For Grant Seekers

We are no longer accepting LOIs for the 2017 Pooled Fund Grant cycle.  

We will begin accepting LOIs for the 2018 Pooled Fund Grant cycle in September 2017. The LOI will be due in October/early November 2017.

To see an example of a LOI, click here. PLEASE NOTE: The 2018 LOI may be updated and request different information.

For more information on our grant process, please click here.

Thank you!

Letter of Inquiry

 

Full grant proposals are accepted by invitation only.  Twenty-five organizations, five in each of the funding areas, are invited to submit full proposals in February each year. Click here to see the Foundation's funding history.

Click below to learn more:

Eligibility criteria
Funding criteria and guiding principles
Grants process and timeline
Frequently Asked Questions
Submit a Letter of Inquiry

 


Eligibility Criteria

  • Only organizations that currently qualify under Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(3) or 7871 as tax-exempt entities. (The only exception to this is an organization applying under the auspices of a Fiscal Sponsor - another organization that is a 501(c)(3) willing to take fiscal responsibility for the grant, should it be awarded.)
  • Only organizations that provide services in the State of Washington will be considered for funding.
  • Funding for general operating/capacity building expenses, programs/projects and capital campaigns will be considered.
  • Funding requests for endowments, pass-through scholarships and out-of-state projects will not be considered.
  • Washington Women’s Foundation believes that no person should be excluded from agency services, employment or volunteer participation, and the Foundation will not fund organizations that engage in unlawful discrimination on the basis of age, race, national origin, ethnicity, gender, disability, sexual orientation, political affiliation or religious belief, or for any other discriminatory reason. We also do not fund organizations that serve an exclusively sectarian purpose.
  • Organizations that have previously received a WWF Pooled Fund Grant Award are eligible for consideration again if it has been a minimum of five years since the initial grant award.

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Funding Criteria and Guiding Principles

Washington Women’s Foundation funds organizations and programs/projects that address at least one of the following criteria:

  • Response to urgent and critical need;
  • Bold new venture; and/or
  • New approach to ongoing problems.

The Foundation funds broadly – it does not limit funding to women’s causes. It funds organizations that, in the opinion of Foundation members, are able to make the best use of a Pooled Fund Grant Award of up to $100,000.

Our grant making process balances two goals: to make high-impact funding decisions and to make the process educational and hands-on for our members. Significant impact is one of the primary goals of our grant making: on individuals, the organization and/or the community at large.  We also look for potential for leveraging other funds, collaboration or other partnerships. Charity fills an immediate need; philanthropy makes change happen. We are looking to make change happen.

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Pooled Fund Grant Process and Timeline

Pooled Fund Grant Awards are the heart of Washington Women’s Foundation grant-making. The process is unique and highly respected; it lasts six months and typically involves more than 70 members working and learning together as part of the Pooled Fund Grant Committee. The process embodies philanthropy in action, ensuring member involvement, confidence and integrity in grant decisions.

September and October
Organizations submit Letters of Inquiry (LOIs) in areas of
Arts & Culture, Education, Environment, Health, and Human Services.

January
300+ LOIs are reviewed by the Grant Committee.

February
Foundation issues Requests for Proposals (RFPs)
25 total, 5 per funding area

March-April
Grant Committee reviews proposals and selects organizations for site visits
15 total, 3 per funding area

May
Subset of Grant Committee participants (20+ members) attend site visits
After site visits, full Grant Committee selects finalists for ballot
10 total, 2 per funding area

June
Entire WWF membership (500 members) votes to select grantees
5 total, 1 per funding area, up to $100,000 award to each
$2,000 Merit Award each to other 5 finalists.

First installment of grant award payments made by August 1

 

Organizations selected for a WA Women’s Pooled Fund Grant Award will be asked to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that outlines the terms of the grant post-award reporting requirements and our impact assessment process.

After the grant is awarded: Before the initial grant payment is disbursed, the grantee submits a written Grant Overview that specifies the expected outcomes/impact and how progress will be tracked. Each year, WA Women’s requests that each grantee submit a written progress report. Grantees also receive an annual site visit from the WA Women’s Impact Assessment Committee for three years after the grant award.  Prior to each site visit, the Foundation may request a site visit narrative to supplement the progress report. The purpose of these site visits is to discuss and learn about the grant’s impact over time on the organization and the community being served.  

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Frequently Asked Questions about the Foundation’s Pooled Fund Grant process

Click below to learn more:
Does the Foundation support only proposals relating to women?
How does my nonprofit apply for a Pooled Fund Grant Award?
Must organizations invited to submit proposals meet all three of Washington Women’s Foundation criteria?
Are requests for capital projects considered?
Are requests for individuals or endowment funds considered?
Are requests from religious organizations considered?
Are out-of-state projects considered?
Are Pooled Fund Grant Award requests for less than $100,000 considered?
What is the typical amount and funding period of a Pooled Fund Grant?
If an organization was funded by Washington Women’s Foundation in the past, can it be considered again?
Is it necessary to have a member recommend or endorse my organization?
Are requests from other foundations considered?
How do organizations learn the status of their Letter of Inquiry?
May nonprofits apply for Individual Grant Recommendations (donations self-directed by individual members)?
May nonprofits apply for the Partner Grants?

