Back to top
Back to top
Momentum Fund Logo

Momentum Fund

The application deadline for the Momentum Fund has passed. If you submitted an application, notifications will be sent to the primary email of the applicant organization during the week of August 3 - 7, 2020. Requests for additional information regarding the status of your application will not receive a response.

The health and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic have been devastating for the entire world, and particularly so for Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC). These disproportionate impacts did not begin with the coronavirus and are another manifestation of the deadly outcomes of systemic racism deeply rooted in our nation’s history. Change in these outcomes demands that philanthropy explicitly and unapologetically center racial equity and justice in its grantmaking practices and goals. The Momentum Fund Advisory Board knows that this work requires more than grant dollars to be successful and is also working to lift up the following three core concepts:

  • First, we are explicitly and unapologetically centering racial equity in this work. Not only will priority be given to organizations that are led by BIPOC and intentionally serving BIPOC communities, but our outreach efforts are also emphasizing the need to ensure that these organizations are aware and feel welcome to the Momentum Fund process. 
  • Second, we want to recognize the long history of effective social change provided by many of the nonprofits with which we will have the honor to partner via this work. 
  • Third, we are working to emphasize the importance of positioning grantmakers as equal partners with the nonprofits to which grants are disbursed, and other partners in the respective communities. 

Our hope is that the Momentum Fund supports much needed nonprofit infrastructure in historically marginalized, under-served and under-resourced communities that have been most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Thank you for choosing to take this journey with us.

The Momentum Fund will provide grants to 501(c)(3) organizations that manage COVID-19 funds. Priority will be given to organizations managing COVID-19 funds that are helping other nonprofits meet the needs of communities and populations whose health and/or financial situations have been most severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and who have been historically under-served and under-resourced in the United States, U.S. Territories or on Native American Reservations. Eligible applicants include, but are not limited to community foundations, women's foundations/funds, identity-based foundations/funds, United Ways, philanthropy-serving organizations, nonprofit service organizations, and community-led nonprofits. The grants will help these organizations build their capacity to effectively grow, promote, manage and sustain their funds. Each organization can define the capacity it needs and apply for a grant of up to $100,000.

Momentum Fund Eligibility & Selection Criteria

Momentum Fund Eligibility Criteria

  • Your organization is a 501(c)(3) organization (or group of 501(c)(3) organizations that has each been registered on or before April 16, 2019.
  • Your organization manages an active COVID-19 fund of at least $50,000 (pledged, committed and/or spent) that awards funds to other 501(c)(3) organizations.
  • Your COVID-19 fund make grants to organizations based in the United States, US Territories, or Native American Reservations.
  • Your COVID-19 fund can accept contributions from individuals.
  • Awards made from your COVID-19 fund benefit communities and populations that have been hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic and have been historically marginalized, under-served and under-resourced.

Momentum Fund Selection Criteria

Priority for funding will be based on how well an applicant can demonstrate the following:

  • The applicant’s COVID-19 fund prioritizes the needs of one or more communities or populations that have been historically marginalized, under-served or under-resourced.
  • The applicant is well positioned to provide COVID-19 response funding that reaches organizations that serve communities most deeply impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The applicant’s capacity-building funding request will help it to more effectively and efficiently grow, promote and manage its COVID-19 fund.
  • The applicant has an equity approach that is embedded in its COVID-19 fund work.
  • Note: priority will be given to applicants that have not already received funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to address needs related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

For questions, please contact information@momentumfund.org.

The application deadline for the Momentum Fund has passed. If you submitted an application, notifications will be sent to the primary email of the applicant organization during the week of August 3 - 7, 2020. Requests for additional information regarding the status of your application will not receive a response.

Guidelines for Completing an Application

  • You will need to create a free Submittable account in order to start your application. 
  • You can save a draft of your work if you would like to finish filling out the form at a later date. 
  • We will follow-up with you about your submission by email. Please be sure the email address you used to sign up for your Submittable Account is one that you check regularly. 
  • Please reach out to Submittable's Customer Support team with any technical questions at support@submittable.com
  • Please submit your application by 3:00pm ET on Thursday, June 18, 2020 to be considered for funding. Late submissions will not be accepted.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much is being given by the Momentum Fund?

The Momentum Fund will award a total of $8.5 million to 501(c)(3) organizations that are managing active COVID-19 funds, thanks to an investment from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The maximum grant award will be $100,000.

What is the Momentum Fund’s definition of an active COVID-19 fund?

The Momentum Fund will consider providing support to a 501(c)(3) organizations that is managing a COVID-19 fund that has the following characteristics:

  • The fund can accept contributions from multiple donors, which can include foundation and corporate donors, and is open to contributions from individual donors.
  • The fund is hosted at a 501(c)(3) organization that is serving as an intermediary to re-grant from the fund to other 501(c)(3) organizations.
  • The fund is focused on supporting COVID-19 response, relief and recovery efforts.
  • The fund is currently accepting contributions.

The Momentum Fund will consider providing support to an organization managing a COVID-19 fund that has accepted government funding, as long as it is not more than 50% funding source for the fund.

The Momentum Fund will not consider providing support to an organization managing a COVID-19 fund hosted at crowdfunding platforms such as GoFundMe or to an organization managing a fund to support its own individual work.

The Momentum Fund cares deeply about equity and will give priority to organizations that are managing funds to meet the needs of women, communities of color and other populations and geographic communities that are being hit disproportionately hard by the pandemic and that have been historically marginalized and under-served.

What types of 501(c)(3) organizations could be potential grant recipients?

