We are excited to announce the grantees of the fourth round of ACE Movement Grants. The goal of this program, previously known as the Effective Animal Advocacy Fund, is to support a diverse group of projects. To learn more about our vision for the program, see our recent blog post announcing the renaming of the grant program.
Description of Grants
We received 77 applications and were able to fund 23 projects, most of them partially, disbursing a total of $289,745 in direct grants. Thank you to everyone involved, and congratulations to our successful applicants! We would specifically like to thank A Well-Fed World for financially sponsoring several of this round’s grant recipients.
The Animal House Jamaica ($10,000)
The Animal House Jamaica is an animal welfare organization founded in 1990. They applied to Movement Grants to expand their work. Thus far, they have primarily operated as a sanctuary. This grant will go toward their Kind Is Cool campaign, which includes humane education and lobbying. The humane education program aims to instill compassion toward animals in children and young adults. The Animal House Jamaica considers Jamaica’s Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act of 1904 to be gravely outdated. With the previous lobbying experience of their founder and executive director, Maureen Sheridan, The Animal House Jamaica aims to lobby the government to bring this animal protection legislation up to date.
Animal Justice Project ($15,000)
The U.K.-based nonprofit Animal Justice Project aims to end the exploitation of animals using methods that include undercover investigations, consumer outreach, lobbying, and pressure campaigns. This grant will go toward their upcoming campaign which intends to shine a light on the conditions of fish farms and the horrific treatment of wild-caught fishes. Within this campaign, the grant will help fund a series of billboards that Animal Justice Project plans to place in strategically chosen locations. Improved public perception of fishes will help lay the groundwork for potential future pressure campaigns. We appreciate Animal Justice Project’s rights-based angle and think it makes them a great complement to the many mainstream organizations that take a more moderate stance.
Aquatic Animal Alliance ($30,000)
The Aquatic Animal Alliance (AAA) is a recently formed coalition, promoting the well-being of aquatic animals through a strong, united voice. For their first campaign, they brought together several large nonprofits to voice feedback on the new aquaculture standards of GLOBALG.A.P. More generally, AAA identified an opportunity for certifiers of aquatic animal products, who used to consider mostly environmental factors, to introduce welfare requirements in their labeling standards. AAA aims to unify how the welfare of aquatic animals is understood among various stakeholders, including advocacy organizations and certifiers, to ensure the aquatic animal welfare labeling landscape remains clear from the start. We believe the aquatic animal advocacy movement is highly promising as aquatic animals are a highly numerous and neglected group, and we are excited to support AAA as we believe their work strengthens this relatively new movement.
Arvind Animal Activist ($5,000)
Arvind Kannan and his partner have been producing educational videos about veganism and promoting them through Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram using the social media handle “Arvind Animal Activist.” Their videos cover the ethical, health, and environmental reasons for going vegan and are primarily targeted at an Indian audience who speaks Tamil and English. To reach more people in the upcoming year, Kannan and his partner plan to learn Hindi. Since the start of 2017, their YouTube videos have garnered a combined total of over two million views, and their Facebook page has 270,000 followers. Compared to many Western countries, individual outreach in India is relatively neglected, so this type of work is likely to be more impactful than equivalent work in countries with more developed vegan movements.
Augi & Draugi ($11,245)
Augi & Draugi is a Latvian restaurant outreach program aimed at reducing animal consumption and increasing plant-based nutrition in Latvian society. Their main approach is to improve the availability of plant-based options in restaurants. This grant will mainly support the salary of a Project Coordinator but will also fund a survey on Latvian consumption choices. From the experience of similar campaigns in neighboring countries, Augi & Draugi learned that data on consumption choices can be a valuable tool in outreach to restaurants and media. Augi & Draugi is a project by Dzīvnieku brīvība, a Latvian organization that works to end factory farming, fur farming, and the use of animals in the entertainment industry.
