By Jennifer Long and Marcia Del Rios
This month marked the culmination of the Women’s Fund’s first grants cycle centered in racial equity. Last fall Women’s Fund investors, nonprofit leaders, and members of our community participated in workshops and focus groups to help us refine our process and take an intersectional approach (gender and race) to our grantmaking.
The results of this feedback were substantial. To center our work in equity, we:
- Streamlined the application process, increased transparency, and eliminated barriers to applying. This meant a shorter application, publishing scoring criteria ahead of submission, fewer attachments and budget requirements, and allowing applicants to apply across multiple impact areas.
- We also incorporated community voice in the decision-making process. For the first time, the grants were reviewed and voted on by both Women’s Fund investors and community reviewers, who were provided a stipend for sharing their expertise.
- We made efforts to address implicit bias – both by offering training for all grants reviewers as well as refining the voting process. To curb implicit bias, identifying information was removed in the final vote.
- The Women’s Fund also made flexible, multi-year funding available to a broader portfolio of grant partners. By providing general operating support grants to all 20 of our semifinalists, we are listening to the needs of nonprofit leaders and supporting more organizations across our community.
- And finally, we launched a new funding opportunity focused on women’s health. This new grant increased our impact and is focused on reducing health disparities faced by women of color.
It was our hope and intention that implementing process changes could lead to more equitable outcomes. And while this is the first year we’ve officially collected this kind of data, anecdotally we have observed progress in our ability to engage a more diverse group of grants reviewers in funding organizations led by women of color.
This year all 20 semifinalists are receiving a grant from the Women’s Fund. Of the 20 organizations in this year’s grants portfolio:
Please join us in recognizing our 2021 grant partners, who are doing incredible work to advance women’s economic security across Central Texas.
- Saint Louise House – $40,000 over 2 years
- Foundation Communities – $20,000
- SAFE Alliance – $10,000
- The Survive2Thrive Foundation – $10,000
- Todos Juntos Learning Center – $40,000 over 2 years
- Sammy’s House – $20,000
- Jeremiah Program – $10,000
- RISE Child Development Center – $10,000
- Breakthrough Central Texas – $40,000 over 2 years
- Con Mi MADRE – $20,000
- El Buen Samaritano – $10,000
- Latinitas – $10,000
- Black Mamas ATX – $40,000 over 2 years
- Austin Area Urban League – $20,000
- GALS, Giving Austin Labor Support – $10,000
- Lone Star Circle of Care – $10,000
Unintended Pregnancy Prevention
- Jane’s Due Process – $40,000 over 2 years
- The Texas Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy – $20,000
- Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas – $10,000
- People’s Community Clinic – $10,000
The Women’s Fund is a signature program of Austin Community Foundation – a collective giving network of individuals and corporations that invest in the economic security of women in Central Texas. Since its founding in 2004, the fund has awarded over $2 million to over 80 organizations across the region, including those announced today.
Jennifer Long is a nonprofit consultant and is currently pursuing her master of public affairs degree through the LBJ School’s Executive Master in Public Leadership program. She served as the 2021 Grants Chair for the Women’s Fund and also serves on the Women’s Fund Steering Committee.
Marcia Del Rios is the Deputy Director of Partners in Parenting and served as the 2021 Grants Chair-Elect for the Women’s Fund. She also serves on the Women’s Fund Steering Committee.