We recognize that Women’s Impact Fund’s process is different from most other grant-makers. Two things that make Women’s Impact Fund unique are our ever-changing membership, and a democratic process that invites each member to cast her vote to determine the grant recipients. Our Grants Work Teams take their role very seriously, weighing the merits of each proposal against the eligibility criteria and funding priorities as well as against other proposals received this year.
Women’s Impact Fund awards high-impact grants ranging from $40,000 to $100,000 to community organizations in Mecklenburg County.
The grants fund is a pooled fund comprised of annual contributions of $1,000 from each member of the Women’s Impact Fund. All money contributed by members to the pooled fund will be awarded within the current or future grants cycle.
The Grants Committee, composed of all Women’s Impact Fund members who wish to serve, will lead a thorough and participative grantmaking process. The Grants Committee will research community needs in five areas: Arts & Culture, Education, Environment, Health and Human Services.
Based on thorough research, analysis and community collaboration, selected community organizations will be invited to submit grant applications through a Request for Proposal (RFP) process. All members of the Women’s Impact Fund will be engaged in the final grantmaking decisions by having a vote on a slate of proposals for funding. Over time, projects selected for funding will reflect the diverse interests of the membership.
The in-depth grant selection process is designed to help educate members to become more knowledgeable and skilled philanthropists. Grantmaking practices will be conducted with integrity, fiscal responsibility, respect and fairness to community organizations.
We receive LOIs from many worthy organizations, but only 20 move forward in our process, 10 go onto the ballot, and 5 are funded. Often the only reason that a proposal does not move forward is that other proposals were stronger and more compelling.
The intent of the Women’s Impact Fund is to award grants that have the potential for high impact, resulting in significant positive change in the community. The Women’s Impact Fund awards grants to:
- Both new and existing projects and programs that meet at least one of the following criteria: (1) provide a compelling, substantive approach to a critical community need, and/or (2) address an emerging community issue. These funding criteria allow the Grants Committee to recommend organizations in need of operational assistance to sustain current programs as well as launch new ones.
- Proposals that offer opportunities to collaborate and foster partnerships, as well as leverage other funding sources.
- Proposals that demonstrate the ability to achieve measurable results and have a high probability of successful continuation beyond the grant period.
- Proposals that fit within one of our five funding areas:(1) Arts & Culture, (2) Education, (3) Environment, (4) Health and (5) Human Services.
- Organizations must be located and provide services in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina. Organizations applying for an environmental grant may be located outside of Mecklenburg County, but must provide services within the County.
- Applicants must qualify as tax-exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code or be classified as a unit of government.
- Previous Women’s Impact Fund grant recipients may not submit another Letter of Inquiry for a minimum of three years after the completion of the term of the previous grant.
INCLUSIVNESS & DIVERSITY
The Women’s Impact Fund seeks to promote inclusiveness and diversity in its grantmaking process and practices. We affirm and value human diversity in its many forms. We seek diversity to ensure that a range of perspectives, opinions and experiences is recognized and acted upon to enhance our ability to contribute to the common good in our changing society.
AREAS NOT FUNDED
- Capital and endowment campaigns
- Construction or renovation expenditures (NOTE: We will fund construction or renovation expenditures that are clearly related to the proposed project or program.)
- Travel and conferences
- Projects that promote religious or political views
- Fraternal organizations
- Organizations for re-granting purposes
Over the years, grant applicants have asked for clarification on a number of concerns. Please keep the following in mind as you consider your application:
- Pilot project requests are welcome.
- Operation fund requests are welcome.
- The quality of the project is more important than the amount of the request.
- Final funding decisions are based on the priorities of the membership as a whole as determined by the final vote. Some projects will not be fully funded.
Grants Application Information
2016 – 2017 Timeline
September 7, 2016
Letters of Inquiry (LOI) accepted on a rolling basis
October 5, 2016
Final deadline for organizations to submit LOI (midnight)
Organizations invited to complete a Request for Proposal (RFP)
December 16, 2016
Final deadline for organizations to submit RFP
January 10 - February 3, 2017
RFP site visits conducted
March 10, 2017
Ten ballot finalists notified
Members vote on organizations to receive grants
April 21, 2017
2017 grant recipients notified