Organizing & Advocacy

The Organizing and Advocacy (O&A) Fund supports work that challenges sexism, racism, homophobia, transphobia, economic injustice, and other forms of oppression in innovative ways. Grantee partners of this Fund often receive their first foundation grant from us, which they are then able to leverage to get more funding from individuals and other foundations.

Between 1998 and 2004, the O&A Fund has supported nearly 100 projects and organizations across the country, their work ranging from organizing day laborers to activism through media to combating environmental injustices to legal advocacy for the LGBT community.

The O&A Fund seeks to strengthen and develop the young women and transgender activists that lead this work, help build sustainable organizations, and bring a deeper gender justice analysis to broader social justice movements.


We provide grants for both specific projects and general operating support. In all of our funding areas, the Third Wave Foundation accepts proposals for projects which benefit, target, are devised by, and led by young women and transgender activists between the ages of 15 and 30, prioritizing programs or organizations with an emphasis on low-income communities, people with disabilities, immigrants, lesbian, bisexual, and people of color.

Past Activities

In 2006, 15 members from our O&A grant partner organizations participated in the inaugural year of Why Give Institute. Each of these young leaders has a goal of raising at least $3,000 for Third Wave’s 2007 grant-making cycle, and the ability to participate in the grant-making for the funds they collectively raised. To assist them in this exciting endeavor, Third Wave recruited seasoned social-change philanthropists as mentors and devoted $4,500 to support their fundraising activities. Why Give Institute graduates share their knowledge and training with their organizations and activist communities, fulfilling the commitment of Third Wave to empower the individual and community.


Currently we are in the process of refining our theory of change within in the O&A Fund. We are identifying existing needs in the field, strengthening the program’s gender justice lens, and creating an initiative that will leverage greater resources for work led by young women and transgender individuals. This re-visioning process involves two phases: research and field scan with capacity-building grants to former grant partners; and a subsequent formal re-launch of the Fund.