Background

SMALL PLANET FUND

Supporting visionary social movements, courageous grassroots organizations and innovative policy for food system transformation since 2001.

Header photo credit: Anna Lappé during research for Hope’s Edge

WHO WE ARE

Mother-daughter team Anna Lappé and Frances Moore Lappé founded the Small Planet Fund to support visionary and courageous social movements, grassroots organizations and other leaders bringing to life citizen-led solutions to hunger, poverty, and environmental devastation around the world and across the United States. Today, the Fund is based out of RSF Social Finance and directed by co-founder, Anna Lappé.

HOW WE STARTED

We started the fund on the heels of publishing our first book together, Hope’s Edge. We had traveled the world to meet some of the most visionary changemakers and social movements – from the Landless Workers Movement in Brazil to the Green Belt Movement in Kenya, and beyond – and we were moved to do something more to support these global efforts for justice and sustainability. The Fund started with the humble ambition to raise funds for the core groups we document in Hope’s Edge. It has grown over the years to continue this core grantmaking and to do grantmaking throughout the year in small, strategic grants.

We believe that the best way to spur the transformation of our food system and address the roots of hunger is to help support those actively making change—from farmers to community food activists—and those working to promote progressive policy making to even the playing field.

Since we founded the Fund in 2001, we have raised and given away more than $1 million and our grantees have gone on to have huge impact in the world, including two of our core grantees receiving the Nobel Peace Prize.

The Fund is a key part of our broader work, which includes engagement with others using philanthropy to transform our food system as well as our writing and public speaking, and more. Learn more about our Small Planet Institute, a research network for popular education, and Real Food Media, a collaborative initiative to educate, inspire and grow the movement for sustainable food and farming.

While we don’t accept unsolicited requests from grantees, we welcome funders interested in collaborations to reach out.

Anna Lappé and Frances Moore Lappé

  • Why We're Different

    We support off-the-radar and before-the-radar ideas. Because our leadership works in communities across the country, the Fund is positioned to hear about new initiatives and seeds of ideas at their inception—and we are in a position to quickly and easily fund these creative start-ups.

    We provide rapid response. Because we don’t have a traditional grantmaking cycle, and because we have a lean decision-making structure, we can make rapid response grants that can be of critical importance.

    We fund unique projects that would never get funded by traditional foundations. As non-traditional givers with a grassroots fundraising model, we’ve been able to hear about—and support—individuals and efforts that would be unable to get funding from traditional donors for a variety of reasons.

    We work with a lean operation. Since we don’t have office overhead or full-time program managers, more than 90 percent of funds raised go directly to our grantmaking. We are administered by RSF Social Finance, which takes a small fee for each grant and we pay a small honorarium for the Fund’s coordination.

  • About Our Founders

    New York, NY – October 17, 2016: The James Beard Foundation presents the National Leadership Awards at Hearst Tower.
    CREDIT: Clay Williams for The James Beard Foundation.
    © Clay Williams / claywilliamsphoto.com