Black VegFest ($10,000)
Black VegFest is a project of Grassroots Artists MovEment and addresses social justice issues relating to both the oppression of humans and nonhuman animals. Black VegFest organized their first festival in 2018 as a way to support Black vegans whose interests were not represented at many other vegan events. Black VegFest has expanded beyond festivals and now includes projects such as 7 Points of Allyship for the White Vegan Community in Defense of Black Lives, a series of talks and interviews featured on their Black VegFest Break-Out podcast, and the forthcoming book Brotha Vegan, edited by Black VegFest founder Omowale Adewale. A priority of Black VegFest is to spread understanding of intersectionality. We believe that awareness of intersectionality and collaboration among progressive social movements are currently neglected in the animal advocacy movement, so we are particularly excited about this project. This grant will go toward general support and, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, is restricted to work outside of in-person events.
Christopher Sebastian McJetters ($5,000)
Christopher Sebastian McJetters is an author, researcher, and lecturer. He is involved with various animal advocacy initiatives and is a guest lecturer at Columbia University. In his work, he focuses on animal rights and its connections to other forms of anti-oppression. We believe McJetters’ thoughtful, critical, and engaging approach makes him especially well suited to help animal advocates understand these connections better. We are excited to support McJetters again as we believe alliance building with other movements is currently neglected in the animal advocacy movement. This grant will support McJetters’ current activities, including his Jam Sessions, a series of online meetups and lectures centered on animal rights, Black liberation, and other forms of activism.
Coalition of African Animal Welfare Organisations ($10,000)
The Coalition of African Animal Welfare Organisations (CAAWO) is a membership organization that aims to build the African animal welfare movement by uniting advocacy organizations across the continent. Their activities include identifying and sharing best practices, building the capacity and leadership of their membership organizations, and advocating for animals directly. This grant will go toward their campaigns to promote cage-free egg production and phase out sow stalls. The campaigns will focus on Tanzania, Zimbabwe, and South Africa. We are excited to support the work of CAAWO as it’s focused on collaboration and coalition building, and this campaign in particular focuses on chickens, one of the most numerous species exploited by humans.
Counterfactual Institute ($27,500)
The Counterfactual Institute is an initiative that has yet to launch. The Counterfactual Institute aims to identify gaps in the alternative protein space and incubate companies that could potentially fill these gaps. Because this initiative has yet to be launched, we consider this grant a higher risk than some of our other grants. Nonetheless, we are excited to fund this project as we believe that, if it is successful, the impact may be high. We believe the Counterfactual Institute’s goal is highly promising as it could direct more funds to the alternative protein space via these companies and push forward the alternative protein market. To acquire the additional money needed to launch, the Counterfactual Institute has planned various fundraising activities. We are looking forward to seeing how the Counterfactual Institute will develop.
Dansk Vegetarisk Forening ($15,000)
Dansk Vegetarisk Forening (DVF) is a Danish association for vegans, vegetarians, and anyone else interested in a plant-based diet and lifestyle. DVF has a variety of programs in support of their mission. This grant will support their political influence campaign to ensure concrete measures are taken by the Danish government to reduce the consumption and production of animal products in Denmark. Also, DVF aims to establish and coordinate an international online platform for sharing best practices on plant-based policy work to help organizations around the world learn from each other. As the Danish government is currently working on plans to drastically reduce the country’s CO2 emissions, we believe that now is an especially promising time to work on policy change in Denmark.
Founded in 2001, Dyrevernalliansen (Norwegian Animal Protection Alliance) is a foundation committed to improving animal welfare, with a focus on intensive farming practices, the fur industry, and animal experimentation. From 2008 to 2012, they ran the Norwegian Animal Protection Fund (NAPF), which funded research projects to further the animal advocacy movement. Dyrevernalliansen started the NAPF up again in 2019 when two private sponsors offered to donate a total of 1 million NOK (107,000 USD) per year over the next three years to be directed toward research projects. In spring 2019, Movement Grants provided funding to cover the NAPF’s operating costs, including staff wages and overhead, which allowed the NAPF to disburse funding toward a project on environmental enrichment and noninvasive welfare monitoring for salmon, two projects on the welfare of calves in the dairy industry, and a project on the Three Rs and animal research. This current grant will cover the operating costs of the NAPF for the upcoming year.
