We’re expanding our work with a new Radical Hope Fund! Learn More and Apply!

Radical Hope Fund

The NoVo Foundation’s mission is to foster transformation from a world of domination and exploitation to one of collaboration and partnership. We remain steadfast in our approach of supporting the development of capacities in people—individually and collectively—to help create a more caring and balanced world. As one of our core values, we believe in Radical Hope: we are deeply optimistic that we can contribute to systemic progress that addresses the root causes of injustice. Grounded in that optimism, we remain focused on long-term solutions and join our voices with those who proudly advocate for fundamental social change.

A time for transformation

As we have recently noted, the work of transforming our broken systems is more urgent than ever. In the United States, we are experiencing a continued breakdown of the fundamental pillars of democracy including independently functioning branches of government, rule of law, and a free press. There is an escalating assault on human rights, and the impact reverberates globally, with the deepest impact on girls and women, communities facing racial and ethnic discrimination, LGBTQI people, Indigenous peoples, people with disabilities, immigrants and refugees, and other marginalized people and communities around the world. In the face of extreme greed, violence, and inequality, we are experiencing barriers and divisions that threaten the strength of our movements and achievement of our deeply held visions. Yet the social-justice community often still operates in hierarchies, we lean on habits and structures that do not serve us, and show up to do the work of social change as parts of ourselves rather than as whole people.

This is why we must develop strategies to overcome the structural failures that are undermining our communities, including racism, misogyny, xenophobia, transphobia, and other forms of structurally reinforced hate, bigotry, and exclusion.

Responding to this moment with collaboration, creativity and courage

This moment calls for creativity and innovation, grounded in the wisdom of those both past and present who have resisted, subverted, and transcended oppressive conditions and policies. We must nurture community-based solutions, safeguard human rights, and strengthen key sectors and institutions that ensure a society oriented around compassion and justice. We are called to dig deeper for different ways of being, rooted in love of humanity and the Earth. We must trust in the experience, vision and leadership of the communities bearing the brunt of regressive policies and violence, including girls and women, communities facing racial and ethnic discrimination, LGBTQI people, Indigenous peoples, people with disabilities, immigrants and refugees, and other marginalized people and communities around the world.

Deepening our collective ability to build a more just and balanced world

With this in mind, the NoVo Foundation has made a four-year, $20 Million commitment to support efforts that advance a collective response to this moment and build the movements we need for the future we imagine. The intention of this Fund is to complement NoVo’s current work, either by supporting organizations and efforts that may not thematically align with the existing initiatives, or by encouraging organizations to go deeper and farther with connection, collaboration, and courage. It is grounded in hope that a time of great challenge can also spur a moment of unprecedented collaboration and imagination, deepening our collective ability to build a more just and balanced world.

Fund Guidelines

This Fund seeks to support efforts that are bold and imaginative, focused on building the movements we need, with efforts that will springboard us forward in this moment of both crisis and opportunity. This means that we must engage in strategies that are adaptive and that aim for transformation rather than solely incremental change.

In the spirit of boldness and imagination, the Radical Hope Fund will focus on supporting the following essential strategies for change:

  • Bringing communities together for cross-issue, cross-sectoral organizing that centers feminist leadership, including but not limited to policy advocacy campaigns
  • Global solidarity and transnational movement-building connecting issues and movements that are aligned in their purpose and vision
  • Leveraging the power of media, culture, and the arts to engage in storytelling and share ideas, moving hearts and minds for change, including creating new strategic platforms and collaboration between artists/culture-makers and movement organizations
  • Seeding experiments in building new structures and systems to propel us into a world that is oriented around interdependence, mutuality, and love rather than domination and extraction, with an emphasis on cultivating local, community-driven solutions

To gain a broader awareness of work happening across the country and transnationally, NoVo is accepting Letters of Inquiry (LOIs) that align with the goals of this Fund, prioritizing organizations and collaborative efforts in accordance with the following guiding principles:

  • Seizing the opportunity to be bold, creative, and risk-taking in a way that expands our notions of what is possible
  • Demonstrating sharp strategic approach, with particular focus on organizing and building power that centers feminist leadership, especially the leadership of girls and women (cis-, trans-, and gender non-conforming) of color
  • Building organizational capacity to go the distance with alliances, coalitions, and networks, and reach across issues, sectors, and other traditional divisions in our movements
  • Holding a national and global perspective that connects movements and defies the false nationalism both being touted by the current U.S. administration and on the rise globally
  • Adopting a proactive stance that keeps a view of the horizon and building a foundation for the future, even as we do defensive and resistance work
  • Reexamining how we show up to do the work of social justice and experimenting with ways of doing/being that center our humanity, interrupting movement habits in favor of practices that will sustain leaders and movements in the long run
  • Bolstering security and adaptation of groups that amplify the voices of targeted communities and/or challenge the normalization of white supremacy, xenophobia, and misogyny

Project Qualifications

  • Not limited to any single issue or geographic area. Within the United States, efforts based in under-resourced parts of the country are encouraged to apply.
  • Registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations, 501(c)(3) equivalent organizations outside of the U.S., or any initiatives/groups/collaborations with a 501(c)(3) fiscal sponsor, including current NoVo grantee partners, are welcome to submit a Letter of Inquiry. At this time, we are unable to directly support individuals or other formations outside of nonprofit organizations.
  • Funding will be allocated primarily as project support rather than core support to affirm organizations’ and collaborative efforts’ interest in being bolder and trying ventures that they otherwise would not be able to without dedicated funding.
  • Current NoVo grantees are eligible to apply, but are encouraged to consider how this project support will enable them to engage in creative collaborations, bold new campaigns, or strategic experiments.
  • Projects may produce immediate results on a 1- or 2-year timespan, but most grants will support reaching project goals over the next four years.
  • Projects may include a planning phase, particularly if newly emerging collaborations/alliances are key to the project objectives.
  • Total Project Budgets should be at least $250,000 per year. In the case of a single organization, project budgets should not exceed 33 percent of the organization’s total annual budget. In the case of some newly formed initiatives/coalitions/campaigns, the project budget may be the same as the total budget of the collaboration, but should not exceed 33 percent of the total combined organizational budgets.

LOIs should be submitted via our online submission form only by 12:00pm Eastern time (UTC -4) on Wednesday, October 4, 2017. LOIs will not be accepted by mail or email.