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


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. 


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 Center on Budget and Policy (2023)

Amount: $300,000
End Year: 2025

WVCBP’s mission is to use research and analysis to advance the well-being of West Virginia communities and to promote and support the essential role of government in improving the quality of life in the state. This grant provides general operating support.

Voice of the Experienced (VOTE) (2023)

Amount: $375,000
End Year: 2025

Voice of the Experienced is a grassroots organization founded and run by formerly incarcerated people, their families, friends and allies. VOTE is dedicated to restoring the full human and civil rights to the people most affected by the criminal injustice system. This grant provides general operating and organizational development support.

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