Structure

Structure

Mission

Grassroots Connect supports and strengthens the capacity of locally-based, community social justice projects.

Steering Committee (SC)

The Steering Committee is composed of all members of the official legal board and others who want to be involved in Grassroots Connect but do not want to be on the official board. 

 

Steering Committee Members

We aim for 5-8 people on the Steering Committee. Each SC member serves a term of 2 years. We try to stagger the terms so they don’t all expire at once. When a term expires we will check in and see if they want to stay on or leave the committee. 

People are added to the Steering Committee by a consensus vote of the current Steering Committee after they have been nominated by an SC member. We seek to add people who are active in the local community, with skills and/or knowledge that can benefit the group, and who are excited about the Grassroots Connect mission. 

People can be removed from the Steering Committee with a vote of consensus minus two. This would only happen if absolutely necessary and after engaging in the conflict resolution process (see below). 

All SC members are expected to actively work to dismantle engrained systems of oppression (including racism, class oppression, colonization, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, and ableism) and characteristics of white supremacy culture internally and in our work together. Within the first six months of joining the Committee (preferably sooner), white-bodied members or folks who experience white privilege will complete a Me and White Supremacy book group (or some agreed-upon, equivalent structured and accountable work) to acknowledge and begin dismantling white supremacy culture internally, if they have not already done so. And they are expected to participate in at least one training a year after that. Non-white members are also strongly encouraged to engage in this internal work as well. 

If a SC member has a conflict of interest in a decision (they are involved in a group being discussed, materially affected by a decision, etc) then that SC member shall abstain from voting on that decision.

 

Decisions

Consensus decision-making is a cooperative process in which everyone in the discussion hashes out possibilities and modifies a proposal until everyone can agree to support a decision in the best interest of the whole. A decision may not be everyone’s personal preference, but is something that all can agree is worth trying. The wisdom of the group is synthesized through active listening, shared purpose, preparation, deliberation, and a focus on issues and solutions. More general info on consensus

The Steering Committee strives for consensus in all decisions but can fall back to consensus minus one if absolutely necessary.

For significant decisions (structure changes, approving new projects, and other things that deeply affect the group), everyone on the Committee needs to be heard from (even if they aren’t at the meeting). This can be done digitally. Smaller decisions can be made without everyone present, but not if it’s likely that the absent people would disagree. 

The Steering Committee seeks and incorporates input and advice from projects for any decisions that affect that project before making the decision.

The Steering Committee can delegate some decisions (implementation details) to individuals or teams. 

 

Feedback and Accountability

The Steering Committee regularly reviews one of the principles at the beginning of meetings and discusses how they are and are not acting in alignment with that principle.

Project liaisons regularly ask for feedback from the projects. And send out surveys to all projects at least once a year requesting feedback.

People from sponsored projects are welcome to sit in on board and steering committee meetings, though they may be asked to leave some conversations if there are sensitive topics.

The Steering Committee sends out all meeting notes and information about major decisions to all sponsored projects.

We have a form on our website where individuals or projects can send anonymous feedback. 

 

Official Board

For decisions that require official board approval, the Steering Committee technically only makes recommendations to the official board. The official board then meets, usually right after Steering Committee meetings, to approve or reject the Steering Committee recommendations (this could also be done via digital communication). 

See the bylaws for more on the official board structure. 

 

Projects

Who We Work With

We work with liberatory grassroots social justice projects that are connected to the Eugene/Springfield regional community and have demonstrated that they will follow through. 

Ideally the project would: Have at least two dedicated people, have a mission statement or something that lays out what they are doing, and already be active in some way in physical reality.

Projects must demonstrate a commitment to Black and POC liberation, decolonization, feminism, trans-inclusivity, accessibility, anti-authoritarianism, horizontally structured, anti-capitalist, pro-sustainability, etc. 

There is no set limit for the number of GC projects. The Steering Committee will evaluate new potential projects based on the current capacity of Grassroots Connect.

