Apply for a Grant

The Women’s Fund raises funds and awards grants to selected nonprofit agencies within Essex County that serve women and girls in need. Grants are awarded annually to programs within the following fields of funding: economic self-sufficiency and security, health and well-being, and leadership and empowerment. From skills-training and employment-readiness, to promotion of health and well-being, to financial literacy, to empowerment and mentoring, The Women's Fund supports a wide range of programming targeted to helping women and girls grow stronger and more self-sufficient.

Apply for a Grant

Funding Priorities

The Women’s Fund seeks to support existing programs which offer the most impact for the grant dollar. To this end, the focus will be to identify programs that serve women or girls in any of our three fields of funding:

Economic Self-Sufficiency and Security

  • College-, employment-, and career-readiness
  • Stay-in-school mentoring and academic-success strategies
  • Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) support
  • Access to employment opportunities
  • Financial planning
  • Homelessness solutions

Health and Well-Being

  • Safety and security
  • Gender, language and cultural barriers
  • Self-esteem
  • Prevention of abuse, harassment and bullying
  • Health promotion

Leadership and Empowerment

  • Leadership skills for girls, teens and women
  • Gender barriers
  • Mentoring
  • Engaging women and girls in leadership roles

Grants will be made with a 1 to 3 year commitment to the programs funded. Agencies are invited to apply for funding each year with a different program. Each program that is funded is eligible for consideration every three years. Grants will be awarded up to $10,000 per year not to exceed $20,000 over three years for each program.

Geographic Limitations

We support nonprofit programs serving the residents of Essex County, Massachusetts.  We prefer that the organization be located in Essex County.


The Women’s Fund is limited to nonsectarian programming for women and girls of Essex County of all religious, ethnic and cultural backgrounds. Programs sponsored by religious organizations are eligible provided that enrollment is open to all qualified women and girls and the program is free of mandatory sectarian religious instruction.

Generally, grants will not be awarded:

  • To individuals
  • To agencies with pending 501(c)3 status
  • For debt or deficit reduction
  • For political purposes
  • For sectarian or religious purposes
  • For endowment or capital campaigns
  • For research or feasibility studies

The Women’s Fund will not be the sole funder of a program.  Our goal is to help ensure that an agency develops a diverse funding base.

Application Deadline

Applications must be received no later than the first business day in December. Incomplete or late applications may not be considered. Grant awards are announced the following May 1st.

Application Instructions

The application process has been streamlined and is now completely electronic. The Women’s Fund and ECCF no longer accept paper-based applications. The application software enables agencies to create and save their application draft and change it at any time prior to submission. Going forward, the software will archive all submitted applications allowing agencies to view their grant history with The Women's Fund. 

Grant Selection Process

Once all applications are received, The Grants Allocation Committee of The Women’s Fund carefully reviews applications beginning in early December and makes site visits in January, February  and March to qualifying agencies. The Committee vets final decisions in early April and makes recommendations for approval by The Women’s Fund Advisory Board and ultimately by the Essex County Community Foundation Board of Trustees. 

Agency grant awards are announced May 1st of each year.

Reporting Requirements

All multi-year grants will be contingent upon satisfactory completion of the program or associated progress. Agencies with multi-year grants will be required to submit an Interim Report by March 1st after receiving their initial grant and each March 1st thereafter for the term of the grant. The Women’s Fund will not award second- or third-year grants until the Interim Report is received. Final Reports for 1-year grants must be submitted by May 1st of the year following the grant award. Final Reports for multi-year grants are due by May 1st of the year following the grant award. The Grant Report Form is accessible through the application portal. If however, your grant was awarded before the online system was created, please use this Grant Report Form.


For more information or to discuss a specific program, please contact:

Carol Lavoie Schuster
Assistant Vice President for Philanthropy
Essex County Community Foundation
175 Andover Street, Suite 101, Danvers, MA 01923
Tel: 978-777-8876