Essere Animali ($15,000)
Essere Animali is an Italian farmed animal advocacy organization. They conduct investigations to raise awareness of the cruelty in the animal agriculture industry. They also work with corporations to implement welfare reforms, and they coordinate protest campaigns to ban particularly cruel practices. In the last couple of years, the organization has expanded rapidly. They used their previous Movement Grant to strengthen their organization through management and leadership training to continue to grow sustainably. The current grant will go toward the legal costs of Essere Animali’s new investigation campaign. Essere Animali will invite whistleblowers to report animal abuse occurring in factory farms as well as to conduct investigations.
Factory Farming Awareness Coalition ($10,000)
The Factory Farming Awareness Coalition (FFAC) delivers humane education in schools, community groups, and businesses across the U.S. and Canada. With their previous grant, FFAC piloted an internship program in the San Francisco Bay Area to develop a network of high school and college student leaders to help raise awareness of animal ethics in their communities by (i) delivering presentations, (ii) organizing Green Monday campaigns at their schools, (iii) tabling at events, and (iv) founding animal rights, veg, and food justice clubs. FFAC reports that in their summer 2020 cohort, they were only able to accept 17% of the applicants. Because of this, we have a good impression of engagement with the internship program. We appreciate that the internship program collaborates with other animal advocacy organizations so that interns can gain hands-on experience while directly contributing to the movement. This type of work may help grow the capacity of the movement by bringing in young activists and providing them with training.
People for Animals Uttarakhand ($15,000)
People for Animals is one of the largest animal welfare organizations in India. This grant will support their legal branch: People for Animals Uttarakhand. People for Animals Uttarakhand provides training sessions to police personnel on the effective enforcement of animal welfare laws. They also provide consulting services to State Animal Welfare Boards to help improve their general operations. State Animal Welfare Boards are government-appointed boards that oversee animal welfare policies and enforcement in their respective states. This grant will allow People for Animals Uttarakhand to continue doing this work. India has relatively strong animal welfare laws in place, but the laws are poorly enforced. People for Animals Uttarakhand’s work contributes to overcoming this issue of law enforcement, which is why we believe it’s especially promising.
Perla Anerol Sifuentes García ($10,000)
This grant will support researcher Perla Anerol Sifuentes García in her writing of a book titled Emociones y alianzas en la defensa de los animales (translation: “Emotions and alliances in animal advocacy”). Sifuentes García will analyze and describe the current Mexican animal advocacy movement, educate activists on topics such as effective activism and burnout, and describe the overlap of the animal advocacy movement with other social movements, such as environmentalism and human oppression, to help build alliances. We believe that the book will contribute to capacity building in Mexico and that because of its more general chapters, it will also be relevant to activists in other Spanish-speaking countries.
Reimagine Agriculture ($10,000)
Reimagine Agriculture aims to transform Canada’s agricultural system by tackling unaddressed inefficiencies and externalities through an ethical, environmental, and human health lens. The currently volunteer-led organization applied to Movement Grants to hire their first staff members. We are especially interested in seeing the development of their program on food waste. On the one hand, we think the program can be interpreted as a distraction from animal advocacy, but on the other hand, this area of work is relatively uncontroversial, lends itself well to alliance building with the environmental movement, and may therefore be low hanging fruit for the animal advocacy movement. According to Reimagine Agriculture, approximately 40% of all food produced in Canada is wasted, half of which occurs at home.
Réseau Sentience ($5,000)
Réseau Sentience is a network of student groups at French universities. This network aims to raise student awareness of anti-speciesism, start animal rights discussions on campuses, and encourage university cafeterias to include more plant-based options on their menus. We appreciate Réseau Sentience’s work to build the animal advocacy movement in France via university groups, which we believe is a promising approach. We also believe that within Western Europe, France is a country relatively neglected by the animal advocacy movement. This grant will go toward general support, including the coordination of volunteers via the French Civic Service. With the help of these volunteers, the leadership at Réseau Sentience can increase their capacity by delegating some of their work.
Rostlinně promotes the consumption and availability of plant-based foods in the Czech Republic. They are a part of OBRAZ – Obránci zvířat, a Czech animal advocacy organization. A previous Movement Grant supported their Social Media Manager, who, according to Rostlinně, professionalized their social media presence and doubled their followers. The Movement Grant also enabled them to hire a Restaurant Outreach Manager to run workshops with companies to get more plant-based products on their menus. We appreciate that OBRAZ collaborates with organizations in neighboring countries, which means that other groups can profit from their learning. We also admire the complementary relationship between Rostlinně’s focus on diet and OBRAZ’s focus on animals.
