The Boston Women’s Fund is a community-based foundation operating in the Greater Boston area. Our vision for society includes the full participation of women excluded because of their race, class, age, ability, religion, sexual orientation, or gender identity and/or expression. We raise money from hundreds of donors in order to provide grants, support, and assistance to innovative women’s and girls’ projects working for racial, economic and social justice. The organizations we support work on critical issues such as welfare reform, health care, violence prevention, reproductive freedom, homelessness, workplace equity, and economic development. Through grants and public education, we help donors make a difference in the lives of women and girls in Greater Boston area.
For Current Grant Guidelines, read Grant Guidelines FY2013 PDF.
The Funding Cycle Timeline
Potential applicants submit letter of intent by December 21, 2012.
Request for proposals from selected applicants by January 18, 2013.
Grant proposals due on February 22, 2013.
Grant notification will be mailed on June 28, 2013.
Grants are awarded in amounts up to $20,000.
The Funding Priorities
The Boston Women’s Fund supports start-up and on-going women’s/girls’ organizations or projects that address racial, economic and social injustice. Our focus is on women and girls with the least access to resources, who have been excluded from full participation in society because of their race, class, age, ability,religion, sexual orientation or gender identity and/or expression. Women and girls organizing on their own behalf are a priority for the Fund. For the Boston Women’s Fund, organizing is a collective action to challenge the status quo, demand changes in policy and practice, and educate communities about root causes and just solutions. The Boston Women’s Fund recognizes that there are a variety of stages and strategies that lead to community organizing. Therefore, we support strategies that build community, especially among women, encourage collaborations with other organizations, increase skills and/or access to resources and produce leadership from the constituency being most directly affected. The Fund is interested in developing the longevity of an organization and will support general operational expenses as well as specific projects or campaigns.
1. We support ideas and fund projects that promote equality for women and girls, by redefining and reframing social issues, cause shifts in individual and/or community behavior, build critical mass to engage more people in women’s social issues, change institutional policies and practices, or maintain earlier progress in the face of opposition.
2. Organizations/projects must be directed and run by and for women/girls. Mixed-gender organizations can receive funding for projects directed and run by women if the organizational board is at least 50 percent women.
3. The composition of the policy-making body of the organization, group, or project must be reflective of the groups most affected—reflective in terms of race, age, class, and sexual preference—and be organized in a nondiscriminatory manner.
4. Organizations must have a 501(c)3, federal tax exempt status, or a fiscal agent with that status.
5. Priority will be given to organizations, groups, and projects that are focused on women and girls organizing on their own behalf to make long-term, structural changes to unjust practices and policies. Organizations/projects that focus on skill-building, community education, community building, and access to resources are also eligible for funding if run by women/girls with the least access to resources and if they demonstrate an awareness of the need for long-term just solutions.
6. For Adult and Youth/Girls programs, priority will be given to groups with organizational budgets at or below $950,000. Organizations that somewhat exceed this amount and are working with low-/ no-income women or girls should be explicit in explaining why funding is needed specifically from BWF given our priority to smaller grassroots organizations.
6a. For Youth/Girls programs, we are adamant that the project contain a girl-centered focus plus have a social change component.
7. The Boston Women’s Fund does not support groups with substantial, on-going support or links to established institutions such as universities, government, the United Way or religious institutions. We do not fund one-time events such as conferences, research, films, or fine arts that are not in some way connected to an ongoing organizing effort, nor do we fund capital campaigns. Individuals are not eligible for funding.
8. The Fund supports organizations that can describe outcomes of their social change work within the context of at least one of the five indicators of social change. (see below)
9. Organizations previously funded by the Boston Women’s Fund must attach the “Making the Case” (MTC) report and a report of how grant money was spent in order to be considered for additional funding. Call BWF and speak to the Program Officer, if you need more information.
Five Indicators of Social Change
The Fund believes that social change is most recognizable when certain changes can be observed, such as:
1.Shifts in definition or re-framing of issues: The issue is defined differently in the community or larger society.
2.Shifts in individual or community behavior: People are behaving differently in the community or larger community.
3.Shifts in critical mass or engagement: People in the community or larger society are more engaged.
4.Shifts in Institutions/Policy: Organizational, local, regional, or state policies or practices have changed.
5.Maintaining Gains: Earlier progress on gains has been maintained, despite opposition. Not taking a step back.