Apply For A Grant

The Boston Women’s Fund has one grant cycle annually.
Information on our next grant cycle will be posted in the fall of 2018.

The Boston Women’s Fund (BWF) provides seed money, program support, and ongoing funding for women- and girls-led community-based organizations. Our commitment to diversity is a key component of our grantmaking model, which ensures that those most affected by injustice take the lead and work together to create solutions. Our unique approach enables emerging social change groups to expand, and effective organizations that are neglected by mainstream funding sources to continue to contribute to the integral base for social justice.

Our Principles

1) Allocations decisions are made by a diverse group of women. All voices must be heard, particularly those of women leading change efforts in community organizations.

2) The organization raises money from a broad group of donors across all social, racial and economic backgrounds. Educating and organizing a diverse donor base is critical to amassing broad support for social change.

3) Positions of leadership, including Board and staff roles, must be reflective of the communities and grassroots organizations we serve.

Funding Priorities

BWF supports start-up and on-going women’s and girls’ organizations and projects that further racial, economic, and social justice. Our focus is on women and girls with the least access to resources and 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 BWF. To us, 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. BWF 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. We encourage collaborations with other organizations that increase skills and access to resources, and produce leadership from the constituency most directly affected. BWF is interested in ensuring the sustainability of an organization and will support general operational expenses as well as specific projects.

Grantee Partners

Between 1985 and 2017, the Boston Women’s Fund has awarded more than $6.3 million to over 335 organizations. These critical funds have provided seed money, program support, and operational funding for women-led grassroots community efforts. Through BWF’s inclusive grantmaking process, emerging organizations are able to grow, and effective social change organizations that are often neglected by mainstream funding continue to contribute to the integral base for social justice reform. BWF is deeply grateful for the work being done in our communities by our grantees.

In 2016, BWF awarded $40,000 to six Boston-based organizations. Funding supports leadership development and empowerment programs for women and girls, helps organizations eliminate youth violence in local communities, and provides Haitian, Brazilian, and Arabic speaking immigrants and refugees with support services and civil rights education.

Dominican Development Center $10,000

The Dominican Development Center (DDC) provides grassroots organizing and leadership development for social and policy change to low-income immigrant women residing in Jamaica Plain, Roslindale, Hyde Park, Dorchester, Mattapan, and Roxbury. DDC is a founding member organization of the Massachusetts Domestic Workers Coalition.

DDC will use funding for general operating support.

The Chica Project $10,000

The Chica Project works to close the opportunity gap for Latina and other women of color by empowering them with the skills, confidence, and the networks necessary to thrive personally and professionally. The Chica Project provides a safe community for participants to develop cultural pride and a confident personal identity; build self-esteem and self-love; decrease high school absenteeism and to increase college enrollment and graduation rates; improve the employment rate and quality of jobs for people of color; and to reduce the rates of teenage and unwanted pregnancy.

The Chica Project will use funding to support its Community-Based and Empowerment Institute which serves young women of color in grades 9 through 12. many of whom are from immigrant families.

I Have a Future $10,000

I Have a Future builds the power of youth across the state through leadership development, direct public action, and policy change. IHAF’s leadership and constituents are both reflective of those most affected by the issues of youth unemployment and youth criminalization, and young women of color from Boston.

I Have a Future will use funding to become an independent 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.

Solutions at Work, Inc. $10,000

Founded homeless individuals and run by staff with experiences of poverty and/or homelessness, Solutions at Work is dedicated to breaking the cycle of poverty and homelessness by providing individuals and families with resources and opportunities to strengthen their self-confidence and to achieve self-sufficiency.

Solutions at Work will use funding to launch Caring about People, a new bilingual program to support and empower women impacted by poverty and/or homelessness and provide training to develop an advocacy project on an issue identified by the women.

Women Encouraging Empowerment, Inc. $10,000

Women Encouraging Empowerment Inc. (WEE) works to educate, advocate, protect and advance the rights of immigrants, refugees, and low-income women and their families through organizing, leadership development, and service delivery.

WEE will use funding to strengthen its capacity to serve more women and families through two part-time women community organizers (Arabic and Spanish-speaking), English conversational classes, a mothers’ circle, and workshops on topics relevant to women’s lives.

The Organizing Institute

The Organizing Institute was co-founded by the Boston Women’s Fund and our grantee partners with the purpose of creating a stronger coalition of women and girls through resource development, movement building and networking. BWF provides technical assistance to social change organizations through free or low cost workshops and conferences. Grantees have requested assistance in strengthening fundraising practices, selecting and developing collaborative non profit Boards, partnering with similar organizations, best practices in financial management and building sustainable organizations.

BWF will also periodically sponsor a themed “brown bag” luncheon series to allow an opportunity for dialogue between grantees, constituents and the broader community. Through the OI, BWF has sponsored workshops on a variety of topical subjects including the impact of immigration policies on communities of color, negotiating fair salaries for women, supporting and understanding the experience of grass roots women activists and engaging “suburban” women in a discussion about race.

To learn more about how you can get involved with the Organizing Institute, contact info@bostonwomensfund.org.

Girls Leadership Initiative

In summer 2017, the Boston Women’s Fund and the Boston Girls Empowerment Network piloted Owning My Voice, Speaking My Truth with the purpose of empowering girls’ through the exploration of self-advocacy, community advocacy and nonpartisan legislative. The pilot was a 6 session workshop series for girls aged 12 – 16 held at 3 community partner sites. Based on the success of the summer pilot, a school year program for high school aged girls is being added to complement summer sessions.

An annual Girls Day on the Hill provides an opportunity for girls, from the program and the larger community, to speak with legislators about issues of importance to their lives and enables girls and young women to understand the power of their voices to advocate for themselves and their communities. The inaugural Girls Day on the Hill was held in May 2018.

To learn more about the Girls Leadership Initiative, contact info@bostonwomensfund.org.

Boston Girls Empowerment Network

The Boston Girls’ Empowerment Network (BGEN) is a citywide network established to increase collaboration opportunities for women and girl serving organizations (WSOs & GSOs) in the Boston area. BGEN promotes gender-responsive programming, advocates for the development of public policy that supports girls development, builds connections between women and girl serving non-profits, public and government organizations, builds the capacity of member organizations to enhance services to women and girls and shares research that informs policy and programming decisions.

BWF works in partnership with BGEN’s program director to provide legislative advocacy training, create collaboration, growth and networking opportunities and offer a forum to share research that informs discussions about gender specific issues among women’s and girls’ service providers in Boston.

To learn more about how you can get involved with the Boston Girls Empowerment Network, contact networkbgen@gmail.com.

Young Women Ambassadors

The Boston Women’s Fund’s Young Women Ambassadors program seeks to build a diverse and inclusive network of young professional women in the greater Boston area actively developing and participating in projects that further the mission and operation of the Boston Women’s Fund and its grantee partners.

The program will provide a space for young women to strengthen their understanding of racial, economic, and social justice issues, elevate conversation and collaboration between social justice movements, and advance the rights of all women and girls through networking and professional development opportunities in the areas of philanthropy, community organizing, and collective advocacy.

To learn more about how you can get involved with the Young Women Ambassadors program, contact info@bostonwomensfund.org.