Grant Guidelines

Grant Guidelines

Our grant-making process is conducted with integrity, respect and fairness to all applicants, and a strong sense of stewardship.



The intent of Women’s Impact Fund is to award grants that have the potential for high impact and significant positive change in the Charlotte Mecklenburg region.

Women’s Impact Fund gives priority to new or existing projects that:

  • Focus on one or more of the following areas:
    • Arts & Culture
    • Education
    • Environment
    • Health
    • Human Services
  • Provide a compelling, substantive approach to a critical community need, and/or address an emerging community issue.
  • Offer opportunities to collaborate and foster partnerships, as well as leverage other funding sources.
  • Demonstrate the ability to achieve measurable results and can show a clear plan for sustainability for the project (if appropriate).

  • Clearly reflect how the grant funds will be used to accomplish the outlined goals and objectives.

  • Areas or Organizations Not Funded:
  • Capital and Endowment Campaigns

  • Re-granting to other organizations

  • Projects focused on specific religious or political views

  • Projects outside of Mecklenburg County, North Carolina

  • Fraternal organizations 



Each year, Women's Impact Fund awards one grant in each of its five focus areas: arts & culture, education, environment, health, and human services. The top-ranked grant proposal in each of the five focus areas is awarded with the funds distributed to the selected organizations based on the members’ votes and the size of the grants pool. Grant amounts range between $40,000-$100,000.

The grants fund is a pooled fund comprised of annual contributions of $1,000 from each member of Women’s Impact Fund and any additional monies designated for this purpose. Money contributed to the pooled fund each year is awarded at the Annual Meeting.

The Grants Committee, comprised of volunteer members, is divided into five work teams — one for each of the five focus areas. Each team investigates the current community needs, and how organizations work to address those needs. The grant-making process is participative and thorough.

Applications are accepted online in the form of a Letter of Inquiry (LOI). After reviewing all eligible LOI's, each work team identifies a select number of organizations to submit a Request for Proposal, which includes a more detailed application, financials, program or organization budget and hosting a site visit. Site visits typically take place in January through early February. Applicants are expected to meet with work team members in a timely fashion.

The Grants Committee selects a slate of proposals to be placed on the ballot which is presented to the members for their vote. The ballot will have typically two proposals from each focus area.

Each member of Women’s Impact Fund votes by selecting her top choice in each focus area and ranking the proposals by focus area.


Applicants must qualify as tax-exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, either individually or under the auspices of a qualified fiscal agent, or be classified as a unit of government.

Organizations must provide services in Mecklenburg County. Each organization may submit only one application per year; exceptions may be reviewed by grants leadership.

Organizations must not discriminate on the basis of age, race, national origin, ethnicity, physical ability, sexual orientation, political affiliation or religious belief.

Women’s Impact Fund grant recipients are eligible to receive an award three years after the award of a previous grant. For example, if a grant recipient received the grant in May 2017, the organization may submit a Letter of Inquiry in the fall of 2019 for the 2019-2020 grant cycle. Grant awards for 2019-2020 will be awarded in spring 2020 which, in this example, is three years after the organization's previous award. (Eligibility rules updated August 2019.)



2019 – 2020 Key Dates


September, 2019

Letters of Inquiry (LOIs) accepted from September 3 through September 30.


October, 2019

LOIs are reviewed 


November, 2019

Invitations issued to no more than 20 organizations to complete a Request for Proposal (RFP)


December, 2019

Deadline for invited organizations to submit RFP


January - February, 2020

RFP site visits conducted


March, 2020

Ten finalists notified


April, 2020

Members vote to select 5 grant recipients


April, 2020

Grant recipients notified


May, 2020

Grants announced and awarded at Women's Impact Fund Annual Meeting

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