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During the second half of 2020, Women’s Fund investors participated in a series of workshops aimed at updating the Fund’s grants process and strategy through a racial equity lens.

In partnership with Women’s Fund investors, nonprofit leaders, and community members, we’re proud to present the outcomes of this work as well as the long-term direction of the Fund.

 

2021 Request for Proposals

The Strategy Shift Process >

Women’s Fund History

2004

Women’s Fund founded at Austin Community Foundation to support nonprofit organizations that benefit women and their children.

2016

Women’s Fund commits to supporting economic security of women in Central Texas using data and investor input around four impact areas; housing, child care, education, unintended pregnancy prevention.

2017

Status report on women and children in Central Texas released, Women’s Issues Are Community Issues.

2018

Child Care – An Essential Work Support for Women data report released in partnership with Children At Risk.

2020

Revision of the Women’s Fund’s grantmaking strategy using recent data, investor input and community & nonprofit leadership feedback.

The Process

 

In fall 2020, we leveraged two critical partnerships—Nicholas Jayanty & MEASURE—to help gather input from nonprofit leaders and community members about the current Women’s Fund grantmaking process & strategy.

This is the first time in the Fund’s history that stakeholder and community voice would influence how we deploy resources.

 

Strategy Evolution

 

Nicholas Jayanty

Nicholas Jayanty and his team of design researchers met with nonprofit leaders serving Austin’s historically under resourced communities.

They explored the lived experiences of those leaders’ fundraising efforts, including their challenges with the current Women’s Fund grants process.

Full report available upon request >

 
 

MEASURE

MEASURE conducted two focus groups (one in English and one in Spanish) with 20 Central Texas women of color. Participants included:

  • nonprofit leaders whose organizations have never received funding from the Women’s Fund
  • women of color who benefit from services through existing Women’s Fund grant partners

 

Participants were offered an incentive of $150 to participate in the focus group to provide their insight and share their lived experience.

 

Workshops

Concurrently, Women’s Fund investors participated in multiple virtual workshops, each themed around one of the Fund’s strategic pillars. Nicholas and his team led our sessions and presented their findings from nonprofit leaders to help guide our conversation.

Special thanks to the subject-matter-experts who joined our calls:

/ Mechelle Dickerson / Dr. Knatokie Ford / Lourdes Rodriguez / Dena Jackson, PhD

By the Numbers

70+

Unique workshop participants

18

Community volunteers

10

Investor workshops

100+

Combined hours

7

Nonprofit partners

5

Empathy sessions & focus groups

"Thank you so much for being nimble, sensitive and inclusive in your work. You embody what is so wonderful about Community Foundations."RUTH H.
WOMEN'S FUND INVESTOR

The Outcome

 

ACF Leadership synthesized the data, feedback and input from community members and Women’s Fund investors, which resulted in updated strategy statements that will guide our future grantmaking.

While our impact areas remain the same, the revisions highlight key learnings from our focus groups and workshops including more inclusive language and an emphasis on systemic change. Our updated strategy statements reflect the need to build trust in our community and fund culturally competent programs and organizations.

The 2021 grant cycle will challenge the Fund and its investors to actively combat implicit bias and listen to the needs in our community as we work to support economic security for more Central Texas women.

Our New Strategy Statements

  • Housing is the anchor of economic security for women and children, who are the most vulnerable to housing instability and cost burdens.

    The Women’s Fund will invest in programs and organizations that provide affordable housing opportunities for women that include a network of support and/or opportunities for long-term wealth building.

  • Child Care is an essential work support for women seeking to provide for their families and secure their futures, yet there is a lack of quality, affordable child care in Central Texas.

    The Women’s Fund will invest in the expansion of programs and organizations to increase access to safe, quality, culturally competent and affordable child care that is conveniently located for families with low incomes.

  • Education is a pathway out of poverty. With every step up the educational ladder, women see increases in salary and are therefore better equipped to provide basic needs of their families.

    The Women’s Fund will invest in programs and organizations that provide access to an ecosystem of support—financial, emotional, and academic—for women pursuing educational dreams.

  • Women’s Health is a pillar of economic security for women. Health care and family planning are fundamental factors enabling women to meaningfully participate in the labor force and build wealth.

    The Women’s Fund will invest in two funding categories related to women’s health:

    • Tackling Health Disparities – programs and organizations focused on reducing health disparities faced by women of color.
    • Unintended Pregnancy Prevention – programs and organizations that provide access to consumable, unbiased pregnancy prevention resources.
 

Request for Proposals

The Women’s Fund request for proposals (RFP) has closed. In total, $400,000 in unrestricted, general operating support was awarded to 20 nonprofit organizations in May 2021.

 

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