Partners in Action

Updated Guidelines will be coming Fall 2017!


Applications Open: Fall 2017
Preliminary Proposals Due: TBD
Final Applications Due: TBD
Notifications of Community Visits: TBD
Community Visits: TBD
Final Notifications: TBD

*Preliminary proposals – which are reviewed by proposal coaches – are optional, but highly encouraged.
**Only those applicants who advance to the next round will receive Community Visits.

Before applying, please thoroughly review all sections listed on this page:

What is Partners in Action?

Why Does ROOTS Value Partnership?

What is the Benefit of Being in a ROOTS Partnership?

Who and What Kinds of Projects Are Eligible?

How to Partner with ROOTS?

Partners in Action Policy Statement


Application Process


Partners in Action is a program that gives ROOTS the opportunity to manifest more deeply its mission to support progressive activist artists working in grassroots communities throughout ROOTS’ fourteen state region in the U.S. South. It offers artists and community partners the vital support and resources needed to do their work with more strategy and consistency. ROOTS’ interest is to partner with cultural organizing projects in order to support efforts of cultural equity and social justice. ROOTS seeks applications from artists and their community partners in urban, suburban, and rural areas who together have identified specific actions, issues, challenges, activities, or opportunities that, with more support, both human and material, are ready to be activated.

ROOTS’ Partners in Action program builds equitable and reciprocal partnerships between artists, cultural organizers, and grassroots communities. It fosters relationships that, through local actions, projects, and activities, connect social justice issues and policies to social and economic justice and practice. The essence of the program is that it illuminates the centrality of cultural organizing as a major tool for grassroots organizing in communities throughout the region. Through Partners in Action, we seek to build effective partnerships in pursuit of individual and community transformation. This is the heart of Alternate ROOTS’ work.


Our current strategic plan directs Alternate ROOTS to partner in the creation of community-engaged arts projects.

Partners in Action Goals and Objectives

ROOTS aims to transform from an organization that is a formidable network of artists and cultural workers, leveraging their creativity, talent and training, to become a significant resource for artists and local communities throughout the region.

The program’s objective is to build strong partnerships and collaborations that extend or deepen the presence of artists within a community, at home or on the road. Additionally, the organization wishes to support projects that may highlight existing community assets or address critical local issues in communities that are deeply impacted by social and economic injustices. Partnering with local communities’ projects may include convening events that foster dialogue between and among artists and community members. These events may serve as a vehicle for creation of new works, performances, exhibitions, workshops, case studies, and other activities that explore the power of art as a force for social and economic justice.

Alternate ROOTS seeks applications for the next round of project support. Local partners may be in urban, rural, or suburban communities. Partners may be established social services organizations, arts and cultural presenting organizations, a group of teachers, neighborhood and community associations, an extended family or a group organized around an issue, cause, or concern. ROOTS seeks groups interested in illustrating, targeting, and leveraging local assets, both material and immaterial, in the struggle to transform individuals and local communities.


ROOTS shares its resources of staff and, where appropriate, its network of artists, educators, cultural workers, administrators, activists, facilitators, and trainers to support building equitable, reciprocal partnerships with key individuals and organizations in local communities. We emphasize reciprocity as an essential ingredient to effective partnerships.

Alternate ROOTS is committed to partnering in a variety of ways:

  • A Community Visit to begin the process of partnership development.
  • Financial support may be a component of the partnership, ranging from $5,000-$20,000. Not all projects will receive direct financial support as part of a partnership.
  • Technical assistance can include but is not limited to support in the areas of: press, promotion, marketing, fundraising, logistics, administration, and fiscal sponsorship. Technical assistance is tailored to the needs of each individual project and partner.
  • Travel, lodging, and accommodations for the applicant and one other member or community partner to attend one ROOTS Weekend during the partnership period as well as the 2017 ROOTS Week: Annual Meeting and Artists’ Retreat.*
  • Travel, lodging, and accommodations to attend the 2017-2018 Partners Meeting. The meeting will include all selected 2017-2018 partners and will take place in January 2017.*

*Please note: partners are required to attend the 2017-2018 Partners Meeting, 2017 ROOTS Week, and 1 ROOTS Weekend during the program period, which runs from January 1, 2017 to June 30, 2018.


