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Grants Guide for Women Empowerment Projects - European Activism Incubator
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Grants Guide for Women Empowerment Projects

Grants Guide for Women Empowerment Projects

Are you starting a project or an initiative that looks towards a feminist future and seeks gender equality? Will it help to eliminate gender injustice and empower women? If you have an idea for a project or an initiative ready, you must be wondering how to fund it and make it a reality. Our guide will help you find the funding and grants for women empowerment projects!

 

We know how overwhelming this process can be, so we conducted some preliminary scouting to save you the hassle! Of course, donors’ funding priorities can change at any time, but below you will find a few short and long-term funding opportunities specifically for non-profits committed to women.

Mama Cash

Mama Cash is an international fund established in 1983 by five feminist activists. They support women’s, girls, queer, and intersex people’s campaigns worldwide. Mama Cash mobilizes resources from individuals and institutions, offers grants for self-led, women empowerment projects and organizations, and helps to build the partnerships and networks necessary to successfully defend and advance women, girls, trans, and intersex people’s human rights globally.

Spark Fund

 

GRANT SIZE | €1,000 to €3,000 per project.

 

GRANT DURATION | Single-year.

 

ELIGIBILITY | Check what makes an organisation not eligible, here.

 

Your project’s target groups | Women, girls, trans, and intersex rights groups.

Who can be funded?

  • Non-formalised/non-registered, newly emerging groups with a budget below €30,000 per year, and that have limited resources (e.g. no paid staff, no office space, etc.) will be prioritised.
  • There are no requirements for a bank account, residence permit or any other form of identification; the organisation does not have to be registered as a ‘foundation’

What types of actions or activities can be funded?

  • Embracing the feminist approach, where feminist is defined as “addressing or challenging sexism and patriarchal gender norms (in relation to sexuality, class, race, migration status, ability, and so on) with the goal of ending inequality and injustice.
  • Led by women, girls, trans and/or intersex people. Those whose rights are at stake must be the leading decision-makers.
  • Focusing on urgent and contested political issues in the Netherlands or the ABCSSS islands.
  • Pushing for structural and systemic change.

Where should the project take place?

Netherlands, Aruba, Bonaire, Curaçao Saba, Sint Eustasius or Sint Maarten (ABCSSS islands)

 

APPLICATION PROCESS

In 2021, the Spark grant applications were welcomed in English and Dutch via an online application form, as a video recording, or as an audio recording. For applications in other languages, contact Mama Cash at spark@mamacash.org prior to submission.

 

Shortlisted candidates participate in the final decision-making by voting for the top 5 Spark proposals.

 

Read about the successful 2020 Spark Grantee-Partners here.

Oak Foundation

The Oak Foundation offers grants to organisations tackling global, social, and environmental issues to create a safer, fairer, and more sustainable world. The foundation prioritises projects that impact the lives of the disadvantaged.

GRANT SIZE | Approximately $25,000 – $7 million, with an average award of $600,000.

– Besides Zimbabwe, the Oak Foundation does not provide program grants under $25,000.

 

GRANT DURATION | The majority of awards are multi-year in duration.

 

ELIGIBILITY

Your project’s target groups

Women who have experienced physical, psychological, and sexual violence at home (domestic violence); at work and immigration (trafficking and exploitation); or are in situations of crisis. Movements and organizations led for women.

 

Who can be funded?

Women’s movements that enable women’s agency, leadership and capacity, and organizations with long-term sustainability, such as co-funding.

What types of actions or activities can be funded?

  • Focusing on women’s rights and equality;
  • Targeting the root causes of problems;
  • Addressing violence against women;
  • Promoting systemic change by strengthening legal frameworks and holding governments and institutions to account;
  • Contributing to the broader women’s movement by complementing individual and community action with networking and joint advocacy initiatives.

Where should the project take place?

Worldwide

 

APPLICATION PROCESS

Despite the invitation-only application process, where grantees are invited to apply based on fieldwork and research, and the majority of awards are made to long-standing partners, the Oak Foundation wants to hear about ideas and work that fit within their programme strategies. Therefore, if an organization believes that strong alignment exists with Oak Foundation’s funding priorities, the organization is encouraged to submit an unsolicited letter of inquiry.

