Collective Action Funds

A grantmaking solution created by Tides, collective action funds bring together multiple partners and the expertise of an independent advisory committee to shift power and strengthen social impact.

What is a Collective Action Fund

A collective action fund (CAF) is a purpose-driven fund at Tides Foundation driven by the belief that there is power in numbers. Multiple individuals and organizations unite to raise funds, then grant money out to advance a shared cause. 

Unlike a donor advised fund, a collective action fund awards grants based on the recommendation of the fund’s independent advisory committee (IAC). The IAC is a group of experts with deep connections to communities working to advance social justice, supported by a designated Tides advisor. Through collective action funds, our partners expand their grantmaking options, enhance collaboration, and explore innovative ideas that right the imbalances blocking our path to justice. 

Learn More About CAFs at Tides

Collective Action Fund Offerings

Tides exercises our expertise to guide our donors, helping them understand, evaluate, and achieve collective impact initiatives that grow resources for those who face systemic barriers to power.

  • Core Fund Management

    All collective action funds at Tides include core fund management. Get support from a designated Tides advisor who coordinates the work of the IAC; oversees administrative and grantmaking services, like tracking money in and out; ensures governance and compliance; and helps establish an effective and ethical approach to philanthropic giving.

  • Customized Services

    Donors looking for a more customized experience can tap into personalized strategic advising that maximizes their impact. Get support refining the fund’s philanthropic goals and strategies, researching and recommending funding opportunities, creating customized financial reporting, and building more equitable collective impact initiatives.

Why Tides?

Tides has the experience, expertise, and values alignment to turn our partners’ collective vision into solutions that advance social justice.


The Tides team amplifies in-house capacity, making it possible to more quickly make grants or pilot collective impact initiatives to fund new fields or issue areas.


Collective action funds are more flexible than traditional donor advised funds, giving donors more ways to support the causes they care about. Grants from collective action funds can support a variety of forms of advocacy and civic engagement, including lobbying.


No matter how complex an initiative is, a collective action fund at Tides can be the collaborative space funders need to realize their impact. Our advisors provide a neutral ground to work across organizational lines to develop a shared vision, mission, and approach to impact.


Tides originated collective action funds because we’re one of the few organizations willing and able to take on the due diligence they require. We handle the administrative and grantmaking details so our funders can focus on shifting power to social justice leaders while remaining compliant. 

Community Stories

Celebrate the ingenuity and tenacity of the bold visionaries working with Tides to foster change.

  • Tides Foundation partnered with an individual donor to launch the Better Food Policy Fund, a grantmaking initiative working hand in hand with impacted communities to create a more equitable community food system and advance food justice. The Better Food Policy Fund’s early learnings offer powerful insights into what it will take to provide equitable food systems across America.

    Learn More

How to Start a Collective Action Fund

Work with Tides to start amplifying impact. Here’s how.

Step 1: Complete our questionnaire

Complete our Partner With Us form, then our team will contact you (if a partnership fit is determined) to discuss potential next steps.

Step 2: Talk to us 

We’ll discuss goals with you to ensure our values are aligned, then recommend the best fund vehicle to support the causes you care about.

Step 3: Complete an application

If your collaborative and Tides are mission-aligned, our team will send an application to learn more about your goals for the fund. 

Step 4: Make an establishing gift

Once we have full approval, we formalize our partnership and process to establish a gift. 

Step 5: Start your giving journey

Members of your collective action fund meet your fund’s advisor and begin powering their social impact with Tides at their side.

Get Started with your CAF at Tides

Interested in Partnering With Tides?

There’s no greater force than the collective power of people united for justice. Join us to fuel lasting change.

Get Started

Frequently Asked Questions


Tides provides grantmaking and other support to social change leaders to help build a world of shared prosperity and social justice.

A Tides Collective Action Fund (CAF) is a purpose-driven fund that relies on an independent advisory committee to  make recommendations to Tides for grants in support of a specific charitable purpose.

How does a CAF work?

  • The independent advisory committee (IAC) is composed of individuals committed to the fund purpose and with expertise or experience to support the achievement of that purpose.  
  • The committee reviews grant requests, then makes recommendations to Tides that align with the CAF’s charitable purpose and goals.
  • Tides reviews the recommendations for legal compliance and support of Tides’ mission and values and then makes a final decision on the grant request. 

CAFs can accept charitable contributions from a variety of sources, including individuals, donor advised funds, private foundations and corporations.

Do grants from the CAF support political candidates or campaigns?

No. Tides Foundation is tax-exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, and CAFs are prohibited from funding partisan political activity. 

Can Tides overrule the recommendation of the Independent Advisory Committee?

CAFs benefit from the input of the independent advisory committee. The intent is to follow its recommendations. However, Tides may reject recommendations that are  inconsistent with the CAF’s purpose, don’t support Tides’ charitable mission, or are not in compliance with applicable law.

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Tides does not provide funding or fundraising assistance to our fiscally sponsored projects.

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Tides offers a wide range of fund options to meet philanthropic objectives across the globe. Fees can range from 1% on standard donor advised funds to 5% for funds supporting a single domestic or  international project or organization. Tides staff can review your proposed fund activity and give a clear assessment of potential fees.

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Opening a fund at Tides generally takes 2-3 weeks upon receipt of a completed fund application. Please note that any complexities or clarifications uncovered during the application review process may prolong the timeline to open a fund.

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No. Funds at Tides must be opened with a minimum of $100,000 of committed funding for US-based activity or $50,000 for funds supporting a single domestic or international project or organization.

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The first step in opening a fund at Tides is determining mission alignment. If The Tides Approach aligns with your vision, reach out to us via the Partner With Us form, and Tides staff will contact you for an initial assessment.

Once ready to open a fund, you’ll receive a short online application to collect necessary information for opening a fund and for final assessment of fit with Tides.

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