Grant Opportunity

Critical Response Fund

Fund Details Support This Fund

Application Deadline: Closed


Crossroads Fund and the nation are witnessing a tumultuous time in history – the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has caused significant harm to people around the world. This harm is the direct result of structural failures and institutional negligence in underfunding public health departments, limiting access to healthcare, and ignoring warnings from directly impacted people. As such, Crossroads Fund re-affirms our commitment to supporting grassroots groups working to reduce the harm of these failures and are working to mobilize resources to communities in Chicago.

To continue the legacy of responding quickly and centering the leadership of people who are most directly impacted, including people of color, women, the LGBT community, we are encouraging current grantees to apply for the Critical Response Fund. Given the political moment, the fund will provide organizations with funding to protect, empower and support community members in this time of crisis. In addition, we seek to support work that radically reimagines community care, expands our notion of what is possible, and orients toward building the world we need.

Application Opens


Application Deadline



4-6 weeks

Fund Details

Funding Criteria

  • Other than meeting Crossraods Fund’s Funding Criteria, priority will be given to existing Crossroads Fund grantees (from the last 3 years) that have a track record of working collaboratively with other organizations across issues, race and geographical location.

Funding Request Types

  • *Community-based mutual aid efforts (Click here for more info on mutual aid)
  • Unexpected policy changes that place community members in harm’s way, and that require an immediate response
  • Training and convening people to strategize, build their power, promote healing and create community solidarity (including virtual strategies)
  • Forward-thinking initiatives focused on long-term transformation, new experiments in building the world that we want
  • Building organizational capacity to do strategic base building that grows our organizing community, and also to build new coalitions and partnerships
  • Supporting an organization’s digital infrastructure


  • Applicants may request between $3,000 – $10,000. Organizations with budgets under $500,000 or less will be prioritized.
  • Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis with a response time of 10 working days or less after grant submission.
  • Funding should be used within 6 months.
  • Meets Crossroads Fund’s Funding Criteria

How to Apply and Applicant Procedure

Apply through our Portal

Portal Code: ORGANIZE

Write an email to Joanna Preston, Program Associate ( and attach a one-page document with answers to the questions below.

  1. What is the nature of the emergency OR how has your organization been impacted by COVID-19?
  2. What are the planned activities, strategies, and impact in the next 6 months?
  3. Who are your partners in this work?
  4. What is your total budget for your project? Who else are you seeking funding from?
  • Submit a simple final report after 6 months.

Grantmaking Process

The application review process generally takes 7 working days for the Emergency Fund (EM).
Each application is screened by staff based on whether a group’s work falls within our Funding Criteria. Staff then makes funding recommendations to the Board of Directors for final approval. All applicants are notified of the final funding decision by phone call or email.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Crossroads Fund’s grantmaking process?
Crossroads Fund uses community grantmaking processes for a variety of funds. Please visit our Grantmaking Process page for a description of each fund’s grantmaking process.

Does Crossroads Fund support direct or social service organizations?
Crossroads Fund supports social services when linked with activism, when there is a component of social change work within the organization. Please visit read our Funding Criteria for a full discussion of social change organizing. Also check out our current grantees to see what types of groups we typically fund.

What if my group is not based in Chicago?
Crossroads Fund supports work rooted in communities in the Chicago metropolitan area. If you have any questions about geographic limits in our criteria, please email If your work would fit into Crossroads Fund’s social change funding guidelines, but you are located in another area of the United States or Puerto Rico, check out the Giving Project’s list of sister funds.

Can local chapters of national organizations apply?
Yes, when the chapter has a strong base in Chicago area communities, and an autonomous fundraising strategy (is not solely dependent on the national group for funding).

Does Crossroads Fund have grant programs for individuals?
No, Crossroads Fund supports organizations. We cannot fund individuals.

Do I have to use Crossroads Fund’s application forms?
Yes – Crossroads Fund now requires all applicants to use our online grant portal.

How do I know if my organization fits Crossroads Fund’s budgetary restrictions?
We look at an organization’s previous year’s actual expenses to determine its fit with our budgetary guidelines. Most of our funding programs are for organizations with budgets under $500,000. If your organization’s planned budget for the current fiscal year is $510,000, but your last fiscal year’s actual expenses were $485,500, you would fit. Organizational budgets slightly over $500,000 will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

What if my organization does not have 501(c)(3) 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. An organizational bank account is required for those groups not using a fiscal sponsor.
Crossroads Fund considers funding for 501(c)(4) organizations. Please contact Michael Aghuhar at to learn more.

Can I send my application via mail?
No, we no longer accept applications through the mail – all applications must be submitted through our online grant portal.

Does Crossroads Fund offer feedback on proposals that are not selected for funding?
Crossroads Fund can and will respond to requests for feedback. Please share a draft or one-pager with at least one-week prior to grant deadline. Our feedback is based on your proposed work, and how well it aligns with our current grantmaking priorities and funding strategies.

Critical Response Fund





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