ELLE Foundation

ELLE is a women’s magazine owned by the Lagardère group. The ELLE Foundation’s creation in 2004 was to promote women’s and girls’ education worldwide.

GRANT SIZE | €15,000 to €20,000 per project

ELIGIBILITY

 

Your project’s target groups | Direct beneficiaries of the project must be women or girls.

 

Who can be funded?

The organization must be European or presented by a European association. The main activities of the project must be education, training, and information.

 

Where should the project take place?

The ELLE Foundation supports projects in Europe and abroad

What types of actions or activities can be funded?

  • when the project highlights a problem that affects exclusively or mainly girls and women
  • when the main activities of the project focus on education, training, and information for girls and women
  • when the programs emphasize a global approach to primary, secondary, and higher education, as well as teacher training
  • when the programs aim at increasing the independence of mothers through informal education, vocational training, and social rehabilitation
  • when the initiatives enable mothers to send their daughters to school

APPLICATION PROCESS

Applications are received throughout the year. After reading the guidelines, the project can be submitted via email.

FRIDA

FRIDA provides young women, girls, and trans youth with the resources they need to amplify their voices, bring attention to their work, support, flexibility, and network to keep their vision and influence alive.

GRANT SIZE | Up to $6,000

 

GRANT DURATION | Over a period of 12 months, with an opportunity for renewal

 

ELIGIBILITY

Your project’s target groups

Young feminist groups in the Global South, with the goal of improving lives of young women, trans and intersex youth at a local, national or international level.

 

Who can be funded?

  • Youth-led feminist groups
  • Groups in which 70% of the team are under 30. Leaders must be under 30 and be young women, trans or intersex persons
  • Organizations do not need to be legally registered
  • Priority is given to small, grassroots initiatives that have no access to funding from large organizations

What types of actions or activities can be funded?

Grants for women empowerment from FRIDA are awarded to organizations and individuals that are committed to improving the lives of young women/trans and intersex youth at local, national, regional, or international levels. Inclusive Organizing Collective action and feminist movement building are also covered.

 

Where should the project take place?

Any country excluding highly industrialized nations.

APPLICATION PROCESS

FRIDA receives ‘general grant’ applications online every year for a period of 4 to 6 weeks. Their last call for proposals was in early 2020.

Global Fund for Women

Global Fund for Women, established in 1987, funds bold, ambitious, and expansive gender justice movements to create meaningful change that will last beyond our lifetimes.

GRANT SIZE | $950 – $96,000

ELIGIBILITY

 

Your project’s target groups | Women

 

Who can be funded?

Non-registered or registered NGOs who:

  • have a primary focus on advancing women’s equality and human rights, with these goals reflecting in its activities;
  • are a group of women, girls, or trans people working together or governed, directed, and led by women, girls, or trans people.

 

What types of actions or activities can be funded?

  • general support grants
  • travel and event organizing grants
  • crisis grants

Other thematic areas covered:

  • reproductive justice and sexual rights
  • fight for freedom from violence
  • initiatives supporting worker’s rights including domestic, factory, and farmworkers
  • movements supporting women’s engagement and leadership in agriculture with a particular focus on sustainable livelihoods and climate-resilient agricultural practices
  • innovative approaches to media and technology that are related to their funding priorities in the issue areas outlined above

 

Where should the project take place?

Worldwide, excluding the United States.

APPLICATION PROCESS

Profile forms are open all year in the online system, where organizations can register their interest. Profiles stay valid for 2 years. A proposal can only be submitted upon the Fund’s review and invitation.

Sigrid Rausing Trust

Sigrid Rausing Trust was established in 1995 by Sigrid Rausing, a Swedish philanthropist, to promote the values and principles of human rights, equality, and the rule of law, and to preserve nature from further degradation. It is run by a board of trustees and supported by donations. Accordingly, Sigrid Rausing Trust runs several grant programs, including women’s rights.

