Grants and Investments
We trust women
Since our founding, we have invested over $4.3 million in social change programs focused on helping women and girls to build wealth and become leaders. Our trust-based and participatory approach sets us apart from other funders. Our grants are more than a check. They are investments in the leadership and vision of women who know what they and their communities need to thrive.
Nationally, only 1.6% of all philanthropic giving is directed to women and girls.
We exist to change that.
How We Invest
Every year, The Women’s Fund of Central Ohio makes grants to innovative programs that focus on economic empowerment and leadership for women and girls.
How We Invest
Enduring Progress Initiative (EPI)
The Enduring Progress Initiative is a bold new effort to address the systemic funding gap faced by women of color.
Our Commitment to Trust-Based and Participatory Grantmaking
At The Women’s Fund, we incorporate practices from both trust-based philanthropy and participatory grantmaking frameworks to make our process as equitable and effective as possible.
Trust-based philanthropy is a grantmaking framework that puts community needs and expertise first. It means actively pursuing equity and anti-racism, listening to grant partners, and reducing barriers to funding. Women are the experts of their own lived experiences and they deserve our trust.
Participatory grantmaking is another framework that focuses on decentralizing philanthropic decision making. Those most impacted by systemic inequity are best equipped to create solutions. By elevating their voices, stronger and more equitable funding decisions are made.
Here are a few examples of what sets our grantmaking process apart
- We streamline paperwork and limit administrative hurdles.
- We fund operations. We know that social change takes people, so we invest in building staff capacity and supporting their needs.
- We actively seek and incorporate feedback from partners and applicants.
- We have crucial conversations about gender, race, and intersectionality.
- We decentralize funding decisions through our annual Community Grant Reading Day and our Grants Committee.
- We ensure that our community grant readers represent the diversity of our community.
- We offer support beyond the check and continually collaborate with grant partners.
Our Theory of Change
Gender inequity is driven by rigid gender norms. By breaking down gender norms and the biases associated with them, we can transform the lives of not only women and girls—but all people.
Gender norms are the implicit or explicit rules and expectations that society places on individuals. These rules dictate how people should act, dress, speak, and show up in the world. Gender norms inform implicit biases, the attitudes and stereotypes that we unconsciously develop about people and their identities based on how we perceive them. The intersection of gender norms and implicit bias often leads to gender discrimination, which is even more harmful when it intersects with other systems of oppression like racism.
When we review grant applications, we look for programs that disrupt gender norms and use an intersectional gender lens in their work. This ensures that our investments drive social change and contribute to a world where everyone can thrive no matter their gender.