Does the Foundation support only projects relating to women?
No. We fund broadly and consider proposals serving a wide array of causes that are of interest to our members. Our Pooled Fund Grant areas include Arts & Culture, Education, Environment, Health and Human Services.

How does my nonprofit apply for a Pooled Fund Grant?
We encourage nonprofits that fit within our funding guidelines to submit a Letter of Inquiry online. We only accept LOIs submitted using our online form - we do not accept mailed letters or emails. Full grant proposals are accepted by invitation only.

Must a proposal meet all three of Washington Women’s Foundation criteria in order to submit a Letter of Inquiry?
No. A strong proposal should meet at least one of the criteria, but it doesn’t need to meet all three. For example, providing general operating funds to a community organization may be a response to an urgent need but not a bold new venture. This does not reduce its eligibility for funding. Sometimes the most urgent need is general operating support for an established organization or ongoing program; sometimes providing seed money to a new program will be the direction the committee chooses. Either is acceptable.

Are requests for capital projects considered?
Yes. Typical capital projects may include building construction and/or renovation, technology hardware, furnishings, equipment and vehicles.

Are requests for individuals or endowment funds considered?
No. We make grants to nonprofits for general operating, project/program, and capital funds only. 

Are requests from religious organizations considered?
Washington Women’s Foundation believes that no person should be excluded from agency services, employment or volunteer participation, and will not fund organizations that engage in unlawful discrimination on the basis of age, race, national origin, ethnicity, gender, disability, sexual orientation, political affiliation or religious belief, or for any other discriminatory reason.  We also do not fund organizations that serve an exclusively sectarian purpose.

Are out-of-state projects considered?
No. Because we make site visits to all grant prospects for both initial assessment and follow-up reviews, it is impractical for us to consider distant projects, either out-of-state or international, for the Pooled Fund Grant Award process.

Are Pooled Fund Grant requests for less than $100,000 considered?
No. In the interest of maximizing impact and to streamline the review process, the Foundation only accepts grant requests for $100,000.

What is the typical Pooled Fund Grant amount and funding period?

Our funding pool each year is determined by the number of members that contribute to the Pooled Fund. We seek to make the largest impact possible with our funds, and will give as many grants of $100,000 as we are able.  We ask that all organizations apply for a $100,000 grant. Click here to see the Foundation's funding history.

We prefer that organizations awarded a Pooled Fund Grant Award of up to $100,000 receive the grant over a 2- or 3-year funding period. However, in special exceptions, we may also consider grant funding over a 1-year period, depending on the needs of the funded organization. Grant funding will be determined mutually by Washington Women's Foundation and the funded organization. 

If an organization was funded by Washington Women’s Foundation in the past, can it be considered again?
If it has been at least five years since the first disbursement of funds from our past grant, organizations are welcome to submit a Letter of Inquiry again.

Is it necessary to have a member recommend or endorse my organization?
No. We strongly recommend that organizations not solicit endorsements from Foundation members.

Are requests from other foundations considered?
Foundations that intend to use funds for specific, identified projects rather than for re-distribution to fund other organizations may be considered.

How do organizations learn the status of their Letter of Inquiry?
Request For Proposal (RFP) letters will be sent mid-February to a maximum of 25 organizations to invite them to submit full proposals. An email will be sent to all other organizations in mid-February notifying them that they have not been selected for further consideration in the funding cycle. A list of the 25 organizations chosen to submit grant proposals is posted on our website by the end of February.

May nonprofits apply for Individual Grant Recommendations (the donations self-directed by individual members)?
No. Members have the privilege of selecting their own organizations to receive these funds.

May nonprofits apply for the Partner Grants?
No. Each of these committees (International, Diversity, Emerging Issues) operates on an invitation-only basis, so there is no application process for nonprofit organizations. Click here for more details about each of these committees.
 

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 Submit a Letter of Inquiry (LOI)

We invite nonprofit organizations to submit a two page Letter of Inquiry (LOI) to enter into our annual grant process. The Grant Committee will determine which organizations will receive invitations to submit full grant proposals.

We only accept LOIs submitted using our online form - we do not accept mailed letters or emails. Click the orange box below to view an LOI form; if you experience any problems with the online form, please contact the WWF office at 206.340.1710.

We are no longer accepting LOIs for the 2016 Pooled Fund Grant cycle. We will begin accepting LOIs for the 2017 Pooled Fund Grant Cycle in September 2016. The LOI will be due in October/early November 2016.

Letter of Inquiry

 

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