To be eligible to apply for the Partners in Action Program, all of the following must be true for you:

  • Applicants must be a project lead and a current dues paying member 18 years or older living within ROOTS’ service region.
  • Applicant must have been a general or voting member by June 20, 2016.
  • If you are a new member within the last 12 months, you must have at least one other ROOTS member as part of your project or on your advisory team.
  • You have not received a ROOTS grant or partnership within the last 12 months (July 14, 2015 – July 14, 2016).
  • You do not have any outstanding ROOTS grant or partnership final reports due.

Successful projects will address one or more of the following objectives:

  • Uprooting oppression
  • Examining the intersections of race, ethnicity, culture, class, gender, immigration, access, disability, and location
  • Upholding the values of individual and community transformation
  • Engaging diverse segments of the communities as defined by the applicant
  • Researching or creating new artworks or collaborations with a community, an organization, an individual and/or other ROOTS members in the region
  • Developing new relationships or strengthening existing ones between artists/arts organizations and non-arts groups
  • Creating cultural exchanges between/within immigrant communities

Project Eligibility/TimelineWhile projects may be underway before the program period begins, activities specifically supported by Partners in Action must take place during the program period, from January 1, 2017-June 30, 2018.

Program Region

All projects must take place within the Alternate ROOTS service area: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia, and Washington D.C.

ROOTS is especially interested in receiving applications from artists working in: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Mississippi, and Texas. These states are an organizational priority.


This application is open to artists and projects from all artistic disciplines (dance, theater, visual art, multi-media, mixed media, dance, crafts, fabric, and sculpture, for example).  Projects may range along a spectrum of readiness but those that are in the very early stages of development are encouraged to apply for Artistic Assistance: Project Development.

Successful applications will demonstrate a strong, committed partnership between the applicants and their partner, clarity of intent, and thoughtful goals and objectives. Artists working with social justice organizations are encouraged to apply. The partnership period is 18 months. You may apply for a range of support including technical assistance only (non-monetary, staff, and in-kind support) and up to $20,000 in funding in addition to technical support.


Alternate ROOTS values and is committed to the protection of the natural world and the elimination of all forms of oppression. Therefore, unlike typical funding models, ROOTS’ selection processes consider, in addition to seeking projects that reflect the aims, goals, and objectives of the program: geographic distribution, racial and ethnic diversity, LGBTQ representation, accessibility, and socio-economic diversity. To achieve these goals the organization provides multiple formats to submit an application: written, video, audio, and large print. We strive to convene diverse peer panels reflecting the diversity we seek to achieve. The panelists review applications and recommend partners to ROOTS staff. Final decisions are made by staff to ensure that all program goals are met to the best of our ability.


Proposals will be evaluated by the following criteria:

30% Community Partnership

  • Project applicants demonstrate an ongoing commitment to community-based work
  • There are opportunities for local artists to engage in the project (if applicable)
  • Is there a clear and strong relationship between the artist and the partners? Projects demonstrate strength, commitment, and active engagement of the community partner(s). We want to ensure that this is a real partnership. We encourage you to work through the RSC Community Partnership Work Kit.

20% Demonstrate one or more of the Resources for Social Change Principles of Engagement

  • Shared power
  • Partnership
  • Open dialogue
  • Individual and community transformation
  • Aesthetics of transparent process

Click here to read more about the Principles.

20% Goals and Outcomes

  • Clearly articulated goals and outcomes used to evaluate the project as defined by the applicant
  • A clear indication that the project activities are realistic and feasible within the proposed timeline
  • Clearly articulated potential for long-term impact and/or continuation of creative experimentation, is demonstrated from beginning to end of the process.

15% Budget is appropriate for the scope and scale of the project

  • Does the budget accurately reflect the materials, in-kind donations, venue, artists and administrative time and capacity?
  • Click here for the Partners in Action Budget Template you may use for your budget.

15% Articulate artistic vision of the project

  • Are artistic partners ROOTS members?
  • Clear articulation of the artistic vision and aesthetic direction of the project.
  • Artist history in supporting creative projects.

Next: Application Process


Alternate ROOTS supports the creation and presentation of original art that is rooted in communities of place, tradition or spirit. We are a group of artists and cultural organizers based in the South creating a better world together. As Alternate ROOTS, we call for social and economic justice and are working to dismantle all forms of oppression—everywhere.