    • ANNA LAPPÉ is a James Beard Award-winning bestselling author and a widely respected advocate for sustainability and justice along the food chain. The co-author or author of three books and the contributing author to twelve others, Anna’s work has been translated internationally and featured in The New York Times, Gourmet, Oprah Magazine, among many other outlets.Named one of Time magazine’s “eco” Who’s-Who, Anna is a founding principal with her mother of the Cambridge-based Small Planet Institute, an international network for research and popular education about the root causes of hunger and poverty, and the Small Planet Fund.In 2012, Anna founded Real Food Media, which catalyses creative storytelling to change the narrative about our food system and runs the world’s largest short films competition on food, with pop-up festivals around the world.Anna’s latest book, Diet for a Hot Planet: The Climate Crisis at the End of Your Fork and What You Can Do About It (Bloomsbury), was named by Booklist and Kirkus as one of the best environmental books of the year. Anna is also the co-author of Hope’s Edge (Penguin) and Grub: Ideas for an Urban Organic Kitchen (Penguin).A frequent public speaker, in the past fifteen years Anna has participated in more than 600 public events, from community food festivals to university lectures to emceeing a food-focused fundraiser at Sotheby’s. She has been a keynote speaker and guest lecturer at dozens of colleges and universities, including Boston College, Brown University, Columbia University, New York University, Northwestern University, Wesleyan, Vassar, the University of California at Berkeley and Yale University.Anna is also a regular guest on nationally syndicated radio shows and has been on dozens of radio programs, including National Public Radio’s Weekend Edition and The Diane Rehm Show. Anna’s work has been featured in The New York Times, Domino, Food & Wine, Body + Soul, Natural Health, and Vibe, among many other publications. Anna was the co-host of the public television series, The Endless Feast and has been a featured expert on PBS’s Need to Know, the Sundance Channel’s Big Ideas for a Small Planet and the PBS documentary, Nourish. Anna holds an M.A. in Economic and Political Development from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs and graduated with honors from Brown University. From 2004 to 2006, she was a Food and Society Policy Fellow, a national program of the WK Kellogg Foundation.She currently directs Real Food Media and works closely with food funders around the country. Along with her role at the Small Planet Fund, Anna runs the Food Program of the Panta Rhea Foundation. She is also an active board member of Rainforest Action Network and the Mesa Refuge, a retreat center for writers and artists, and an advisor to Agroecology Fund. Born in Yonkers, she lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and their two daughters.
    • FRANCES MOORE LAPPÉ is the author or co-author of 18 books about world hunger, living democracy, and the environment. Beginning with the three-million copy Diet for a Small Planet in 1971, her most recent book is World Hunger: 10 Myths. With a focus on the roots of the U.S. democracy crisis and how Americans are creatively responding to the challenge, her current work includes the online Field Guide to the Democracy Movement and the forthcoming book Daring Democracy: Igniting Power, Meaning, and Connection for the America We Want, coauthored with Adam Eichen (Beacon Press, Sept. 2017). The Smithsonian in Washington, DC describes Diet for a Small Planet as “one of the most influential political tracts of the times.” In 2008, it was selected as one of 75 Books by Women Whose Words Have Changed the World by members of the Women’s National Book Association. Frances was also named by Gourmet Magazine as one of 25 people (including Thomas Jefferson, Upton Sinclair, and Julia Child), whose work has changed the way America eats. Her books have been translated into 15 languages and are used widely in university courses.
      Frances appears frequently in the media, on outlets ranging from Hardball with Chris Matthews to Canadian Broadcasting Corporation to NPR and the BBC. Frances is a frequent public speaker and contributes to Huffington Post and BillMoyers.com. She is also a contributing editor at Yes! Magazine and Solutions Journal. Articles featuring or written by Frances have also appeared in O: The Oprah Magazine, Harper’s, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Nation, People, and more.
      In 1987 Frances received the Right Livelihood Award (considered an “Alternative Nobel.” Frances is also the recipient of 18 honorary doctorates, including from the University of Michigan. She has been a visiting scholar at the University of California, Berkeley the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In 2008 she received the James Beard Foundation Humanitarian of the Year Award for her lifelong impact on the way people all over the world think about food, nutrition, and agriculture. Other notable awards include the International Studies Association’s 2009 Outstanding Public Scholar Award, and the 2011 Nonino Prize in Italy for her life’s work. In 2007 Frances became a founding member of the World Future Council, based in Hamburg, Germany. Frances also serves on the National Advisory Board of the Union of Concerned Scientists, on the International Board of Advisors of Grassroots International and on the Value [the] Meal Advisory Board of Corporate Accountability International. She is also a member of the Sisters on the Planet network, part of Oxfam America.
      Frances is the cofounder of three organizations, including Oakland based think tank Food First and, more recently, the Small Planet Institute which she leads with her daughter Anna Lappé. Frances and her daughter have also cofounded the Small Planet Fund, which channels resources to democratic social movements worldwide.


CORE GRANTEES

We fund a set of core grantees as well as one-off strategic grants that range in size from $500 to $10,000, with an average grant size of $3,000.

Our core grantmaking comes out of the relationships we built writing our national bestselling book, Hope’s Edge. You can learn more about these groups, and many other inspiring movements worldwide, in the pages of Hope’s Edge.

Landless Workers Movement

Open Project

Green Belt Movement

Open Project

Navdanya

Open Project

Family Farm Defenders

Open Project

Center for Ecoliteracy

Open Project

STRATEGIC GRANTS

For our strategic grants, we seek out opportunities that offer the biggest impact possible and are drawn to funding approaches that fill gaps left by traditional foundations. We focus on six key types of grants:

SEED GRANTS and planning grants for innovative start-ups.

