Since our founding, the collective membership of WA Women’s Foundation has granted millions of dollars to nonprofit organizations across Washington State. In spite of these investments, inequality continues in our communities – not just economic inequality but disparities in access to justice, education, health care, environmental safety, housing, food, and creative and cultural expression.
In response, we have been remaking our grant structure. Beginning with the 2019 grantmaking cycle, we adopted new criteria focused on increasing equity and reducing disparities. Equity is the condition that would be achieved if one’s identity no longer predicted how one fared in life. Disparities are differences in life experiences, life outcomes and the distribution of society’s benefits and burdens determined by a person’s race, gender identity, and other characteristics historically linked to discrimination and/or exclusion. We continue to seek to address these disparities and inequities in communities throughout Washington State as well as evolve our model of collective grantmaking.
Through our Collective Grants, our members invest in three priority areas that have been identified by the broader WA Women’s Foundation community and chosen from the year’s themes. While priorities change year-to-year, our themes rotate annually on a two-year cycle. The themes are as follows:
Year 1 (starting the 2022 grant cycle)
- Law, Justice & Incarceration
- Housing & Hunger
- Arts & Community Culture
Year 2 (starting the 2023 grant cycle)
- Climate & Agricultural Justice
The Collective Grants are made on an annual basis. The application process begins with an online Letter of Inquiry (LOI), which opens in October of each year after our priorities have been announced. Funding decisions are made and announced each June. Organizations selected for a WA Women’s Collective Grant Awards will be provided with a Letter of Understanding (LOU) that outlines the relationship between the foundation and the grantee.
Click here for a video describing our updated granting structure. (Presentation made on September 16, 2021)
This year’s funding priorities are in the thematic areas of Law, Justice & Incarceration, Housing & Hunger, and Arts & Community Culture. They are as follows:
- School to Prison Pipeline: Focusing on the relationship between our education system and our justice system, and the trend of young adults being funneled into detention, creating a pipeline from school to jail.
- Mental Health & Housing: Focusing on the intersection of mental health and housing and supporting organizations that address the many ways trauma and mental health can create additional challenges and unique needs in housing.
- Community Cultural Preservation: Investing in systemically under-resourced communities by supporting the preservation of language, stories, performing arts, sites, crafts, relationships to land, forms of subsistence, and other cultural traditions.
We have come to understand that systemic transformation is only possible with a wider coalition of voices demanding change. For this reason, we offer a grant to organizations that work in advocacy within each of our year’s chosen priorities. Organizations may opt into consideration for our Advocacy Grant while applying for the Collective Grants on the LOI form.
Three to nine grants ranging from $5,000 to $15,000 will be made each year through the Advocacy Grant. Final grant amounts are dependent on membership contributions.
At WA Women’s Foundation, one of our cherished values is to elevate and amplify the power of all who identify as women. Supported by the WFA Fund for Women, we offer the Women & Girls Grant to organizations and programs focused on women and girls within the year’s chosen priorities. Organizations may opt into consideration for our Women & Girls Grant while applying for the Collective Grant on the LOI form.
Three grants of $15,000 will be made each year through the Women & Girls Grant.
- Tax Exempt Status. Organization must currently qualify as tax-exempt under section 501(c)(3) or 7871 of the Internal Revenue Code or be fiscally sponsored by another tax-exempt organization.
- Connection to Washington. Organization must operate programs or provide services within the state of Washington.
WA Women’s Foundation does not fund endowments, pass-through scholarships or out-of-state projects of Washington-based organizations.
Our funding is unrestricted and our grants should be used wherever they are most needed except that we do not fund endowments, pass-through scholarships, or out-of-state projects of Washington-based organizations.
We are most interested in understanding community needs and how your organization is addressing those needs through the delivery of services to those directly impacted by inequity.
We seek to support and collectively invest in organizations that are reflective of and embedded in the communities they serve, draw on the strengths and assets of these communities, and are accountable to these communities in order to achieve the long-term goals of increasing equity and reducing disparities.
This year, we invite Letters of Inquiry from organizations that meet all the following criteria:
- Is focused on providing services to people affected by inequity due to race and/or gender identity;
- Is accountable to the people being served. “Accountable” can mean one or more of the following:
– Ensures that people being served are visibly leading;
– Develops leadership of the people being served;
– Engages the people being served in ongoing decision-making, planning and assessment; and/or
– Draws on the strengths, assets, and lived experience of the people being served.
- Is addressing systemic racial and/or gender inequities in one of the following areas:
– School to Prison Pipeline: Focusing on the relationship between our education system and our justice system, and the trend of young adults being funneled into detention, creating a pipeline from school to jail.
– Mental Health & Housing: Focusing on the intersection of mental health and housing and supporting organizations that address the many ways trauma and mental health can create additional challenges and unique needs in housing.
– Community Cultural Preservation: Investing in systemically under-resourced communities by supporting the preservation of language, stories, performing arts, sites, crafts, relationships to land, forms of subsistence, and other cultural traditions.
- Can demonstrate how they reduce disparities and/or achieve more equitable outcomes.
We encourage you to review the Frequently Asked Questions below as well as our definitions document before completing your Letter of Inquiry. For more information on the Letter of Inquiry, please click the button below. Please contact Aviva Stampfer, Senior Grants Program Manager, at email@example.com if you have questions about eligibility criteria or the application process.Letter of Inquiry