JRCT to launch a £1m pilot fund to support grassroots movements

The Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust (JRCT) are launching a £1 million pilot fund to support grassroots social movements whose work is vital to systemic change in our society.

The fund, which is expected to open to applications later this year, aims to provide funding, infrastructure and access to resources and networks to support the sustainability of movement work.

As a funder, JRCT recognises that grassroots movements are an important and largely missing element within our funding of social change. 

The Trust employed Debs Grayson and Mumbi Nkonde as consultants in early 2020 to test and evaluate an approach to support the work of movements in the UK and to ultimately design a pilot movement fund. 

Their report was presented to JRCT’s trustees at the end of 2020, with trustees broadly agreeing on the principles and decision-making recommendations and to allocate about £1 million to the pilot fund – leaving the recommendations on priorities, operations and charitability to be worked out in detail once staff were in place.

You can read a short, accessible version of the report here: ‘Developing a pilot movement fund.


In November 2021 JRCT employed Mumbi Nkonde in the new position of Grassroots Movements Programme Manager to take the fund forward.

Working alongside Michael, our Head of Programmes, they will be working on developing a policy, testing out new movement led decision-making processes and participation as well as an adapted application process.

The hope is to launch an initial funding round this year and then evaluate the process, in preparation for a further two rounds next year.

Mumbi said: “It is an exciting and challenging endeavour which responds to what we heard in consultations, that the work and leadership of grassroots social movements is vital to transforming the intersecting structural inequalities and injustices within our society.”

Please keep a look out for further updates and if you would like to learn more about the work please email mumbinkonde@jrct.org.uk and read the report ‘Developing a pilot movement fund’