Action Catalyst Toolbox (ACT) scholarship



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 the Action Catalyst Toolbox (ACT) Scholarship:

The Ruckus Society is an action catalyst with over 30 years of experience in direct action strategizing, tactical training, and movement building. We provide community-driven training, 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 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. 

In 2019,  The Ruckus Society launched the Action Catalyst Toolbox (ACT) Scholarship to  connect underfunded groups and organizations from *Frontline Communities* with the financial resources, tactical training, & action strategy support to further their work in our collective liberation. Through the ACT Scholarship, we seek to create conditions that support Frontline Communities in the risks they take while iterating, and creating new tactics. 

Land Defenders, Water Protectors, Immigrant and Refugee Communities,  Youth, Organizers for Dis/Ability Justice, Trans Liberation, and affinity groups that are Indigenous-Led or part of the Movement for Black lives, many of whom Ruckus are 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 network membership, tools and social reach. 

The ACT Toolbox consist of:

  • Action Design Meetings 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 our Curriculum vault.

  • Social media amplification.  

GIven the current and dire conditions frontline communities have endured, we have revised our application process by shortening the interest form and clarifying the requirement criteria. Please see the application process and criteria informational section below for more information. 

Since its launch, the ACT Scholarship has awarded and provided support in the development and implementation of 15 Direct Actions led by frontline communities. We look forward to continue our commitment to support frontline communities as we fight for collective liberation.  

Funding Amounts

The ACT Scholarship offers financial support up to $1,250.00 to eligible community-led organizations, affinity groups & formations to cover direct action related expenses such as art materials, logistic expenses and tactical support. 

In addition to funding, we offer optional support and resources from the ACT toolbox.
The ACT Toolbox consist of:

  • Action Design Meetings 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 our Curriculum vault. 
  • Social media amplification.

Application Process

This year, the ACT Scholarship will start accepting applications starting March 15, 2022.

$2,500 will be distributed monthly until funds run out. Eligible community-led organizations, affinity groups & formations from Frontline communities can request up to $1,250.00. 

Form can be found here. 

Forms will be reviewed by the ACT Committee on a rolling basis. We encourage folks to apply with as much advance as possible to ensure time for funds to be processed. We will try our best to mainstream and facilitate distribution processes. Please let us know if this is for a Rapid Response Work on form. 

The ACT Committee is made up of 1 staff and 4 network members. Once the form is submitted, a committee member will reach out within 48 hours to obtain any additional information and go over next steps. The Board will confer to decide on awardees. Expect a response no later than 7 days after initial conversation. 

Awardees will also be informed of the fund distribution process during the notification of decision. Distribution of funds should take no later than 2 weeks after receiving a decision.

The ACT Scholarship Committee meets monthly. If you are applying to be a Rapid Response Recipient, you may hear from our committee within a shorter time frame.


Applicants should apply ideally a month (30 days) in advance of the day of action. Keep in mind that applications are reviewed on a rolling basis by the board and meet once per month! Applications submitted with a shorter timeline cannot guarantee availability of funds prior to action. 

Eligible community-led organizations, affinity groups & formations who are in rapid response mode can feel free to send us an email at, subject line, ACT-RR:[Group name].

The ACT Scholarship Committee will only consider applicants that meet the Eligibility Criteria listed below. We encourage you to read thoroughly and reach out if there are questions.


Eligible community-led organizations, affinity groups & formations from Frontline communities 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 pushes 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.

General Eligibility:

  • Groups, Formations and Organizations from Frontline Communities planning to engage in Direct Action and Mass Mobilization. 

    We define
    Direct action 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. 

    Groups and organizations engaging in direct actions as or part of mass mobilization particularly during moments of rapid response are encourage to apply. 

*By frontline communities*, we mean grassroots communities, organizations and groups organized for action against the direct impacts of injustice or harm they experience.

  • 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

    Are a local rooted community, organization and/or group.

Rapid Response Eligibility:

The ACT Scholarship is seeking to support rapid response direct actions. Eligible community-led organizations, affinity groups & formations from Frontline communities that are:

  • Developing a response to an unanticipated movement moment, political crisis or political shift and/or,

  • Identifying an opportunity to intervene or respond, which requires urgent action, are encouraged to apply.

In Solidarity,
The Ruckus Society



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

The ACT Scholarship will not fund actions of performative or symbolic nature. We also do not fund actions connected to large NGO mobilizations or conference events, as these often have access to traditional funding. 

We are invested in our communities taking creative risks and using strategic 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