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, we are seeing inequality continue to grow at unprecedented levels in our communities – not just economic inequality but disparities in education, health care, environmental impacts, and creative and cultural expression.
For this reason, 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.
POOLED FUND GRANTS
Through our pooled fund, our members invest in the five areas which we believe are the foundational elements of a thriving and inclusive community – Arts & Culture, Education, the Environment, Health and Human Services. Each year, one Pooled Fund Grant Award is made in each of these five categories.
Pooled Fund Grant Awards are made on an annual basis. The application process begins with an online Letter of Inquiry, which opens in September of each year. Funding decisions are made and announced each June. Organizations selected for a WA Women’s Pooled Fund Grant Award will be asked to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that outlines the terms of the grant post-award reporting requirements and our impact assessment process.
While we do fund programs and projects, including capital projects, we encourage organizations to apply for general operating and capacity-building support. Regardless of the type of support requested, we want to understand your community’s 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, gender identity, and/or other characteristics historically linked to discrimination and/or exclusion.
- 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 to achieve the long-term goals of reducing disparities and increasing equity.
- Has the expertise to do the work. “Expertise” includes being able to demonstrate both of the following:
- An understanding of the root causes of the issues facing the people being served.
- Lived experience and/or a track record of success in reducing disparities and/or achieving 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. Both resources were developed in response to specific feedback received from nonprofit organizations that applied to us for funding in 2019. If you want examples of organizations that fit the criteria, we encourage you to read about our 2019 Grantees here.
For more information on the Letter of Inquiry, please click the button below.Letter of Inquiry