The ACT Scholarship


The Action Catalyst Toolbox Scholarship (ACT) connects organizers to the financial resources, tactical training and action strategy to evolve their local community resistance through direct action. This further empowers their work in the fight for our collective liberation.

About ACT

Ruckus is an action catalyst with over 20 years of experience in nonviolent direct action strategizing, tactical training, and movement building. We provide community-driven trainings, action camps, training-for-trainers, action design, curriculum development, and rapid response on-the-ground support. We train humble and fierce leaders to amplify the impacts of grassroots organizing. Training and developing trainers to take nonviolent direct action is the core of our theory of change. When skills and wisdom live in the community, power grows exponentially, actions and interventions get smarter and more strategic and our movements win.

Since Trump’s inauguration, the Ruckus network has run over 125 trainings across the country. Our relationships with frontline-led groups across the country, help us to identify real-time movement needs. As our political situation intensifies, we know our communities will be rising up to take action. Ruckus will continue to fight alongside our comrades and co-create resistance tools.

This year, in addition to on the ground skills training, curriculum development and action, Ruckus is launching The Action Catalyst Toolbox (ACT) Scholarship to create conditions for groups to take risks, iterate, and create new tactics. The ACT Scholarship connects underfunded communities & grassroots groups with the financial resources, tactical training, & action strategy support they need to win. Community groups and grassroots organizations will apply for a scholarship for up to $2,500 to use for a direct action in 2019. Frontline communities, land defenders, water protectors, migrant rights groups, youth organizers, dis/ability justice organizers, trans liberation organizers, organizations that are indigenous-led or part of the movement for black lives, many of whom Ruckus is already in partnership with, are expressly invited to apply.

We know that funding goes farther when it’s part of a comprehensive toolbox. So, alongside funding, we will set them up with our best direct action strategists & roundtable consultants. Scholarship recipients will also be able to deploy Ruckus trainers, tools and curriculum to benefit their action, thus having some side by side expertise.

Check out our Action Catalyst Scholarship Package:

  • A series of our Action Design Roundtables with the Ruckus Network: to support the group in guidance on the strategic direction and development of a creative and effective tactical plan.
  • Tactical Training by the Ruckus network trainers/practitioners to lead workshops in action deployment, street safety, de-escalation, radio protocol, and whatever specialized skills are called for (climbing, blockading, screen-printing, etc.)/ provide tactical support as needed for action. All trainer, contractor, and travel fees will be covered by Ruckus and will not come out of the group’s action fund grant.
  • Curriculum Support from our existing worksheets and manuals! In addition, the creation of new curriculum if needed
  • Social Media Amplification!

Funding Amounts

The Action Catalyst Toolbox Scholarship offers financial support up to $2,500. In addition to funding, we offer optional resources from our strategies toolbox.

Application Process

Eligible organizations and grassroots groups may submit an application through our online application portal. The ACT Scholarship Committee will review your request and will contact you for more information or to share a decision with you within a few weeks.

The ACT Scholarship Committee meets every month. Expect to hear from our committee within a few days after a meeting! If you are applying to be a Rapid Response Recipient, you may hear from our committee within a shorter timeframe.


Applicants must apply one month in advance of their direct action. Applications submitted less than one month in advance cannot be guaranteed.

Keep in mind: Applications are reviewed on a monthly basis! To be considered for next month applicants must apply by the 30th of current month, with the exception of Rapid Response Recipients.

The committee will only consider applicants that meet the Eligibility Criteria. Please read criteria below.


General Eligibility:

Any grassroots-led community / organization / affinity group who meets the following criteria will be eligible to receive a scholarship through The ACT Scholarship.

Strong preference will be given to community groups and grassroots organization that:

  • Belong to a Trans / Black / Native / POC / LGBTQI+ and GNC-led and/or Dis/Ability-focused organization / community and/or Affinity Group
  • Be a local rooted Community / Organization / Group. Folks in SouthEast and Southwest are strongly encouraged to apply.

Community Groups and Grassroots Organizations Must:

Share Alignment with Ruckus’s Movement Work:

  • Led by frontline communities of color: especially migrant rights groups, youth organizers, initiatives that are indigenous-led or part of the movement for black lives, initiatives led by women of color, trans people of color, and low-income folx.
  • Holds an intersectional approach and analysis of race, gender, sexuality, class and ability.
  • Demonstrates the decision-making power and leadership of the people most directly impacted by the issues the organization works on. Groups and organizations led by frontline communities
  • United by a strong vision for social justice and systemic change

Lack Access to Traditional Funding:

  • Has less access to foundation funders and fundraising support
  • Has less access to capacity building, training or consultation opportunities
  • Has an annual budget less than $250,000 or groups without 501(c) status
  • Uses an approach too new, risky or experimental to access funding

Working on Strategic Direct Action for Ongoing Campaign or Current Crisis:

  • Committed to using bold, creative actions to disrupt a target
  • Working to develop a movement-oriented action that pushs for regional power
  • Interested in or has a compelling and creative direct action approach to address the root cause of the problems they work on, or are responding to
  • Working to develop a response to an unanticipated moment of crisis, uprising, and mobilization.

Rapid Response Eligibility:

The ACT Scholarship will select a small number of rapid response applicants to be scholarship recipients. We will consider requests from any grassroots-led community / organization / affinity group who meets the General Eligibility Criteria AND the following Rapid Response Eligibility Criteria.

  • Is developing a response to an unanticipated movement moment, political crisis or political shift
  • Has identified an opportunity to intervene or respond, which requires urgent action

In Solidarity,
The Ruckus Society


What kind of direct actions aren’t funded by The ACT Scholarship?

The ACT Scholarship will not fund activities such as marches or rallies. We also do not fund actions connected to large mobilizations or conferences, as these often have access to traditional funding.

We are invested in our communities taking creative risks when using nonviolent direct actions. We aim to fund unheard voices, folx testing experimental tactics, and new ways of resisting oppression.

I’m an ally and do not quality for this scholarship, but would like to know how I can support!

The ACT Scholarship is a people-sourced program! We urge our communities to support by donating on our website.

Additionally, please share the ACT Scholarship flyers on your social media!

Art by Jackie Fawn
Flyer by staff member Vandell