Special announcement - CGRE receives grant from Melinda French Gates


Fortify Fund


CGRE created the Fortify Fund to offer up to $15,000 for projects that bolster organizations’ operational and personal resilience and help them stay strong for the long haul. At a moment when many organizations are facing a dynamic and uncertain policy environment, as well as ramped-up demand for critical services and support, the Fortify Fund provides one-time grants for projects that will help address leadership and organizational challenges or opportunities. The Fortify Fund is available to:

  • Current state-based grantee partners who are NOT participating in the Flexible Leadership Awards or Onward and Upward programs in partnership with the LeadersTrust.
  • Current national grantee partners of any budget size to support emerging, unexpected, or crisis-related needs.



Fortify Fund grants can be used to support projects that seek to strengthen leadership and organizational skills, structures, practices, systems, and plans to address challenges and opportunities that have recently emerged. Funding can be used for specialized trainings, retreats, coaching (specifically related to the capacity need you are hoping to address), initial purchase of tools, peer learning and connection activities with other organizations, or other related consulting support to implement a specific project or series of activities related to your organization’s operational or personal resilience priorities. Fortify Fund resources are not intended to be used as general operating support.

Areas of interest may include, but are not limited to the following examples:

  • Personal resilience: respond to the extraordinary level of stress impacting leadership and staff in the current environment, including but not limited to coaching or counseling.
  • Digital security: find external technical support and expertise to take new measures and get ahead of emerging and heightened concerns.
  • Crisis communications and/or communications strategy: jumpstart comms activities, including training on crisis communications, reviewing communications/messaging, or developing a strategic framework for communications.
  • Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (JEDI): take early steps or refresh attention to internal JEDI practices.
  • Real-time strategy formation: engage one-time or short-term consultants or facilitators for activities such as scenario planning, strategy formation, or other short-term strategy sessions to help challenge current thinking.
  • HR and/or financial risk management: secure external technical support and expertise to ensure that systems, policies, and processes are in order, in addition to tackling HR challenges such as leadership transitions or shifts in organizational size and scale.
  • Fundraising strategy: support necessary shifts to bolster short- and long-term fundraising strategies.

Funding Can:

  • Support capacity-building already in motion, if projects were initiated in 2023 or 2024.
  • Go toward costs of larger projects or cover the full cost, up to $15,000.
  • Cover consultant or vendor expenses, as well as project-related expenses such as travel, space, food, lodging, software purchases, or training fees.
  • Support projects outside of our examples. If what your organization needs is not listed above, please reach out with your ideas.
  • Be allocated for staff and operations costs, up to 20%. We recognize that these activities take staff time to plan and implement.

Funding Cannot:

  • Cover regular and ongoing activities.
  • Cover core operating costs for equipment, technology, websites, materials, program costs, or other general operations.



If your Fortify Fund project requires engaging a consultant, that selection is entirely up to you. As a CGRE grantee partner, you do have access The Resource Hub, which is a staffed, online directory of coaches, consultants, and trainers established by the LeadersTrust and in partnership with the Resilience Initiative. You are not required to work with the LeadersTrust for this purpose.

  • You can learn more about The Resource Hub—and how you and your team can routinely access it—here.
  • To access The Hub, you’ll need to create an account. After you submit, you’ll receive an email from thehubdir@gmail.com to verify your email and provide some basic information. If you don’t see your verification email, please check spam (and maybe add thehubdir@gmail.com to your safe sender list).
  • Once you have access to the Hub, you can use the “Ask for a Resource Navigator” if you need help finding a consultant. A member of The Resource Hub team will connect with you to support your search and discernment.



We accept requests for Fortify Fund support on a quarterly basis. Each organization may only receive a Fortify Fund award once. If you have a time sensitive need, you may reach out to request responsive consideration. The next funding cycle will close May 20, 2024.

  1. Identify the project and the resources needed to accomplish it. If desired (not required), CGRE and/or the LeadersTrust teams are available to provide feedback and guidance about potential ideas. Email your primary CGRE contact to request guidance.
  2. Complete and submit the Fortify Fund Request form. Short or long answers are accepted – it is truly up to you how much you want to write. You do not need to make the case for your organization and program. We already know that you’re doing amazing work. We hope that the project description will take no more than 20 minutes to complete.
  3. Depending on volume, we will respond within three weeks of submission either with follow-up questions or a decision whether we can fund your project. Grant agreements typically go out within 2-3 weeks of funding approval.

Questions? Reach out to Trishala Deb (Alliance Table grantees), Cristina Uribe (Judicial grantees), or Judy Wright (State Power-Building grantees).