Supporting Nonviolence and Social Justice Since 1974.
168 Canal Street, New York, New York 10013 (212) 533-4335 [email protected]

(updated December 9, 2016)

If supporting social justice activism is important to you, please DONATE NOW to help sustain this important grantmaking program.

The Social Justice Fund supports grassroots activist projects in the United States and around the world, giving priority to those with small budgets and little access to more mainstream funding sources. Please read our guidelines carefully and review our rosters of past grants on our website before applying to the Muste Institute for funding.

2017 application deadlines (all Mondays):

  • February 6 (for decisions in late April)
  • June 19 (for decisions in mid September)
  • October 2 (for decisions in mid December)

Sign up for our email list to get notification of any changes to our guidelines, deadlines, or priorities.


The Muste Institute's Social Justice Fund considers proposals:

  • for new projects or campaigns, or efforts to expand existing work
  • for ongoing projects or campaigns
  • for capacity building, leadership development, and resource sustainability
  • for projects with expense budgets under $50,000
  • for projects which are local, regional, national or global in scope
  • from groups located anywhere in the world
  • from grassroots organizations with annual expenses of less than $500,000
  • from groups with limited access to more mainstream funding sources
  • from groups that may be unincorporated or incorporated*
  • from groups with or without 501(c)3 status or a fiscal sponsor*
  • from groups which have not received Social Justice Fund grants from us in at least two years**

The Social Justice Fund's priority is to support:

  • direct grassroots activism and organizing
  • groups with diverse, representative and democratic leadership structures
  • groups which have or can obtain sufficient economic and in-kind support from a diversity of sources to carry out their regular work, but need additional support to carry out a project or build capacity

Although we value the work, we do NOT consider grant proposals for the following:

  • general support of ongoing operations
  • individual efforts or scholarships
  • schools or universities
  • organizations with significant access to government, corporate or mainstream charitable funding
  • academic or research projects
  • art, theater, film or video projects which are not directly tied to activism or organizing
  • economic development projects
  • capital campaigns or expenses
  • direct social services
  • legal defense or litigation
  • lobbying or electoral campaigns
  • projects geared toward participants’ personal improvement or business success
  • conflict resolution or violence reduction projects, unless they directly promote activism
  • projects that will have already taken place by the time the grant is received (decisions take about 12 weeks--see timeline below)

* The Muste Institute's Social Justice Fund only requires a fiscal sponsor if the group receiving the grant does not have its own bank account; we cannot issue checks to individuals. If you cannot receive a grant check made out to the name of your organization, you will need a fiscal sponsor.

** The Social Justice Fund will not accept a new request from a previously funded group for two years after a grant. If you submitted a proposal in July 2014 and received a grant in September 2014, you will be eligible to apply again in June 2016 for grants made in September 2016. If you are unsure about when you will qualify, check in with our office before applying.


2017 application deadlines (all Mondays):

  • February 6 (for decisions in late April)
  • June 19 (for decisions in mid September)
  • October 2 (for decisions in mid December)

Sign up for our email list to get notification of any changes to our guidelines, deadlines, or priorities. Preliminary applications must be received via email no later than the end of the day on the deadline date.


Submit a preliminary application via email to [email protected]. Download our preliminary application form here to fill out on your computer.

Format: We accept preliminary applications in files with *.doc, *.docx, *.odt, *.rtf or *.pdf file extensions. The preliminary application must include all required information in ONE document of two pages or less, with NO additional documents or attachments. Please do not include graphics.

Subject header: Email your application using the subject header: "SJF [deadline month] 2017:" (without brackets or quotes) followed by your organization's name. This will help us identify your message as a preliminary application, rather than a general inquiry. (Important: applications sent without "SJF" in the subject header may end up not being considered.)

Timeline: About three weeks after the deadline date, we will let you know whether your preliminary application has been accepted for further consideration. If so, you will then have two weeks to submit a full proposal and additional materials via email. To see what the full proposal must include, click here: http://ajmuste.org/sjf-full.htm. Please do NOT submit a full proposal unless invited to do so. Final decisions on full proposals are expected about 12 weeks after the deadline date.

If you receive a grant, you will have to provide a complete grant report and financial accounting, demonstrating that the grant money was used for the purpose intended. This report is due as soon as the money is spent or within six months, whichever comes first (until funds are spent, you must submit an updated report every six months).

If you are seeking funding for a film, video, theater, art or other media project, please click here — www.ajmuste.org/media.htm — to read our criteria for such proposals before applying.