The ACT Scholarship

funds to get the goods…


The Action Catalyst Toolbox (ACT) Scholarship 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. Through the ACT Scholarship we seek to connect underfunded groups & organizations from Frontline Communities with the financial resources, tactical training, & action strategy support to further their work in our collective liberation. 

Frontline communities are impacted communities, Land Defenders, Water Protectors, Immigrants and Refugee Communities,  Youth, Organizers for Dis/Ability Justice, Trans Liberation, and 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. Alongside funding, recipients have the option to select ways of support with experience and expertise from our membership, tools and social reach. 

The ACT Toolbox consist of:

  • Action Design Meeting series with members of the Ruckus Network to support the group in guidance on the strategic direction and development of a creative and effective tactical plan.
  • Access to Curriculum from our existing worksheets and manuals. 
  • Media Amplification.  

Last year, we officially launched the Action Catalyst Toolbox (ACT) Scholarship in order to create conditions for Frontline Communities to take risks, iterate, and create new tactics. Since then, the ACT Scholarship has awarded and provided support in the development and implementation of 15 Direct Actions led by frontline communities from across this stolen land! 

As we face this current moment in our collective story, we know the importance of following the lead of Frontline Communities and ensure the accessibility and availability of resources in order to respond to the rapidly changing challenges we face under this pandemic.

In an effort to support the ongoing relief efforts by Frontline communities across this land, we are shifting the application requirements and eligibility criteria for the ACT Scholarship. We are committed to rising to the level of support our communities need during this moment.

Funding Amounts

Every month, the Action Catalyst Toolbox (ACT) Scholarship offers financial support for up to $2,500. In addition to funding, we offer optional resources from the ACT toolbox.

Application Process

Eligible groups & organizations from Frontline communities may submit an application through our online application portal. The ACT Scholarship Committee will review your application and will contact you for more information and to share a decision with you within a few weeks upon receipt. 

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


Applicants must apply a month (30 days) in advance of their direct action. Keep in mind that applications are reviewed on a monthly basis! Applications submitted less than one month in advance cannot be guaranteed, with the exception of Rapid Response Applications.

The ACT Scholarship Committee will only consider applicants that meet the Eligibility Criteria listed below.

Criteria Eligibility

General Eligibility:

Groups, Organizations from Frontline Communities planning to engage in Direct Action.
Direct action is defined as the strategic use of immediate acts to achieve a social or political end & challenge an unjust power dynamic. Direct Actions should grab attention, show refusal in cooperation, be from the voices going through the struggle and provide alternatives. 

Strong preference will be given to community groups & grassroots organizations of Frontline communities 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 and/or group.

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 is seeking to support rapid response direct actions. We will consider requests from any grassroots-led community, organization or 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


The 2020 ACT Scholarship Committee will prioritize community groups & grassroots organizations of Frontline Communities that are taking direct action to :  

  • Develop and/or engage in rapid response actions during this moment.
    • Abolitionist work in county jails, prisons, detention centers and camps
    • Raid Defense work
    • Eviction Defense work
    • Expansion of state sanction ruling

  • Calling into attention the incompetency of government and its systems response during this moment of crisis.

  • Showing the possibilities and push against folks in power.
    • Working conditions +Adequate Pay 
    • Housing Justice Work 


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!

I have other questions and want to get more info, who do I contact? 
For more questions, please contact Cardenas at Eva(at) 




Art by Jackie Fawn
Flyer by staff member Vandell