We support nonprofits helping people & places move out of poverty & achieve greater social & economic justice.

Grants

Who Should Apply

The Babcock Foundation invites proposals from local, statewide, regional and national nonprofits serving the South that have track records of helping people and places move out of poverty and achieve greater social and economic justice. We look for the most promising opportunities to support power building work to advance racial equity and social and economic justice. A likely candidate for funding would align with the Foundation’s mission, vision and values and demonstrate the following characteristics:  

  • Accountability to low-wealth communities: Our grantee partners have meaningful connections with low-wealth people and are accountable to communities through their governance structures. These organizations have people of color and people directly affected by systems of oppression in leadership positions, including their boards of directors, steering committees and executive roles. 
  • Clear analysis and strategies: We look to partner with groups that have a clear analysis of how race and power are operating in a given context at a given moment. This analysis informs strategies for increasing impact, fostering trusting relationships with communities and leveraging political will to dismantle harmful systems and policies at the local, state, regional and/or institutional level. 
  • Networks, alliances and resources: We look to support goal-oriented, values-aligned networks to leverage resources, share strategies and achieve impact in ways that make sense in their places. These networks may be formal or informal, short-term or long-term, and structured in a variety of ways. We encourage networks that include both grassroots organizations and statewide or institutional partners.
  • ​Long-term view:  Change rarely happens overnight, particularly in the South. Our partners take a long-term view of what is needed to change systems and policies, build power, and advance social and economic justice and racial equity.
  • Strategic and opportunistic:  In addition to supporting long-term, patient systems change work, we aim to be nimble and responsive when the moment to act is now to improve the lives of people and communities. 

The Foundation also remains open to new thinking about how to address poverty in the South. One way we learn about promising work across the region is through our open inquiry process. We are pleased to receive organizational summaries from organizations that meet our eligibility requirements and fit with our program description.  

Examples of work the Foundation does not fund include:

  • Direct service programs
  • Individual elementary or secondary schools -- charter, private or public
  • Scholarships
  • Athletes, teams or sporting events, including charity golf tournaments
  • Fundraising events such as walk-a-thons, telethons and sponsorships
  • Endowments and cash reserves
  • Grants to individuals

Where We Work

The Foundation funds work that builds power to advance racial equity across an 11-state Southern footprint: Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia. 

How Funds May Be Used

Organizations may use funds for:

  • General operating support 
  • Project support 
  • “Glue” support for networks of grassroots and partner organizations 
  • Organizational development 

Size and duration of grants: The size and duration of grants are matched to an organization’s scale of impact, needs, capabilities and opportunities. Once invited to apply, potential grantees will work with a network officer to determine the amount and duration of grants. 

Program-related investments: We look for opportunities to make below-market-rate investments to spur economic development in low-wealth communities. The Foundation typically makes these PRIs to community development financial institutions with missions and impacts consistent with our grant-making priorities. 

DOWNLOAD our PROGRAM DESCRIPTION

Application Process

  1. A prospective grantee partner submits an organizational summary at any point in the year.
  2. MRBF staff review the organizational summary to determine whether to invite the organization to submit a full grant proposal.
  3. MRBF staff provide full application instructions and guidelines to any organization invited to apply.
  4. Once the full proposal is received, staff will conduct a series of conversations and a meeting to learn about the organization.
  5. If the organization is a good fit for MRBF funding, staff will write a recommendation to the board of directors for approval.
  6. The board of directors reviews proposals and approves grants each February, June and October.

Submit an organizational summary

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Most Recent Grants

West Virginia Food and Farm Coalition (2022)

Amount: $112,500
End Year: 2022

West Virginia Food and Farm Coalition works to build the state's food and agriculture system in a way that provides viable incomes for farmers and local foods businesses and ensures all residents have access to locally produced food. This grant provides general operating support.

West Virginia Community Development Hub Inc. (2022)

Amount: $300,000
End Year: 2024

The WV Community Development Hub serves as the key West Virginia entity that anchors community development activities across dozens of West Virginia communities and works to catalyze the state’s community development system. The Hub’s purpose is to (1) Coach volunteer community leadership teams to help them build sustained development in rural communities; and (2) Grow the overall community economic development system in West Virginia through collaborative partnerships that use innovative approaches to address systemic challenges for rural development. This grant provides general operating support.

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