GRANT SIZE | There is no minimum or maximum level for a grant for women empowerment, however, the Trust will normally not support more than 25% of an organization’s budget or a project.

ELIGIBILITY

 

Your project’s target groups | Women

 

Who can be funded?

  • can only support activities that can be considered charitable according to the law of England and Wales (Charities Act 2006)
  • must be politically non-partisan
  • groups covering the core areas of this program’s goals

What types of actions or activities can be funded?

 

Projects for women’s rights and gender equality in three key areas:

  • gender-based violence
  • sexual and reproductive rights
  • women’s land and property rights.
  • other projects in line with the Trust’s programs.

 

Where should the project take place?

Worldwide

APPLICATION PROCESS

The Trust does not accept unsolicited funding applications. They identify organizations with projects that align with their funding goals and invite them to apply for a grant.

Feminist Review Trust

The Feminist Review Trust is a charity funded by the Feminist Review since 2001.


Their grants for women empowerment represent the diversity of women’s lives globally and support the creativity which with women fight the inequalities they face.


GRANT SIZE | Maximum value: £15,000

 

ELIGIBILITY

Your project’s target groups

  • lesbians
  • transgender people
  • women and girls who experienced violence
  • disabled women and girls
  • refugee women and girls
  • women, girls, and environmental activism related to place and locality

 

Who can be funded?

Individuals or organizations, and particularly small activist groups in non-OECD countries.

What types of actions or activities can be funded?

  • feminist academic activity and research that cannot achieve funding through more conventional sources, and activities/projects that improve the lives of women
  • women-related projects with no obvious sources of funding
  • an activity, which, once started, will attract funding from other sources
  • interventionist projects that support feminist values
  • training and development projects in relevant areas
  • one-off events
  • production and distribution of relevant material for women
  • general operational costs for organizations in line with their mission e.g. staff costs, accommodation, etc.
  • projects that fall outside of the above-listed categories may still be offered funds if the initiative supports women

Where should the project take place?

The Trust particularly welcomes applications from non-ODEC countries, small activist groups, and projects with an intersectional and anti-racist perspective.

 

APPLICATION PROCESS

Feminist Review Trust funds run 3 rounds of applications every year for grants for women empowerment. Apply here.

Third Wave Fund

Third Wave Fund has been a leader in gender justice and a movement to end patriarchy, transphobia, homophobia, and misogyny. It is the only activist fund led by and for women of color, intersex, queer, and trans folks under 35 years old in the US. It’s been active for 20 years. 

 

Third Wave Fund supports youth-led Gender Justice activism to advance the political power, well-being, and self-determination of communities of color and low-income communities. As a community fund, they partner with donors and activists to ensure that grants for women empowerment reach young people and give them the tools to make lasting change in their communities. 

Where should the project take place?

United States (for all three funds below)

 

Mobilize Power Fund

 

GRANT SIZE | Up to USD 10,000. Larger grants for women empowerment may be made on a case-by-case basis.

– Partnership or coalitions of two or more groups can request up to USD 20,000

 

ELIGIBILITY

Your project’s target groups | Young women of color and/or trans, gender non-conforming, intersex activists, and/or queer youth under 35.

 

Who can be funded?

Youth-led and intergenerational groups, nonprofits, & coalitions regardless of 501c3 status or fiscal sponsorship.

 

APPLICATION PROCESS

All year-round, but must be submitted within a month’s review deadline date to be considered. The application is made online.

What types of actions or activities can be funded?

 

The event or situation you’re responding to was unanticipated, requires urgent or timely action, and/or leverages recent attention or media coverage.

 

Gender justice activities, proposal strategies, and activities that:

  • help build power for youth-led gender justice activism, organizing, and/or healing in your communities, 
  • are connected to the goal(s), outcome(s), and/or changes you want as a result of your proposed actions.

Grow Power Fund

 

GRANT SIZE | Up to six years. Click here to send an enquiry about grant size.

 

ELIGIBILITY

Your project’s target groups | Young people of color, young women, trans, and queer youth. 

