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Women's Fund

The Women's Fund is a key strategy in the Austin Community Foundation’s effort to close the opportunity gap.

The Women’s Fund at the Austin Community Foundation engages men and women in improving the lives of women and children in our community. Funded with membership contributions, members vote annually to award grants to Central Texas nonprofits. To date, more than $1.6 million has been granted by the Women’s Fund to organizations assisting women and children in Central Texas. Learn more about past Women’s Fund projects and impact.


During the 2020 grants cycle, the Women's Fund will award the following 2-year funding opportunities:


Four grants in the Women's Fund impact areas$50,000 awarded in 2020 and $20,000 awarded in 2021.

  • Housing - projects that increase supportive services for women and children living in affordable housing
  • Child Care - projects that increase access to quality child care for low-income families
  • Education - projects that support a path to post-secondary success and participation in the workforce
  • Unintended Pregnancy Prevention - projects that increase access to, and education on, long-acting reversible contraception (LARCs)

In addition to our impact area grants, the Women's Fund plans to award up to $15,000 in 2020 and up to $5,000 in 2021 as part of our emerging nonprofit grant opportunity.

  • Emerging nonprofit - the emerging category aims to recognize the impactful work undertaken by organizations with smaller annual operating budgets. Compelling applications in this grant opportunity address one or more of the Women's Fund strategy areas above, emphasize depth over breadth and are in the process of building resources to scale their impact.

    Emerging nonprofits are defined as organizations that have an annual operating budget less than or equal to $500,000 and have been in good operational standing for at least two years.
Please note: upon accepting a 2-year grant, funded partners are required to take a year off before applying for a Women's Fund grant opportunity again.
 
Nonprofits select their focus area (housing, child care, education, unintended pregnancy prevention or emerging) for consideration.
 
To learn more about our impact areas, please read Women’s Issues are Community Issues: A Status Report on Women and Children in Central Texas. This research is the basis for our data-informed grantmaking approach. In addition, we recently took a more in-depth look at child care in Central Texas in our research publication Child Care: An Essential Work Support for Women.
 

Application Process

The online portal to apply for a Women's Fund grant is now open. Full applications are due February 14, 2020 at noon (12:00 pm).

Apply >

Timeline

  • Application opens: January 7, 2020
  • Applications due: February 14, 2020, at noon

    The Women's Fund Project Budget and Operational Budget templates must be used for all submissions.

    Early submission is always advised to ensure you do not run into any issues submitting your application. Please note the application deadline is 12:00 pm (noon), not midnight, to ensure Foundation staff are available to answer any questions.

     
  • Site visits conducted March 23 - April 7, 2020
  • Award decisions announced early May 2020
  • Grant Award Breakfast on May 19, 2020, 7:30 - 9:00 AM

Eligibility and restrictions

Who is eligible?

  • Nonprofit organizations working in the 6 county Central Texas region, which include: Travis, Burnet, Bastrop, Caldwell, Hays and Williamson.
  • Organizations must be tax-exempt under Sections 501(c)(3) or 170(b)(1)(a)(vi) of the Internal Revenue Code and/or be a unit of government.

Restrictions

In general, the Foundation does not grant funds for:

  • unrestricted general operating expenses
  • endowment funds
  • scholarships
  • religious organizations for religious purposes
  • fundraising activities or events
  • umbrella funding organizations that intend to distribute funds at their own discretion
  • political lobbying or legislative activities
  • individuals
  • organizations with discriminatory hiring practices based on race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, etc.

Questions?

Please review our brief FAQ below. If you have further questions or concerns, please contact Kim Theodore Sidey, ksidey@austincf.org or (512) 220-1441.

Q: Our organization received a Women's Fund grant last cycle (2019). Can we apply this grants cycle?
A: Yes. Previous grant funding was specific to last year's grant cycle and your funded project period. We do ask that if you are an active Women's Fund grant partner and have not yet completed your final report, please complete a short progress report prior to submitting your new application. This only applies to active Women's Fund grants (not Community Grants or Hispanic Impact Fund grants).

Q: Our organization received a Community Grant or Hispanic Impact Fund grant. Can we apply to the Women's Fund grant opportunity?
A: Yes, these are separate funding programs. Organizations are eligible to submit separate applications for each of these opportunities.

Q: Are there any operational budget limitations or maximums for the grant opportunities in housing, child care, education and unintended pregnancy prevention?
A: No. The emerging category is the only grant area that has an operational budget maximum. The emerging grant opportunity was designed to allow organizations with comparable financial resources to be considered in the same category for funding.

Q: Why is there no Letter of Intent (LOI) stage?
A: It is very important to the Women's Fund grants committee that every nonprofit organization has the opportunity to tell their full story. In the interest of making the funding process more accessible, all organizations may submit a full application and a select group of semi-finalists will be chosen to continue to the site visit stage.

Q: What is required during the site visit stage?
A: Site visits are meant to allow Foundation staff and 4-8 volunteer grant reviewers the opportunity to learn more about your work. Visits will be conducted March 23 - April 7, 2020 and all organizations should select the times they're available in the full application to assist with scheduling. Site visits are not extensive; they're typically 1 hour and include meeting your organization and program leadership and a tour of the space where the program takes place.

Q: Who makes the final Women's Fund grant decisions?
A: The grants committee is comprised of Women's Fund investors. The committee recommends a list of finalists to be voted on by the full Women's Fund membership.