Community-led recovery

Request for Proposals

Are you interested in using community-led decision-making to decide how to allocate billions of dollars from American Rescue Plan funding? We want to support your work!

The Democracy Beyond Elections coalition (DBE) is looking for local and state partners that are currently working to equitably allocate American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds by advocating for participatory budgeting or other participatory democracy practices. Check our our explainer to learn more about participatory democracy and ARPA.

We are offering short term contracts (3-5 months) of $1,000 – $10,000 to support your efforts to educate decision makers and community members on participatory budgeting.

The RFP submission period will be open on September 6, 2021 and close October 1, 2021 at 5:00 pm Eastern time (please note this deadline has been extended from the original deadline of September 27). Prior to submitting your RFP, you may email questions to or schedule some time to talk to our team here.


Q: What kind of groups can apply?

A: While we encourage all kinds of groups to apply (big organizations, small grassroots collectives, state based organizations, local grassroots organizations, folks familiar with PB and folks who are just getting started) there are some parameters:  Applicants must work in the US and be a 501(c)3 or have fiscal sponsorship by a 501(c)3. This money cannot go towards any lobbying or partisan political activity.

Q: What kind of work can funding be used for?

A: Funds must go to grassroots campaigns, education, and organizing work. 

Some examples of projects funds can be used for include: Research, education sessions with stakeholders, staff or member time/stipends, materials translation or meetings interpretation, technology for online meetings, childcare support for meetings or education sessions, food stipends for members and event attendees, 

Some examples of projects that funds cannot be used for: Ongoing direct services or mutual aid, lobbying or partisan political purposes.

If you have any questions about what might qualify for these funds – please don’t hesitate to reach out.

Q: How long will/should this application take?

A: We do not intend for this application to take more than 1-2 hours to complete, it is not meant to be a huge lift – we are looking to understand what work you are doing, how we can support you, how it relates to other applicants, and how we can work together.

Q: My group is just getting thinking about how to interact with ARPA funding… should I apply?

A: Yes! As long as the mission of the campaign is aligned with your work, and you are committed to moving forward with participatory budgeting or participatory democracy for ARPA work, we welcome your application.

Q: I have a question not addressed in this FAQ… can you help?

A: Yes! Please reach out to our Director of DBE Elizabeth Crews at or schedule some time to talk to our team using this calendar link


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