What We Fund
The mission of the Vermont Women’s Fund is to help all Vermont women and girls to rise and thrive. Economic security, or the ability to support yourself and your family, is critical to that equation—for individual women and ultimately for the health of our communities.
We strive with our grantmaking to ensure there are resources and opportunities available for women and girls to understand the value of self-reliance and to learn what it takes to achieve that kind of stability. We know that isn’t just about learning to balance a check book—though this is critical and not taught enough.
We believe that the path to economic security begins with what you expect is possible. Which is why we are looking to fund work that catches young women and girls at a moment of transition and lights a spark—one that expands their horizons and amplifies the possibility of self-actualization and wellbeing.
The Vermont Women’s Fund will consider proposals to support programs that provide learning opportunities that build job readiness skills, opportunities to learn and practice traditional and non-traditional education and vocation, as well as life skill development including self-confidence building and leadership development.
We are especially but not exclusively interested in programs that:
1. Combine job readiness learning with life skill building;
2. Include mentoring components or exposure to role models and experiences that build awareness of options;
3. Reflect collaborative work among nonprofits and other partners in ways that increase access to critical resources, especially for vulnerable populations; and/or
4. Are longer term in nature.
Examples of program activities we have supported in the past include: experiential learning opportunities, career mentoring, financial literacy and credit education, internships, and leadership development.
We especially welcome proposals that address the issues and questions raised in our Change the Story reports, concerning how to improve the economic well-being of Vermont women and girls.
See a list of grants awarded from the Women's Fund in 2016.
Criteria for Consideration
The following will be considered when evaluating grant requests:
- Population: We fund programs that serve young women ages 12-25. We also make every effort to support worthy programs that address the needs of special populations of women such as women and girls living in poverty, pregnant and parenting teens, women and girls struggling with addiction, newly released women, new Americans, and LGBTQ.
- Gender Sensitive: We prefer to fund programs that exclusively serve women and girls, however a mixed gender program will be considered if the applicant can demonstrate understanding of and responsiveness to the particular needs of young women in this age group.
- Collaboration: Partnerships with other groups to increase impact and/or create efficiencies are encouraged.
- Well-developed plan: Your project should be clearly laid out, articulate why this is the best approach for accomplishing your mission, and reflect a strategic plan for implementation and sustainability.
- Evaluation: Your plan will include tangible benchmarks and indicators of success and will demonstrate an intention to understand impact beyond numbers served. Applicants should be prepared to adequately answer the question, “Is anyone better off?” as a result of the work.
- Appropriate and sustained support: The program meets participants where they are at, supports their growth and development during the program, and provides information and resources to them as they transition from the program to help them continue their development.
- Cost effectiveness and financial need: The project budget is reasonable for the scope and size of the work. The organizational budget is sound, with diverse and sustained revenue streams. Ideally, the Vermont Women’s Fund is not the sole funder of a project.
- Geography: The Vermont Women’s Fund aims to distribute its grants throughout the whole state of Vermont.
There are a limited number of funders and organizations that support quality programs whose goals are to promote the welfare of women. While we do not make multi-year awards, the Vermont Women’s Fund welcomes applications for projects that have received Women’s Fund grants in the past. Applicants applying for consecutive years of funding will apply separately using the Continued Funding application. (Click here to preview the application questions). Applicants will be asked to demonstrate increased impact, capacity, and efficiency of operations. Specific strategies for long term sustainability of the program should be included.
What We Do NOT Fund:
Personal financial support given directly to individual women/girls
- Individuals applying for scholarships or aid to attend school
- Campaigns to elect public officials
- Programs with religious instruction
- Projects that will be completed before the grant is awarded
- Businesses, business start-up funds, or loans
- Fundraising events
- Organizational debt
- Capital Campaigns
- Indirect expenses beyond 10% of the cost of the project.
Who May Apply
Grant applications will be accepted from organizations that are located in or serve the people of Vermont. Organizations must be tax-exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code or be a public agency, school, or municipality in the state of Vermont. Nonprofit organizations or community groups who do not have 501(c)(3) status may apply for grant awards if another eligible organization acts as a fiscal sponsor.
No person in the United States shall, on the basis of actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, sex, gender identity (as defined in paragraph 249(c)(4) of title 18, United States Code), sexual orientation, marital or parental status, political affiliation, military service, physical or mental ability be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity funded in whole or in part with funds made available (meaning any funds having a competitive application process) by the Vermont Community Foundation, and any other program or activity funded in whole or in part with funds appropriated for grants, cooperative agreements, and other assistance administered by the Foundation.
Grant applicants must employ staff and provide services without discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, gender identity (as defined in paragraph 249(c)(4) of title 18, United States Code), sexual orientation, marital or parental status, political affiliation, military service, physical or mental ability.
Deadline and Notification
The grant deadline for 2017 is 5:00 p.m. on Thursday, January 26. No late applications will be accepted so please make sure to plan accordingly and submit early to ensure receipt. Applicants will be notified of our decision by mid-April.
All Applications must be submitted electronically through the Vermont Community Foundation’s Online Grants Manager. Visit the Online Grant Center to learn how to use the Grants Manager, including accessing your existing account or registering for the first time. The electronic application form will be available after logging into your account. If you have questions about this process, please contact Lauren Bruno, Program and Grants Associate, at 802-388-3355 ext. 222.
To help you prepare, you may download the 2017 application questions by clicking here.
Apply for a Grant