The People's Fund
by Mercy For Animals

On June 11, 2020, Mercy For Animals committed to nine actions in support of racial justice. In line with our values and our ambition to be a more antiracist organization, a key component of our first commitment is to partner with and invest in Black activists and their communities.

Meet the 2020 Grantees

To this end, we are excited to launch a pilot grant program that will distribute funds to U.S.-based Black activists working to build a compassionate plant-based food system—work that both reduces animal suffering and helps communities thrive.

We acknowledge that Indigenous activists and other activists of color are doing exciting work in their communities that deserves our support and that many advocates around the globe are doing important work as well. If we can continue funding this program, we will expand future iterations to these communities.

About the Program

The People’s Fund is a pilot program that provides grants ranging from $5,000 to $25,000 (USD) to Black activists working in the U.S. animal protection movement or related movements (vegan food-justice movements, for example). Depending on internal capacity, we will also offer optional in-kind support, such as social media promotion, pro bono video work, or other services.

We fund mission-aligned activists whose work contributes to a shared vision of a world where animals are respected, protected, and free. We hope to fund individuals or organizations who have a clear strategy and aim to create lasting structural change by reforming our food system into one that is healthy, sustainable, equitable, and just. Of special interest are applicants who operate with a clear racial justice and intersectional framework.

We trust our grantees and know their time is valuable and limited, so we do not require regular progress reporting. For the purpose of improving the program, grantees will provide a report at the end of the grant period, including how the funds were spent, and we will administer a short survey at the end of the pilot year (2021) to request feedback on the grant process.


Applicants to The People’s Fund program must meet these eligibility requirements:

  • Identify as Black. This includes African American, Afro-Latinx, Afro-Caribbean, and other Black identities.
  • Reside and work in the United States. This encompasses all U.S. states and territories, including the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and American Samoa.
  • Share Mercy For Animals’ mission to construct a compassionate food system—accessible to all—by reducing suffering and ending the exploitation of animals for food.
  • Share our vision of a world where animals are respected, protected, and free.
  • We recognize that activism within this mission and vision may look and feel different from Mercy For Animals’ key programs, and we are open to a variety of projects and ideas.

  • Be formally affiliated with an organization that has IRS 501(c)(3) tax exempt status or a fiscal sponsor that does and demonstrate how you will use the funds in support of their mission. Note: If you do not have 501(c)(3) status or a fiscal sponsor but would like to apply to this program, please reach out to Jamie Berger at [email protected] for guidance. You may find this resource about fiscal sponsorship helpful.
  • Demonstrate a clear strategy for their work and articulate how it fits into a broader theory of change. In other words, illustrate how their work creates a meaningful, lasting impact and plays a critical role in transforming our food system for the better.
  • Establish a need for funding. We aim to provide funds to those who otherwise might not be able to do their work or whose work would be significantly limited in scope or impact without funding.
  • Be willing to allow us to promote their work or program and the partnership through our own platforms and channels. We plan to use our platforms to elevate grantees’ stories and amplify their impact.

If you think your work aligns with the spirit of this program but doesn’t appear to be reflected here, please contact Jamie Berger at [email protected] to discuss.

This program does not support for-profit entities, such as restaurants or other businesses. Funds are unrestricted and may be used for a specific initiative or general operating costs.

Criteria and Evaluation

We will evaluate all applications submitted within the application period and base funding decisions on the following criteria:

  • Adherence to eligibility guidelines above.
  • Potential impact of the funded work.
  • Diversity among grantees. We wish to fund individuals and organizations with varying backgrounds, scopes, strategies, and geographic focuses.

Timeline and How to Apply

Applications for The People’s Fund program were due 11:59 p.m. PST Friday, November 13, 2020. Applicants received notification of acceptance or denial by December 10, 2020. Funds were distributed by December 31, 2020.


Please contact Jamie Berger at [email protected] with any questions.