2023 Opportunity and Convening Fund Priorities, Eligibility Criteria, and Process

RTF 2023 Opportunity and Convening Funding - Proteus Fund

Criteria and Process

RISE Together Fund (RTF), an initiative of the Proteus Fund, works alongside impacted communities to advance their civil rights, fight for full inclusion, and promote their contributions to democracy, culture, and society. This year, RTF will provide Opportunity and Convening Fund grants ranging from $5,000-$20,000 on a rolling basis, budget permitting.

RISE Together Fund’s 2023 Opportunity and Convening Fund provides a vehicle for strategically deploying resources to catalyze emergent programs and strategies within the Black, African, Arab, Middle Eastern, Muslim, and South Asian (BAMEMSA)* field, and to foster convenings across communities that achieve strategic goals. Opportunity and Convening Fund grants are designed to fund small-scale projects or discrete portions of larger projects related to proactive legal, advocacy, organizing, and research campaigns.

RTF will accept Opportunity and Convening Fund inquiries on a rolling basis throughout 2023 until funding has been committed. Total grantmaking for the 2023 Opportunity and Convening Fund will be capped at about $120,000.

**Please note that this funding opportunity is separate from our Rapid Response Fund, which supports urgent and unexpected needs. More information about the Rapid Response fund can be found here.

Funding Priorities

Each year the RTF team establishes priorities to guide Opportunity and Convening Fund decisions. For 2023, our priorities are:

  • Proactive efforts that build BAMEMSA community power at the local, state, and/or federal level using tactics such as legislative or legal advocacy, public education, organizing, or research (for example, funding for a new federal legislative advocacy campaign that seeks to reduce the harm of policing; proactive organizing of BAMEMSA communities around redistricting efforts to ensure that the voices of communities of color are not diluted; BAMEMSA-led public education efforts that build or expound upon climate justice programming);
  • Conferences, convenings, and meetings organized by BAMEMSA field leaders for learning, developing shared strategy, fostering coalition building, cross-community solidarity, and/or supporting strategic cross-community goals. In-person and virtual convenings are both eligible (for example, funds to support a convening to bring together intersectional social justice movements, including those that support LGBTQ, gender, racial, disability, and environmental justice);
  • Programs that seed new pilot programs, methods, or strategies for BAMEMSA organizations to reach their communities (for example, civic engagement efforts through partnerships with health and legal services organizations that serve directly impacted low-income communities);
  • Efforts to build BAMEMSA organizational or operational capacity (for example, funding for a consultant to develop a strategic plan; expanded technical assistance; or for new financial or technology systems).

Eligibility Criteria

RTF uses the following eligibility criteria and considerations when making decisions about which organizations may receive Opportunity and Convening funding:

Tax status: The requesting organization is defined under Section 501(c)(3) or 501(c)(4) of the IRS tax code, or it has a fiscal sponsor with the appropriate tax status. If the project you are requesting funds for includes lobbying expenses, please contact Sheila Bapat at webcontact.sb@proteusfund.org to discuss this in advance of submitting your application.

Financial health: The requesting organization has a plan and the support to meet the overall project budget if the support RTF offers through opportunity funding does not cover all costs.

Leadership: The requesting organization is BAMEMSA-led and/or serving and has a track record of meeting community power-building needs and building local community capacity.

Community support: The requesting organization can demonstrate that the project has momentum and/or BAMEMSA community-based support.

Opportunity: Per the above priorities, the request is seeking funding for a new or existing opportunity to move a project or issue campaign forward.

RTF will also make the following internal considerations in its decision making:

  • How much of RTF’s opportunity and convening budget remains?
  • How often has RTF funded the requesting organization?
  • Is this a new or existing field partner? Is the organization in good standing with RTF?

RTF will not be able to fund all requests, however, we will do our best to share organizational needs with funder partners.

What Activities will the RTF Opportunity and Convening Fund NOT support:

  • Partisan political campaigns or electioneering
  • Projects that support direct services, basic needs, or individual needs
  • Scholarships
  • Filling general revenue shortfalls, cash flow challenges, or supporting leadership transitions
  • Capital campaigns


Please bear in mind that sometimes we experience an extraordinary volume of inquiries and proposals. We will do our very best to adhere to the timeline described below:

Step 1: If your organization meets the eligibility criteria and fits our priorities for 2023, please fill out this inquiry form sharing a very brief 1-3 sentence description of your organization’s needs. Submissions are reviewed on a rolling basis. Urgent requests for security needs will be reviewed immediately as inquiries are received.

Step 2: An RTF team member will respond to your request approximately two weeks after receiving your inquiry. We may: a) solicit more information via email and/or ask to set up a brief follow-up call, b) let you know that we are in need of more time to evaluate this request alongside other Opportunity Fund requests, or 3) decline the request if it does not fit within RTF’s stated priorities, criteria, or considerations. If your request is declined at this stage, please know that RTF will do our best to share your needs with other funder partners.

Step 3: Within approximately two weeks after receiving the requested information or having a call, the RTF team will either decline the funding request or invite you to formally apply for an Opportunity and Convening Fund grant by submitting an additional brief proposal.

Step 4: If you are invited to formally apply for funding:

  • You will receive an email from us with specific instructions about how to formally submit a proposal. If we invite you to formally apply, please submit your proposal as soon as possible. An invitation to formally submit a proposal is not a guarantee of funding.
  • Within approximately a week of receiving the formal proposal, RTF will review the proposal and email any additional questions.
  • After all outstanding questions are answered, RTF will share our decision, letting you know whether you’ve been recommended to our board for funding and when you can expect to receive a grant if approved.
  • If your grant is approved by the board, RTF will work internally to release the funding to your organization within two weeks of approval.
  • If your funding request is declined, RTF will share feedback and do our best to share your needs with other funder partners.

Submit Your Opportunity and Convening Fund Inquiry

Fill Out the Form

Thank you for your interest in the RISE Together Fund. If you have any questions about this process, please contact Sheila Bapat at webcontact.sb@proteusfund.org.


*BAMEMSA is an acronym for Black, Arab, Middle Eastern, Muslim, and South Asian to describe communities we support that have been acutely impacted by post 9/11 discrimination. While Arab Middle Eastern Muslim South Asian (AMEMSA) is a common term in philanthropy, because Black communities are often excluded in both community and philanthropic spaces, we felt it was important to be explicit about our commitment to fund Black leadership.