Funding Criteria

All applicants must meet the following criteria to be considered for funding:

  • Working for Social Change: Crossroads Fund supports organizations working to examine and challenge the underlying causes of injustice affecting their communities. They seek to change the conditions, institutions, and policies that create and maintain inequality and oppression.
  • Cross-Issue Organizing: Our grantees work with an understanding of the connectedness among the various people and issues that make up the whole community.
  • Grassroots Leadership: We support groups that involve the people who are directly affected by an issue at all levels of the organization - in planning, organizing and leading, and working to continue building leadership within the grassroots community.
  • Solid Plan: We fund groups whose work is driven by the following:
    - a clear purpose with well-planned goals, objectives, activities and a tool to measure outcomes and impact;
    - a timeline and budget that reflects the proposed objectives and activities;
    - a realistic fundraising plan.
  • Work in the Chicago Metropolitan Area: Crossroads Fund supports organizations rooted in communities in the Chicago metropolitan area, including Northwestern Indiana, which we define as the area between the state border and Gary, IN. If you have any questions about our catchement area, please email
  • Budget: Groups with previous year annual expenses under $500,000.
 Priority is given to organizations that are:
  • 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.
 Types of Work Supported for ALL grants
Crossroads supports many different forms of social change organizing, such as (but not limited to):
  • Direct Action Organizing;
  • Public Policy Advocacy;
  • Art & Cultural work that is community-based and linked to activism;
  • Economic Development;
  • International Solidarity;
  • Action Research as an organizing strategy to identify, document and analyze information, in partnership with a community group;
  • Media Advocacy that promotes greater public understanding of critical issues and increasing organizing outreach efforts;
  • Social Services linked with Activism;
  • Leadership Development and Training;
  • Providing Resources for Local Activists;
  • Working Collaboratively Across Issues and Communities;
  • Gatherings and Conferences.
Organization Status
Crossroads 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.

To comply with IRS regulations, Crossroads Fund cannot:
  • fund organizations involved in electoral campaigns;
  • contribute substantially to support lobbying at the federal, state, or local levels; or
  • support private, in contrast to public, interest.