Formed in 2017, Sentient is an Israeli nonprofit focused on conducting undercover investigations, primarily into industrial agriculture. Activists at Sentient combine their expertise from a variety of fields, including journalism, technology, psychology, social media, and more. This grant will support Sentient’s undercover work. In general, the footage obtained by their undercover investigators shows how animals are treated behind closed doors and helps lay the groundwork for many forms of activism, such as raising general awareness and corporate campaigns.
Strategies for Ethical and Environmental Development ($19,000)
Strategies for Ethical and Environmental Development (SEED) is a recently founded animal and environmental advocacy organization working in the U.S. and Brazil. SEED aims to dismantle animal agriculture and promote a transition to plant-based agrifood systems, which are equitable, ethical, and sustainable in the long term for all animals, including humans. This grant is for general support as the organization sets up their operations. SEED’s first public campaign is an undercover investigation of Texan cow auctioneers. The undercover footage, published in October 2020, shows the practice of removing and replacing cows’ animal disease traceability tags, allegedly to sell the cows for a higher price as buyers are made to believe the cows were raised organically. We are particularly excited to support SEED because they promote representation, equity, and inclusion in their work and because they’re committed to doing the most good using evidence and reasoning.
Vegan Caribbean Kickstart ($10,000)
Vegan Caribbean Kickstart is a project of the recently founded organization Rethink Your Food. The main aim of Vegan Caribbean Kickstart is to support people of Caribbean heritage while they transition to a plant-based diet. They found that vegan outreach to this demographic is relatively neglected. The program consists of a pledge to eat vegan meals for 21 days and a follow-up commitment to long-term reduced consumption of animal products. We believe the focus on a specific demographic makes this program more promising than vegan pledges aimed at a general audience. The Vegan Caribbean Kickstart project will include content that resonates best with their target demographic, including recipes and meal plans. Rethink Your Food was founded by Liz Ross, who was born and raised in the Caribbean and has experience in the food justice and vegan movements. We believe her background puts Rethink Your Food in a good position to carry out the Vegan Caribbean Kickstart project. We appreciate that Rethink Your Food considers individual outreach as a way to build support for institutional outreach.
Vegan Outreach ($10,000)
Vegan Outreach, a nonprofit organization active in various countries, applied for this grant to support their Indian branch. Vegan Outreach helps institutions in India—such as universities, schools, and hostels—reduce their environmental footprint by reducing the number of animal products on their menus. Vegan Outreach is working to overcome the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic by shifting their focus toward essential service companies where offices, factories, and cafeterias are fully functional. While most conversations around animal agriculture’s impact on the environment center on eating less meat from cows, Vegan Outreach—an animal protection organization at its core—aims to reduce the consumption of all types of animals. Additionally, the organization conducts outreach to Indian students via virtual reality, humane education, and leafleting and supports new vegans through the 10 Weeks to Vegan program. We appreciate Vegan Outreach’s considerate approach to supporting local advocates, and we are excited about supporting farmed animal advocacy in India.
Based in Bosnia and Herzegovina, VivaBiH is an animal rights organization with a focus on veganism and farmed animals. Their vegan education activities include street activism, an anti-dairy campaign, and helping consumers find vegan and cruelty-free products in Bosnia and Herzegovina. As part of the Open Wing Alliance, VivaBiH plans to start their cage-free campaign next year. Until recently, VivaBiH did not have paid staff. They applied for a Movement Grant to hire some of their volunteers to work on the campaign more consistently. This grant will go toward operational support. We are excited to support this initiative in Bosnia and Herzegovina as we believe animal advocacy in this region is relatively neglected.
How Do We Review Applications?
We published our most recent description of the review process in early 2019. Also, as this is our fourth round of funding, we want to share our current review process. We continue to iterate and update our review process as we gain more experience.
