2023 Rapid Response Funding Priorities, Eligibility Criteria and Process

RTF 2023 Rapid Response Funding - Proteus Fund

Criteria and Process

RISE Together Fund’s 2023 Rapid Response Fund provides a vehicle for deploying resources strategically to address unexpected and urgent needs and key opportunities within the Black, African, Arab, Middle Eastern, Muslim, and South Asian (BAMEMSA)* field. 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 Rapid Response grants ranging from $5,000-$20,000 on a rolling basis budget permitting, capping total Rapid Response Fund grantmaking for 2023 at about $150,000.

RTF will accept inquiries on a rolling basis. Urgent requests for security needs will be reviewed immediately and as inquiries are received.

This document outlines RTF’s 2023 Rapid Response priorities, eligibility criteria, and process for evaluating grant inquiries and requests.

**Please note that this funding opportunity is separate from our Opportunity and Convening Fund, which supports non-urgent programs and strategies and brings communities together for meetings, convenings, and conferences. More information about the Opportunity and Convening Fund can be found here.

Funding Priorities

Each year the RTF team establishes priorities to guide Rapid Response Fund decisions. For 2023, our priorities are:

  • Urgent safety and security concerns, digital or physical, of an organization that does NOT currently receive grant funding from RISE Together Fund, Piper Fund, or Rights, Faith & Democracy Fund (past examples have included funding for groups experiencing doxxing, hate attacks in their local community, or other digital or physical threats). For organizations that DO currently receive funding from RTF, Piper Fund, or RFDC, please speak to your program officer about the Grantee Safety and Security Fund.
  • Urgent needs related to local or federal policy threats or opportunities impacting BAMEMSA communities (past examples have included funding for groups organizing to push back on the Muslim and African Bans, TPS cancelation, voter suppression tactics, government surveillance, or proactive demilitarization policy campaigns).
  • Urgent needs to engage in non-partisan voter outreach (past examples have included funding for nonpartisan GOTV activities during special elections, combatting voter suppression tactics and redistricting efforts).
  • Unexpected public education efforts and events to support the immediate and urgent policy, organizing, or communications goals.

Eligibility Criteria

RTF uses the following eligibility criteria and considerations when making decisions about which organizations may receive Rapid Response 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. Funds granted through the rapid response fund cannot be earmarked to directly support lobbying expenses. If the project you are requesting funds for includes lobbying expenses, please contact Kamardip Singh at webcontact.ks@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 Rapid Response 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.

Urgency: The request is responding to an urgent or unexpected political situation or event that requires immediate attention and action. The request can respond to proactive opportunities or defensive threats. (For programming that is not urgent or unexpected, please review the eligibility criteria and priorities of the Opportunity and Convening Fund.)

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

  • How much of RTF’s rapid response 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 Rapid Response Fund NOT support:

  • Projects that are long-term and do not have an urgent or immediate action
  • Partisan political campaigns, electioneering, and ballot initiatives
  • Projects that support direct services, basic needs, or individual needs
  • Non-emergency travel and accommodations
  • Third-party conference expenses
  • Scholarships or research (unless the research is designed to support an ongoing rapid response organizing, communications, or policy effort)
  • Filling general revenue shortfalls, cash flow challenges, or supporting leadership transitions
  • Capital campaigns, organizational development, or ongoing infrastructure needs


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 after the deadline for submissions. We may: a) solicit more information via email and/or ask to set up a brief follow-up call or b) 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 a week 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 a Rapid Response 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 Rapid Response 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 Kamardip Singh at webcontact.ks@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.