where basic needs are not met or met insufficiently in three areas; education, health, and economic development.

These can be broken down to food insecurity, where children suffer from hunger and malnutrition, removing barriers to accessing education, as children are often held back from going to school because their parents can’t afford the costs of learning materials and uniforms, and to assist families who are living on less than a dollar a day to experience small scale entrepreneurship.

We support projects that help families struggling because they are caught in a cycle of bonded labor, have disabilities, are from marginalized cmmunities, or are born into a low status (caste) in society. We support community organizations on the ground, closest to the people who are working to reduce poverty through skills training, vocational education, and income generation activities like raising goats and cows.

Often NGOs find their way to us via the internet or by word of mouth from previous grantees. Sometimes, when we’re in the field, we ask locals “who is doing good work” in your community? Generally, we’ve found that if someone is doing good work in a community, people will know about it. They will be anxious to show you how their lives have changed for the better. This is a common sense approach to grassroots philanthropy. Having said that, we have specific guidelines that outline our funding priorities. We also ask that each proposal includes the information listed below.

Basic Outline for Grant Proposals

  1. Defining the problem

A. Background description of problem

  • What is the issue of concern?
  • What is the target population?
  • What are the needs of the people/population who will be the beneficiaries/recipients?
  • How has this need been determined?

B. Has this issue been helped or addressed previously?

  • Why or why not?
  • By whom?

2. Defining the project

  • What is the scope of your project?
  • What is the purpose of the project?
  • What are the goals and objectives of the project?
  • How will you measure project objectives?

3. Defining evaluative measures & lessons learned from the project

  • What indicators will be used to measure the success of the project?
  • What criteria will be used to evaluate the project?
  • What are the deliverables in which this data will be presented?

4. Defining the estimated time frame for the project

  • Can this project be deemed sustainable?
  • Can there be long term plans for this project?
  • What are the long term plans?

5. Defining your budget

  • What are the anticipated project costs?
  • Are there resources in the local community that can be used to help the project?