Examples of the types of organization that could be potential Momentum Fund grant recipients include community foundations, women’s foundations, public foundations, social justice foundations, United Ways, philanthropy-serving organizations and community-led nonprofit organizations.

Who is managing the Momentum Fund?

United Philanthropy Forum is managing the operations of the fund. The Forum helps people who do good to do good better. The Forum is a national network of 86 regional and national philanthropy-serving organizations (PSOs) that collectively represent more than 7,000 funders, making it the largest network serving philanthropy in America. The Forum’s members represent the geographies, issues and populations that are served by philanthropy and that have been most severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Just as the Momentum Fund is helping to build the capacity of organizations that are facilitating more and better giving to address the COVID-19 pandemic, the Forum works to build the capacity of PSOs that facilitate effective philanthropy.

How will grant recipients be selected?

Applications for the Momentum Fund will be accepted unitl 3:00 pm ET on Thursday, June 18, 2020. Eligible applications will be evaluated by a 20-member Grant Review Committee The Committee is comprised of representatives of United Philanthropy Forum members from across the country that represent the populations, communities and geographies most severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Committee will review, score and make recommendations for funding to the Momentum Fund Advisory Board.

The five-member Momentum Fund Advisory Board is providing guidance for the activities of the Fund and will make final decisions about the grants to be awarded. The Advisory Board is comprised of representatives from the philanthropic infrastructure who advocate for some of the communities and populations being hit hardest by the pandemic. Representatives from the following organizations comprise the membership of the Momentum Fund Advisory Board: CHANGE Philanthropy; Donors of Color Network; Funders Together to End Homelessness; Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees and Grantmakers in Aging.

Are there specific sorts of organizations that the Momentum Fund is looking to support?

The fund’s Advisory Board is focused on support 501(c)(3) organizations that are managing COVID-19 response and recovery funds that give grants to other 501(c)(3) organizations that are meeting the needs of populations and geographic communities that have been hit disproportionately hard by the pandemic and that have been historically marginalized and under-served. This can include women, specific communities of color, rural communities, low-income communities, older adults, LGBTQ individuals, people with disabilities, immigrants and refugees, undocumented immigrants and their families, non-English speakers, people experiencing food insecurity, people experiencing domestic abuse, people experiencing housing insecurity or homelessness, people experiencing incarceration or detainment, people with no health care coverage, and people with compromised immune systems. Priority will be given to organizations that have not previously received COVID-related financial support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

What are examples of potential Momentum Fund grant recipients?

Here are a few examples of the types of 501(c)(3) organizations that would be potential grant recipients from the Momentum Fund:

  • A community-based 501(c)(3) organization in a major city has created a COVID-19 fund to support nonprofits serving under-insured COVID patients in the city’s Black communities. It needs to hire a grant manager for at least 12 months at a cost of $100,000.
  • A community foundation and United Way have come together to establish a statewide COVID-19 fund at the community foundation that is focused on supporting human service organizations that are addressing food insecurity for youth who have been impacted by the crisis. They are seeking $50,000 for an outreach and publicity campaign to identify potential grantees across the state.
  • A 501(c)(3) organization in a rural county has set up a COVID-19 fund to accept gifts from foundations, corporations and individual to provide grants to local nonprofits that are meeting the needs of isolated Latinx/o/a older people who have been impacted by the pandemic. It is seeking $25,000 to improve its online application platform.

About the Momentum Fund

The Momentum Fund is being managed by United Philanthropy Forum, which helps people who do good to do good better. The Forum is a national network of 86 regional and national philanthropy-serving organizations (PSOs) that collectively represent more than 7,000 funders, making it the largest network serving philanthropy in America. Grants from the Momentum Fund are made possible thanks to an investment by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Why the Momentum Fund

We’ve called this the Momentum Fund for several reasons:

  • The name reflects the importance of grantmakers being equal partners with the nonprofits that they fund. It is an honor for us to be able to partner with the nonprofits who are operating COVID-19 funds and providing life-sustaining resources to extremely vulnerable people.
  • We want to lift up the ingenuity, courage and commitment of the nonprofits who have successfully supported their respective constituents for many years, regardless of access to funding from foundations. The organizations that the Momentum Fund will support are being run by groups that have rich, trusting relationships with the communities they serve. The resources of the Momentum Fund will enhance the already outstanding efforts in existence.
  • We want to drive long-lasting and comprehensive change across the philanthropic sector.

Contact the Momentum Fund

For questions about the Momentum Fund, contact information@momentumfund.org.

Momentum Fund Announces Capacity Support for Organizations Managing COVID-19 Relief Funds Serving Systematically Under-Resourced BIPOC Communities - September 17, 2020

The Momentum Fund announced awarded $8.5 million in grants to 129 501(c)(3) organizations around the country managing COVID-19 relief funds that provide grants and other forms of direct support to community-run organizations working with communities of color, historically marginalized populations, and other groups being disproportionately impacted by the pandemic that continues to ravage these communities.

The Momentum Fund is guided by a five-member advisory board comprised of leaders from philanthropy-serving organizations (PSOs) who also advocate for many of the communities and populations hit hardest by the pandemic. The Fund awarded grants to organizations working in 31 states, as well as the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, mirroring the ways that COVID-19 continues to harm vulnerable communities in many geographically diverse areas of the country. Momentum Fund grantees described a wide range of urgent needs to build their capacity to effectively manage their COVID-19 funds and help their communities—as they all responded quickly to the crisis without having time to find new resources.