Building Power: One Foundation’s Story of Funding Grassroots Organizing and Engagement

In 2014, the Nellie Mae Education Foundation began funding three projects that together comprise the Grassroots Portfolio: Civic and Family Engagement, Community Organizing, and Amplifying Student Voice and Leadership. This work was part of the Public Understanding and Demand component of NMEF’s grantmaking strategy.

Following a Foundation-wide equity assessment in 2017, and a review of the Foundation’s strategy, NMEF commissioned Algorhythm to examine its Public Understanding and Demand evaluation and grantmaking documents, with the ultimate goal of helping NMEF better understand its role in the grassroots organizing and engagement work. This brief explores NMEF’s journey in funding the Grassroots Portfolio and shares lessons learned.

I realized that I have a voice for my children and nobody is going to stop me from advocating for them.