Rootstrikers Catalyst Program

Sponsored by the Foundation for Civic Leadership and Harvard Democracy Matters 

“There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root.”

APPLICATION DEADLINE: November 13th, 2015 

Click here for the Application

What is this?

The Rootstrikers Catalyst Program is a civic engagement initiative that seeks to support student change makers through trainings, small grants, and an advisory network of experienced activists. 

Why are you doing this?

Students often lead the way in new methods for building movements for social change. Thousands of organizations on campuses practice public service and push for effective solutions to real problems, but many struggle to operate at full capacity. We want to help remove more barriers to student civic engagement.


Who is eligible to apply?

Any student group is eligible to apply. Campus chapters of national organizations are also welcome to apply.

How do I apply? When is the deadline?

To be considered for the Fall 2015 Program, the application must be submitted by November 9th, 2015. The application includes:

  1. Details about the organization and individuals involved in the project
  2. A written section about the project and the organizational goals (< 500 words)
  3. A budget for the project and organization 

What kind of projects will you fund?

We’re open to hearing any proposal that will engage students on civic issues or build the capacity of organizations that do so. We look for groups with good plans for sustainable action and help them along with small grants and advisors. The program will accept a wide array of projects based on the creativity and potential impact on the campus and beyond. A wide range of projects qualify: hosting events, publishing newsletters, training student leaders in organizing skills, starting up new campus chapters, running advocacy campaigns, and particularly activities designed to strengthen organizational sustainability.

What kind of trainings will you provide?

We work with Democracy Matters to train activists in coalition building, power analysis, and other organizing skills based on the group’s need. Trainings will take place the week of December 7th.

What WON’T you fund?

We won’t fund events that lack a clear connection to civic engagement, civic learning, or the sustainable development of an organization that seeks to make change. Also, we do not fund events with alcohol.

Where is the money coming from?

The Foundation for Civic Leadership is a 501(c)3 nonprofit that is supported with charitable donations from individuals and organizations.

What is the advisory board?  

The advisory board exists to help you expand your network and access other resources beyond monetary funds. The advisors can provide a wealth of knowledge about movement building and years of experience in various forms of organizing and advocacy. Your project is your own and the advisory board is there to help if you want. 

How do I apply?

Please fill out the Rootstrikers Catalyst Program 2015-2016 Application here. We recommend drafting responses in a separate document first to avoid losing your work. 

Can I contact you with more questions?

Of course! Please email with all questions and feedback.

Management Team:

Foundation for Civic Leadership Associate—Kevin O’Donnell, Harvard College ’17, will handle logistics and cross-organizational communication, bringing experience with youth organizing and nonprofit finance to the Mini-Grant program.

Democracy Matters Student Liaison—Samuel Plank, Harvard College ’18, will coordinate Harvard Democracy Matters’ efforts to publicize the grant and assist with the grant selection process.

APPLICATION DEADLINE: November 13th, 2015

Review Schedule 2015-2016


Application Deadline

Review Board Meeting

Notification Date


Advisory Board Meetings

11/13/15 @11:59 pm