Review Committee Decisions
We established a review committee of ACE staff members based on their experience while, to the extent possible, ensuring that a variety of viewpoints are represented. For this round, the review committee consisted of Jamie Spurgeon, Research Manager; Leah Edgerton, Executive Director; Melissa Guzikowski, Managing Editor; Cash Callaghan, Field Research Associate; and Marianne van der Werf, Movement Grants Program Officer. Once all grant applications were in, the review committee started the review process, working in daily cycles and reviewing between 10 and 20 charities at a time. To avoid influencing each other’s thinking, we first took notes on the applications separately, and then, as a group, we discussed the applications during a daily two-hour meeting. As the applicants varied widely, we grouped them roughly by similarity for easier comparison. After discussing each application, we voted simultaneously—to avoid influencing each other—on the amount of funding to provide the applicant. The default tentative funding decision was the average of the amounts suggested. In this round of ACE Movement Grants and the two rounds before, we received more promising applications than we were able to fund. To avoid the bias of pledging all of the available funds in the first days of the process, we estimated how much funding we had available per daily cycle.
After having reviewed all applications in this manner, the committee discussed the overall distribution of grants. We added up the grant amounts that we had tentatively decided and compared the total amount with the funding we had available. Every review committee member had the opportunity to suggest changes to the distribution, and, at the end of the discussion, we made final decisions on which applicants we wanted to fund.
Addressing Our Uncertainties
During the review of the applications, members of the review committee frequently came across questions or uncertainties. We had both general uncertainties about the effectiveness of an approach and specific uncertainties about the context of an application. When a question arose, we reached out to the applicant for clarification. In seven cases, we had multiple questions and considered arranging calls with these applicants. Internally we discussed the risk of introducing bias toward the applicants we had calls with as we would be giving them more opportunity to explain their approach. We moved forward with the calls because we believed they would help balance out the bias we already had toward the individuals or groups that we happened to be more familiar with. By familiarizing us with a variety of approaches, the calls could, in the long term, also reduce our bias overall. We ended up funding two of the seven organizations we had calls with.
Conflicts of Interest
To limit the potential influence of conflicts of interest (COIs) between members of the Movement Grants review committee, other staff members involved in the review process, and applicants, we took the following precautions:
- We considered that any serious COI (e.g., past employment, past or present involvement with the Board of Directors or intensive volunteer work, or close relationship with an employee) would disqualify a member of the grant committee from being involved in evaluating the relevant application.
- After we received all applications, but prior to any discussion of them, the review committee discussed any COIs they had with any of the applicants.
- When the review committee discussed an application where a COI was identified for a particular staff member, that staff member would leave the meeting prior to the discussion and would not return until a decision had been made.
No COIs were identified between staff members involved in the decision-making process, i.e., members of the review committee, and the fall 2020 grantees.
A couple of COIs were identified between members of the review committee and applicants who did not receive a grant. For confidentiality reasons, these applicants are not listed. All applicants are welcome to contact us to confirm which staff members were involved in the decision-making process pertaining to their application.
COIs were also identified between grantees and staff members who were not on the review committee. As these staff members were not involved in the decision-making process, these COIs are not listed. A list of affiliations between staff members and organizations can be found on our disclosures page.
Additional Information and Board Approval
After the review committee agreed on which applications they would like to support, the Movement Grants Program Officer reached out to all applicants to let them know that either their application was unsuccessful or that they made it to the second phase.
For the second phase, we require additional information from applicants, including financial statements and bylaws if the applicant is a registered charity. This information is required to be compliant with U.S. tax law.1 If the materials provided are not in English, we require a certified translation so that our staff members can correctly interpret the documents. As these translations can be costly—and we don’t want to disproportionately burden organizations in non-English speaking countries—we offer applicants at this stage a reimbursement of up to $500 for translation costs. In the current round, we reimbursed five applicants for a total of $1,582.
During the same period, the Movement Grants Program Officer requested feedback and approval from ACE’s board for our final decisions and conducted several blind reference checks. The review committee then made final decisions. After applicants agreed to our grant agreement, we disbursed the grants. ACE covers the transfer fees, which in the current round totaled $241.
After approximately four months, we check in with the grantees via a questionnaire, requiring them to report on their progress.