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Grassroots can be difficult to define, as what differentiates a 'grassroots' group from more established organizations such as NGO's can be unique in different parts of the world.

According to the Global Grassroots Support Network (GGSN), what defines "grassroots" groups is that they share at least one of these attributes [1] :

  • Are largely driven by "people power", ie. motivated activist volunteers, though paid staff may facilitate and coordinate this energy
  • Are self-starting and self-organizing, especially at their start
  • Share power and decision making responsibilities amongst group members to a smaller or larger extent 
  • Have some degree of autonomy to define their own strategy, tactics and group culture, especially at the local level

Grassroots groups are critical contributors to movement ecology because throughout history, grassroots-led social movements have created dramatic moments of change.

Examples of Grassroots Groups

Black Lives Matter Grassroots

A coalition of over 20 grassroots BLM chapters.

Fridays for Future groups

For example, Fridays for Future Toronto.

Encampment support groups

Such as the Encampment Support Network Hamilton 

Climate justice groups

Climate Justice Montreal for the Manitoba Energy Justice coalition are just 2 examples.

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