EMERGENCY GRANTS to support important changemakers or their organizations at times of acute need.

LEVERAGE GRANTS for when an infusion of relatively small support can leverage more significant donations.

IMPACT GRANTS to small, grassroots organizations for which a relatively small grant has a big impact.

VISIBILITY GRANTS to awards programs or other efforts for which a small grant can garner big attention.

MULTIPLIER GRANTS to investigative journalists, writers or advocates for travel or other research expenses whose documentation, writing or other communications about their findings will have significant multiplier effects.

  • “At a time when we desperately needed emergency funds for a project that could not prove itself until totally complete, when the dialogue on labor in the food system was just inching forward, Small Planet gave us critical support which enabled us to finish Food Chains in time for the Berlin and Tribeca Film Festivals. There, we received a distribution deal, which allowed us to have a large theatrical launch. This all ultimately resulted in doing over 1,200 community screenings and panels. We’ve done screenings at the US Department of Labor, USDA, Capitol Hill, US Conference of Mayors and for farmworkers and low-wage workers around the nation… all because of the Small Planet Fund. THANK YOU!!!!”
    Sanjay Rawal
    Director, Food Chains
  • "The Small Planet Fund helped us pursue cutting-edge work. It's not common to find funders of any size that encourage you to be so far out on the frontlines, pushing the envelope."
    Anim Steel
    Real Food Challenge
  • “The Fund plays a unique role in the world of food system funding by offering specific support to innovative small food organizations, often overlooked by more conventional funding entities. Without the Small Planet Fund, we wouldn't have been able to award our first ever-full scholarship to a young activist to connect with our international partners. That initial funding was a catalyst for a campaign to raise over $17,000 for our scholarship program that continues to send young activists around the world to help build the global movement for food sovereignty.”
    Katie Brimm
    Food First, Food Sovereignty Tours

PAST GRANTEES

(2001 TO PRESENT)

596 Acres
Added Value Community Farm
Agriculture (PASA)
Alaska Youth for Environmental Action Training
Belo Horizonte Urban Food Tour
Belo Monte Dam project
Brickyard Educational Farms
Brooklyn Food Coalition
Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood
Coalition to Stop Fracking
Community Alliance for Global Justice
Community Food & Agriculture Coalition
Corporate Accountability International’s Value [the] Meal
Earth Dance Farms
Ecology Center to support the soda tax campaign
Family Farm Defenders
Farm School NYC
Food and Environment Reporting Network
Food First Food Sovereignty Tours
Food Sovereignty Prize
Food Systems Funders Network
Food Workers & Food Justice Conference
Food Workers Film
Green City Tours
Growing Home, Inc.
Hattie Carthan Community Market
Hawaii Food Policy Council
Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy
Institute for Policy Studies
Just Food

La Via Campesina
Live Real Now’s Freedom Rides
Midwest Organic Sustainable Education
Mother Jones’ Food System coverage
National Save the Family Farm Coalition
Navdanya Farmers Network
Nourishing the Planet
NYC Food Justice Delegation to U.S. Social Forum
Oakland Institute
Open Truth Campaign
Organic Advocate Training, Great Lakes Organizer
Organic Farming Research Foundation
Partners in Health’s Haiti Earthquake Relief
Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable
Pesticide Alliance Network of North America
Rainforest Action Network
Real Food Challenge
Ryerson University’s Food Security International
Saving Seeds Farm
Service (MOSES)
Understanding Land Investments in Africa
Urban Harvest
Urban Tilth
US Food Sovereignty Alliance
Wangari Maathai Memorial
Western South Dakota Community Action’s Constructing Hope
WhyHunger’s Food and Climate Film
WhyHunger’s Nourishing America Project
Workshop in Brazil

CONTACT US

For grantseekers: Because of the limited capacity of our team, we do not accept unsolicited proposals.

For philanthropists: Co-founder Anna Lappé works in partnership with philanthropists around the country. If you would like to inquire about our team working with your foundation or donor-advised fund on food-focused giving, please be in touch.

For donors: We welcome donations to the Fund. If you’d like to make a contribution, donations can be sent to:


Small Planet Fund
c/o RSF Social Finance
1002 O’Reilly Ave
San Francisco, CA 94129

Make checks payable to RSF Social Finance
Add “Small Planet Fund” to memo line

E: anna@smallplanet.org
P: 917 476 4896

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