Hope in Action Fund

East Tennessee Foundation’s (ETF) Hope in Action Fund was established in 2018 to support programs that protect populations most likely to face discrimination or programs that nurture hope and equality in our culture. In 2020, ETF activated this fund to award grants to nonprofit organizations addressing racism and injustice in our region, and $60,000 was awarded to nine nonprofit organizations.

ETF is now accepting proposals for our Hope in Action Fund to begin awarding grants in summer of 2021. Innovative solutions that dismantle racism, oppression, and injustice and provide a region where we can grow a more just, equitable, and inclusive future are absolutely necessary to achieve the Foundation’s vision of “thriving communities powered by thoughtful giving.”

ETF invites proposals from nonprofit organizations in our region working to address the violence and oppression that results from systemic racism and injustice toward Black, Indigenous, and People of Color and other populations that are subject to discrimination. We encourage innovative solutions, which might include collaborations among partners with diverse backgrounds and perspectives, projects that promote constructive dialogue, programs that provide space for individuals to thrive, learn, and grow, educational programs, or programs working toward systemic change in one or more communities within our region. 

To apply, organizations must submit proposals up to two pages in length for amounts not to exceed $15,000. Proposals must be submitted by May 31, 2021 and must meet the following requirements:

  • Applicant organizations must be 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations, units of government, educational institutions, or houses of worship. Documentation of such status must be submitted with the proposal.
  • If the proposed project involves a collaboration among two or more organizations, please provide contact information for the applicant organization and all partner agencies and identify the roles of each.
  • The applicant organization and any collaborating partners must operate and be organized so as not to discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, gender, familial status, sexual orientation, age, disability, covered veteran status, or other characteristics as identified in the Foundation’s Diversity and Non-Discrimination Policy.
  • The proposal must describe in detail how the project will advance the goal of combating racism and injustice in our region, and a project timetable must not exceed twelve months in duration.
  • The proposal must include an itemized project budget which explains the expenditure of requested funds.
  • In addition to the above requirements, the proposal must also include the following documentation:
    • Most recent financial statements and/or most recent audit or IRS Form 990
    • Current year operating budget
    • List of current board of directors or equivalent governing body
    • List of staff administering the proposed project

If you are interested in applying for a grant, please email your two-page proposal to either Ashley Siferd Butler or Jessica Renfro by May 31, 2021. For questions about the Hope in Action Fund grant process, please contact one of the following individuals:

  • Ashley Siferd Butler, Program Officer, abutler@etf.org
  • Jessica Renfro, Financial & Administrative Officer, jrenfro@etf.org
  • Jan Elston, Vice President for Competitive Grant Programs, jelston@etf.org
  • or by phone (865) 524-1223 or toll-free (877) 524-1223

Please consider donating to this Fund to help serve organizations working in our region to dismantle racism, oppression, and injustice, allowing the Foundation to make well-placed and wise grants. Click GIVE HERE to donate or recommend a grant from your ETF donor advised fund or make checks payable to East Tennessee Foundation with "Hope in Action" in the memo line and mail to:
East Tennessee Foundation
520 W. Summit Hill Drive, Suite 1101
Knoxville, TN 37902

Thank you for your interest in the Hope in Action Fund.