The Burgess Urban Fund (BUF), a grant program of the Episcopal City Mission, supports grassroots community organizing in response to social injustice in Massachusetts.

BUF understands community organizing as a process that develops the power and capacity within a community to improve members’ lives. Strong organizing work includes:

  • Engaging members of the community in identifying shared concerns and setting goals for social change·

  • Developing new leaders, especially among those affected by social inequality, and including them in the leadership of a movement

  • Undertaking projects that are likely to result in concrete results for the core constituency.

  • Articulating both the immediate and root causes of the problem. Working to change the unequal relationships and social patterns that underlie the issue.

  • Collaborating with other organizations, regional or statewide organizations/initiatives

The Burgess Urban Fund supports organizations that are working for social justice in the areas of racial, economic & immigrant justice – including but not limited to affordable housing/tenant rights, immigration rights/reform, criminal justice reform, and youth organizing - in Massachusetts.

How To Apply

BUF focuses its funding to support small grassroots organizations and movements, with budgets no more than $500,000. Grants are awarded up to $20,000 per year for up to 5 consecutive years, with re-application each year. At the end of 5 consecutive years, the organization must take a year off from being funded.

The next opportunity to apply is Fall 2019. 

If you have been funded by Episcopal City Mission in the last year, you will receive an application via email.

If you have not been funded by in the past year:

  1. Please read the BUF Grant Information Packet carefully to determine if you are eligible to apply.

  2. If eligible, please email to schedule a call. If we feel you meet our basic criteria, we will send you an application package. Phone screenings for applications will start in April and end in early June. Receiving an application does not guarantee funding.

  3. BUF Applications must be received by midnight the 4th Thursday of September. Applications must be submitted digitally, either through our application portal (linked on website in September) or via email. Mailed applications must be arranged in advance of the deadline. Late applications will not be considered.

For more information, please contact: Ellen Sheehy at Episcopal City Mission:

2018 BUF Grantees

BUF “Out of Cycle” Grants – By Invitation Only

ECM is always looking for new ways to partner with the community and to expand and deepen our impact in the field of community organizing. ECM awards some small out of cycle grants to initiatives, events, etc. that do not fall under our annual grant cycle but are in line with our overall strategy.

Past Out-of-Cycle Grantees:

The Massachusetts Census Equity Fund

With a special grant from the Burgess Urban Fund, Episcopal City Mission joined with several local and national funders to award $500,000 in grants and resources to nonprofits to promote census participation. These grants provided funding and educational resources to organizations throughout Massachusetts to more accurately count underserved communities in the 2010 Census, and to ensure a transparent, fair and non-discriminatory state redistricting process.

The Drawing Democracy Project (DDP)

ECM joined a collaboration of funders to support DDP, an initiative working to promote a transparent and accountable redistricting process and to empower communities to create fair voting districts. The impact of these new districts will shape critical policy and neighborhood decisions for the next 10 years. DDP has awarded a total of $195,000 in grants to provide financial and technical support to 13 community-based organizations in Massachusetts. These organizations represent people who have historically been underrepresented in the redistricting process, such as low-income individuals, people of color, immigrants, and former prisoners in numerically significant regions of Massachusetts.National Immigration Integration Conference

ECM donated funds to support this national conference, held in Boston in the fall of 2010. The conference was a strategic effort to assemble concerned policy makers, providers and concerned allies to help forge an agenda for the welcome, naturalization and economic advancement of immigrant America.

Freedom Rides

During the summer of 2010 ECM helped to send 20 delegates from Massachusetts organizations to The United State Social Forum, held in Detroit, MI. The US Social Forum is a movement building process, a gathering of community organizers from across the country. It is a key step in the struggle to build a powerful multi-racial, multi-sectoral, inter-generational, diverse, inclusive, internationalist movement to transform this country and change history.

Additional Resources