Are You a Grassroots Group?
If you answer yes to some or all of these questions, you should be part of our network to support inclusive and empowering local approaches to improving lives—and communities:
- Place-based. Grassroots groups are quintessentially local—with specific connections to a block, neighborhood, local institution (school, library, church, community center, etc), park, or rural area and arise from people’s shared experience with and interest in a place—an urban neighborhood or a rural community.
- People-focused. Grassroots groups are directly and immediately responsive to the needs and wishes of the people involved. A defining characteristic is that most of the work is done not only for the people involved but also by them. Grassroots groups provide the mechanism for individuals to discover and bring forth their individual gifts to their community.
- Informal structure. Grassroots groups vary in structure and formality, from more formal (with elected officers/or a board of directors, written bylaws, and members who pay dues) to very informal (without any officers or formal memberships—perhaps even without a name). They may or may not operate as a 501(c)(3) entity—but more typically do not have (and probably do not need) this designation.
- Membership. While membership may not be explicitly defined, grassroots groups work with a clear sense of who “belongs” and with the understanding that the group is a vehicle for the collective action of the members. Membership can range from two to hundreds of members.
- Duration. Grassroots groups can be temporary, transient or ongoing; they stay together so long as those involved find the association useful and fulfilling. They can be focused on a single issue or task or can work on multiple issues or tasks.
Additional Perspectives on “Grassroots”
Janis Foster Richardson, Grassroots Grantmakers’ former Executive Director, has shared some perspectives about “grassroots” on her blog, Big Thinking on Small Grants.