Tides Foundation - WE LEAD Fall 2022 Grantmaking Cycle


Tides Foundation is pleased to announce the Request for Proposal for the Women’s Environmental Leadership Fund’s (WE LEAD) Fall 2022 round of grantmaking. This announcement includes background information regarding the WE LEAD Fund and important details about the application process.

About WE LEAD 

WE LEAD is a Tides Foundation pooled grantmaking initiative that launched in 2020 with an explicit focus on addressing historic inequities by directing resources to Black, Indigenous, and Women of Color (BIWOC)-led climate justice organizations.

WE LEAD recognizes the disproportionate impacts of climate change on low-income communities and communities of color, the people and places least responsible for the climate crisis. And yet, despite bearing the burden of climate change impact, an analysis completed by The New School concluded that of the $1.34 billion dollars distributed by national environmental grantmakers between 2016-2017, only 1.3 percent was awarded to environmental justice organizations. The disparity is also gendered: Between 70 to 80 percent of philanthropic funding goes to organizations run by men. We must invest in the leadership of women of color and BIWOC-led organizations in a deep and sustained way.

WE LEAD invests in climate justice work that lifts up solutions to address the root causes of climate change and simultaneously seeks to address related and intersectional social, racial, gender, economic, and environmental injustices. By being intentional in our efforts to provide resources to strengthen power among BIWOC leaders and their organizations, we can ensure they have what they need to sustain and thrive seeing us through to a new era of social justice and climate security.

About Tides

Tides is a philanthropic partner and nonprofit accelerator dedicated to building a world of shared prosperity and social justice. Our mission is to accelerate the pace of social change, working with innovative partners to solve society’s toughest problems. We work at the nexus of funders, change makers, and policy, bringing together a larger and diverse coalition of mission-aligned actors to amplify our power to scale positive impact.

Tides aims to strengthen the power of groups who face systemic barriers to resources and opportunities – especially BIPOC leaders, their organizations, and communities. We are committed to building capacity and growing resources for those who face barriers to power in order to influence a more equitable social change sector.


Funding Priorities

What we are looking for:

  • Organizations led by 51% or more Black, Indigenous, women of color. Leadership is defined as staff and board that are responsible for decisions on resources, policies, or the core strategies of the organization or program seeking funding. Women include cis-gender women, transgender women, two-spirit, gender non-binary, and gender non-conforming.
  • Organizations whose mission or values are grounded in environmental justice principles.* 
    • Organizational leadership is based in the community and the community has been defined with some geographic or identity-based definitions.
    • These organizations represent communities that are historically and systematically overburdened by pollution and climate change.
    • These organizations are rooted in, accountable to, and representative of communities of color, low-income communities, and tribal and Indigenous groups who are most directly impacted by the issues being addressed.
    • They are committed to building local power and leadership to influence the decisions that affect their communities.
  • Organizations or programs that center their strategy on addressing the root causes and impacts of climate change and solutions-based approaches to systemic change, including but not limited to:
    • Shaping and influencing climate and environmental policy decisions at the local, state, and/or regional level
    • Equitable access to community-based clean, renewable energy solutions
    • Climate mitigation and adaptation efforts
    • Direct action, community engagement, civic participation, and movement building
    • The abatement of pollution and toxic emissions from the fossil fuel industry to improve the health and well-being of fenceline communities
    • Equitable access to clean air, water, and land for community-based climate solutions

While climate justice should be a central part of the applicant's work, we are especially focused on supporting efforts that intersect with gender, racial, and economic justice, and equitable health outcomes.

Priority consideration will be given to: 

  • BIWOC-led organizations [if organizations/programs are fiscally sponsored we are only interested in the leadership demographics of the organization/program seeking support, not the fiscal agency]
  • Grassroots and frontline organizations with climate/environmental program budgets under or close to $1 million
  • Organizations with a demonstrated commitment to building local power and leadership to influence the decisions that affect the impact of climate change on their communities
  • Organizations working in the following regions: Appalachia, Gulf South, Midwest, Southeast, and Southwest

What WE LEAD does not fund: 

  • Work or organizations outside of the United States
  • Projects inconsistent with a legitimate charitable purpose and applicable law, including any political campaign intervention or impermissible private benefit
  • Projects inconsistent with Tides vision, mission and approach, our organizational values, and WE LEAD’s funding priorities
  • Organizations that are 501(c)(4)s, or for-profit social enterprises, without charitable purpose

What is the grant size and overall funding available? 

  • In this round, WE LEAD will grant a total of $2M.
  • We anticipate grants will fall in the range of $25k-$100k. Up to 30% of grants will be two-year commitments paid in one installment or an annual installment.

Application Process and Timeline

The deadline for proposals is September 29, 2022, at 5:00 pm (PST). 

In an effort to streamline our grantmaking processes and make them less burdensome for grant seekers, proposals will be submitted through the JustFund platform using their common proposal.

The WE LEAD Independent Advisory Committee, composed of representatives spanning Tides leadership, philanthropy, and advocacy teams will review proposals and make recommendations for funding using the WE LEAD funding priorities and values in alignment with Tides’ vision, mission, and approach. The advisory committee will review and weigh proposals to make final recommendations to Tides, which holds ultimate discretion over issuing grant awards. Funding decisions will be communicated to applicants by Friday, November 11, 2022.

The WE LEAD Fund will hold an informational session on Tuesday, September 13th at 10am(PT)/1pm(ET) to review the RFP and discuss the application process.

To register for the informational session, Click Here

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

If you have any questions about WE LEAD, the RFP, or need support with your submission, please contact us at [email protected]. And if you need assistance with uploading your proposal, please contact [email protected]

To learn more about WE LEAD, visit our website. You can also access our FAQ here.


JustFund offers a common proposal model designed to save organizations time. For questions about how to submit your proposal, please refer to JustFund’s Help Center or contact [email protected].

JustFund's Common Proposal Narrative Questions (Required)

  • Proposal Summary (max 140 characters): Think of this like a tweet. Please tell us about the mission of this proposal in a couple of sentences.
  • Proposal Description (recommended 2500 - 3500 characters): Tell us about your proposal.
  • Team Description (recommended 1250 - 2500 characters): Tell us about who comprises the team.
  • Financial Need (recommended 1250 - 2500 characters): Please describe what you will use the funding for.

Supplemental Questions

  • How does your organization and/or program operate in ways that are just and equitable in collaboration, decision-making and resource distribution in your community?
  • (As described in the RFP) With an understanding that climate justice and environmental justice also intersect with gender, racial, economic justice, and equitable health outcomes, please describe your organization’s or program's strategy to address the root causes and/or impacts of climate change.
  • What are the most pressing challenges your organization currently faces and what resources or capacities are needed to support and sustain the BIWOC leadership of your organization? For example, support with fundraising, professional development, healing justice, coaching, etc.


  • Annual budget/ primary sources of funding (required): past and future (if available)
  • Marketing/Communications materials (optional)

Contact Information