Women’s Fund to award up to $250,000 in grants

February 2, 2021

NOTE: The information in this article was taken in part or in whole from officially released material.

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — The Women’s Fund of Western Massachusetts (WFWM) is pleased to announce upcoming grant opportunities, with up to $250,000 available for organizations that serve women and girls in Berkshire, Franklin, Hampden and Hampshire Counties. Funding awarded during the next 5 months will be made available from the following programs: the Fund for Me too Movement and Allies, Emergency Grants, Young Women’s Initiative, and a general, open call for proposals.

“Grant funds provided through these programs position WFWM as a leader for gender equity where people in our communities have the power to prosper economically, live safe and healthy lives and thrive,” says Nicole M. Young, community investments manager. “Being able to make grant funding available at this time is critical as we are in a unique position to support our communities in meeting these urgent unmet needs. Our board is committed to investing in the organizations serving women and girls who are equally as dedicated to addressing these disparities.”

WFWM is considering a renewal of the agreements made with organizations that received funding through the Fund for Me Too Movement and Allies (the #MeToo Fund), initially awarded in 2020. These programs deliver services and support across the four counties for prevention and intervention of sexual-based violence. Last year’s recipients include Elizabeth Freeman Center, Human in Common, Root Studio, Safe Passage, and The Salasin Project. Funding from the renewal grants will total $50,000.

In response to the overwhelming needs of community organizations working to prevent homelessness and food insecurity, WFWM will disperse at least $100,000 in emergency funding immediately to empower organizations providing fast and direct economic aid to women and families. Potential recipients were vetted through an interview process using an antiracist lens with awards being determined based on immediate need. Award recipients will be announced this week with grant funds being disbursed immediately.

The Young Women’s Initiative (YWI) of WFWM seeks to distribute $15,000 in grants to Springfield-based organizations whose programs address safety and anti-violence; economic security and prosperity; or leadership and visibility. Participants from the current cohort and alumnae of YWI make up this grants committee. They are given autonomy to select recipient organizations through participatory grantmaking, an approach that cedes decision-making power about grants to community members who will be directly impacted by funding decisions.

WFWM will also award grants totaling at least $70,000 through a general request for proposals process. Women and girl-serving organizations based in Berkshire, Franklin, Hampden, and Hampshire Counties whose work align with one of WFWM’s following strategic pillars of work may apply for consideration: economic security; parity in positions of power and leadership and; freedom from violence, harassment, and abuse are invited to apply. Grants will be unrestricted and the application process will start with a letter of intent due by February 28, 2021 with final decisions announced by June 2021. More detailed information including a grant timeline, letter of intent criteria, and submission guidelines are available at mywomensfund.org.

About WFWM: 1350 Main Street, Suite 1006, Springfield, MA 01103

The Women’s Fund of Western Massachusetts is a public foundation with over 20 years of experience supporting women and nonprofit organizations that work on behalf of women and girls in Berkshire, Franklin, Hampden, and Hampshire counties. The WFWM fuels progress toward gender equity by funding the most promising solutions, collaborating with results-oriented partners, and by elevating the collective power of local women to take charge, and to lead with purpose. To learn more, visit mywomensfund.org

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