 

Onboarding Process for Sponsoring New Projects

Step 1: The project applicant fills out a simple online application form or sends in a video that explains the basics of the project. The project applicant will receive an acknowledgement of the application. 

Step 2: The Steering Committee will name two SC members to meet with the project applicant. In that meeting they learn more about the project and explain the parameters of working with Grassroots Connect (how we can and can’t support them, that they are technically a part of Grassroots Connect, what GC has to do to work within the system, financial oversight, etc.) The two SC members likely continue as the regular liaisons for that project.

Step 3: The two liaisons share information about the project and their recommendation of whether Grassroots Connect should support the project with the rest of the Steering Committee. 

Step 4: The Steering Committee does a quick digital consensus check to see if there is quick support for sponsoring the project. If there is no digital consensus then they convene a meeting to discuss more and decide. The meeting happens as soon as possible because we want to be responsive to the project applicant. The Steering Committee will make a decision within 30 days of meeting with the project applicant. 

Step 5: If approved, the liaisons meet with the project to discuss and sign the Fiscal Sponsorship Agreement and Financial Policies. Then the liaisons will work with the project to get them set up with a bank account, mail box, and whatever else they need. 

 

Stewardship Process

Each project has two dedicated liaisons (one primary and one secondary) from the Steering Committee who take time and energy to build and maintain a relationship built on trust and respect.

The liaisons check in with sponsored projects at least quarterly to see how things are going and if there’s anything they need from Grassroots Connect. Some check-ins could be a brief digital communication, but there must be at least one longer check-in meeting per year. 

There is no limit on how long a project can be a part of Grassroots Connect as long as they are active, aligned with the mission and principles of Grassroots Connect, and not putting Grassroots Connect at risk. Through conversations between the project and the Steering Committee, it could be decided that it’s time for a group to move on. 

 

Project Finances

Each project has a bank account (a secondary checking account on the main Grassroots Connect bank account) that they can use how they wish, in accordance with the Fiscal Sponsorship Agreement

Each project needs at least one signer for the account, two is ideal. 

The SC liaisons work with the projects to track spending and receipts. All receipts / spending for projects must be documented on a monthly basis. Documentation can be done by filling out a simple form for each transaction soon after it happens, and/or by a monthly report on all transactions. The documentation needs to include receipts for all purchases.

 

End of Sponsorship

If either party chooses to end the sponsorship or if a project becomes non-responsive, Grassroots Connect will wait one year before allocating funds raised for that project to another purpose.

Grassroots Connect can only donate funds raised for that project to another non-profit. Tax law prevents non-profits from donating funds to individuals.

 

Grants

There will be times when Grassroots Connect has money to give to sponsored projects. 

Process

  1. If there is money available, sponsored projects can apply for a grant at any time using the grant interest form
  2. The Steering Committee will review the grant interest form and discuss what they’d like to know more about.
  3. The Project Liaisons will meet with the project to learn more about what the project will use the money for.
  4. The Steering Committee will decide whether to give the grant and for what amount. They will give an explanation if they decide to not give a grant or give less than what was asked for. 
  5. If the project receives the grant there will be no special reporting requirements in addition to regular reporting requirements for all sponsored projects. 

Decision-making Considerations

The Steering Committee will consider these factors when deciding how much to give to a project:

  • What is the money for?
  • Contextual considerations
    • The project’s ability to get money from other sources. How much might they get elsewhere? What other avenues for funding have they tried?
    • How much money they have currently
    • How much money they are requesting
  • Scale and long-term sustainability
    • Would receiving the grant materially change the way the project operates, or would it simply reduce fundraising efforts?
    • What if the project doesn’t get the money this time?
    • What if the project gets it now (and it materially changes how the project operates) and doesn’t get the money next year? Does it negatively affect long-term sustainability?
    • Are we changing the scale of the project with the grant?
  • The impact the project has on the community
  • The amount of money GC has available for grants and total amount requested from all projects