Chinook Fund Program for LGBTQ Communities based in Colorado

A grant from Chinook Fund draws groups closer to Colorado’s progressive social change movement, via the unique grassroots community-led grantmaking process in which applicants meet each other and meet the grantmakers, who are also working in Colorado’s progressive social change movement.

Donor Name: Chinook Fund

State: Colorado

County: All Counties

Type of Grant: Grant

Deadline (mm/dd/yyyy): 02/21/2022

Size of the Grant: $1,000 to $10,000


Funding Criteria

Chinook funds organizations working to challenge the root causes of oppression, rather than treating the symptoms. Chinook believes the root causes of the most serious social problems include systemic racism, sexism, heterosexism, classism, ableism and ageism. They identify effective social change as efforts that strive to include these key elements:

  • Constituent-Led:
    • The work is led by the people most impacted by injustice. Unlike a traditional charity model, they believe that those most affected by the issue have the vision and solutions for their own liberation – and that the development of their leadership, skills, and power should be prioritized. (How does the organization demonstrate their work is driven by the people it affects? Does leadership make-up reflect the people most affected by an issue or oppression holding roles where they can shape the strategies and terms of their own liberation? FOR YOUTH ORGANIZING: How is youth voice being incorporated into leadership? Is there a youth advisory board or other decision-making body?)
  • Community-Wide:
    • The work reflects all members of the constituency, especially those who experience multiple forms of oppression. This ensures that change for the community leaves no one behind, especially for those who have less privilege within the community. (Does the organization work towards change that will affect all members of a constituency that are exploited, oppressed, or marginalized – taking into account those that face multiple oppressions? Is the organization working to build a multi-racial, multi-class, multi-gendered social justice movement?)
  • Lasting Effect:
    • The work makes change not just for one individual today, but for the community as a whole, and for future generations. Generally this means organizing collective action to change systems and institutions. (Will the proposed work help build concrete and lasting political power to address the underlying causes of the problems that it addresses? How does this organization define the root cause of the issue they are working to change?)
      NOTE: Their anti-oppression frameworks in the Giving Project model position Black Liberation & Indigenous Sovereignty as a national priority. This is not the only type of work Chinook will fund, but these are the communities and voices they are centering in the work, internally and externally.

Types of Funding

  • Start-Up Grants
    • Available to groups that are less than 4 years old. Groups must demonstrate a vision and plan for meeting Chinook Fund criteria, but do not need a proven track record of success. Groups can apply multiple times in this category, as long as they are less than 4 years old. The maximum grant award is $4,000.
  • Established Grants
    • Available to any group, but the competition for grants is tougher, as it includes organizations that have been working successfully on social justice issues for a number of years. The maximum grant award is $10,000.
  • Multi-Year Grants
    • Will be considered for organizations who apply in the Established category, have been funded at least twice during the last 5 years, and who receive the highest level of funding in the current cycle.

Priority is given to organizations that are:

  • Engaging in Community Organizing Work;
  • Collaborative or working in alliance with other progressive groups as a way to build multiple strategies for bringing social change;
  • Risk-taking by doing work that may be controversial, marginalized, and/or new and emerging;
  • Strategic and working with a long-term vision which clearly links to current plans;
  • Achieving concrete success which has positively impacted the community;
  • Raise money from multiple sources throughout the community, such as foundations, businesses, individuals, special events, and income generating projects.

Funding Information

This year, they will give out grants from $1,000 to $10,000 to a range of groups working on human rights, racial justice, economic justice, environmental protection, peace and other social justice issues.

Organization Status

  • Chinook Fund supports non-profit organizations, including those that do not have 501(c)3 status. Fiscal sponsorship for those organizations without tax-exempt status is recommended but not required. If a fiscal sponsor is not used, an organizational bank account is required.

All successful applicants must:

  • Be based in communities facing injustice or oppression, including but not limited to communities of color, low-income communities, LGBTQ communities, disabilities communities, immigrant communities.
  • Have democratic leadership, decision-making and organizing that is led by and accountable to people most directly impacted by the issue or injustice
  • Demonstrate that the work can lead to permanent progressive change for their community
  • Be engaged in efforts to dismantle privilege and oppression within their organization and community
  • Be based in Colorado (with possible exceptions made for regional indigenous groups)
  • Have an annual budget of $350,000 or less

Grant making Process

They convene a group of community activists who have direct experience working for social justice on the ground to lead decision-making around all of the funding. They are constantly working to ensure that the grantmaking committee is representative of the diverse communities, issues, and regions they fund, and they partner with donors/allies who follow the lead of activists. This means that Chinook is led by, and accountable to, the communities they serve – just as they require their grantees to be. And it means the committee is ideally suited to ensure that Chinook targets its resources to the organizations with the most potential and the best track record for making effective social change in Colorado.

Giving Project cohort members review all proposals, conduct site visits, and make funding decisions using a unique consensus-based process. In all its deliberations, the committee is bent towards determining which organizations will transform society into a just and free environment for all people.

For more information, visit Chinook Fund Grant