 

Who can be funded?

Open to registered 501c3 and fiscally-sponsored organizations. The organization’s budget has to be under $200,000.

 

APPLICATION PROCESS

Sign up for their newsletter to find out when they have new grant opportunities available. An unsolicited application is not accepted.

What types of actions or activities can be funded? 

  • emerging organizations
  • budget under $200,000
  • demonstrating shared leadership and potential for growth but maybe lacking access to skills development and grant funding 
  • working across gender justice movements at the intersections of age, race, class, migration, disability, faith, and geography
  • using a range of strategies to mobilize their communities, strengthen leadership, change culture, and shift power

Own Our Power Fund

 

GRANT SIZE | Funding is for two years with USD 25,000 per year.

 

ELIGIBILITY

Your project’s target groups | Youths under 35.

 

Who can be funded? | Registered organizations or fiscally sponsored with an annual budget of up to USD 500,000 are eligible to apply.

 

APPLICATION PROCESS

Sign up for their newsletter to be the first to know about new opportunities for grants for women empowerment. An unsolicited application is not accepted.

What types of actions or activities can be funded? 

  • emerging organizations
  • budget under $200,000
  • demonstrating shared leadership and potential for growth but maybe lacking access to skills development and grant funding 
  • working across gender justice movements at the intersections of age, race, class, migration, disability, faith, and geography
  • using a range of strategies to mobilize their communities, strengthen leadership, change culture, and shift power

SheDecides Spark Grants

SheDecides Spark Grants offers small grants for women empowerment to young feminist groups, collectives, movements, and coalitions to help them open up dialogue about bodily autonomy and fight for sexual rights.

GRANT SIZE | $5000 to $20000 per project

 

ELIGIBILITY

Your project’s target groups | Women, trans people, and gender non-conforming people

 

Who can be funded?

Spark Grants are open for applications from any feminist groups (collectives, movements, coalitions, etc.) that organize around bodily autonomy and sexual rights. These groups must:

  • be led by women, trans people, and gender non-conforming people between 18 and 30 years old,
  • work from a feminist perspective.

 

The group does not need to have a bank account, residence permit or any other form of identification to apply. It does not have to be registered as an NGO.

What types of actions or activities can be funded?

  • Urgent and contested political issues around bodily autonomy and sexual rights.
  • Activities on structural and systemic change for bodily autonomy and sexual rights.

 

Nascent groups with limited resources will be prioritised.

Where should the project take place?

The group should be based in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, the Arab Region, Eastern Europe.

 

APPLICATION PROCESS

Applications must be filled out on the online Spark Grants form. Request for application documents in other languages aside from English at sparks@shedecides.com. Applications must be developed and submitted by a feminist group, collective, movement, or coalition.

The Alliance for Gender Equality in Europe

The Alliance joins local and pan-European civil society actors with diverse funders to support progress in the areas of gender equality and women’s rights in Europe.

2021 Fund for Covid Solidarity

 

GRANT SIZE | 30 000€ – 50 000€ per grant (grant requests should not exceed 50% of the organisation’s budget). Total funding for this initial open call is 600 000€.

 

GRANT DURATION | One year

 

ELIGIBILITY

Your project’s target groups | The most vulnerable women and girls who have been the most negatively impacted by Covid-19.

 

Who can be funded?

The Alliance offers grants for women empowerment to non-governmental associations, community-based organisations, social enterprises, national or regional funds (regranting is possible). You must be registered as a non-profit with the appropriate national authority.

 

Although small, frontline organisations will be prioritised (annual budgets below 450,000 €), larger organisations innovating or experimenting in an area where there is a demonstrable need will also be considered, if a specific project proposal is submitted.

What types of actions or activities can be funded?

  • contributing to gender equality and women’s rights
  • operating in the closest contact possible with people on the ground
  • priority thematic areas are:
    → access to economic resources, entrepreneurship, digital divide.
    → access to education and training: promoting opportunities for education and vocational training,
    including communications and information technologies.
    → gender and violence against women/health and social protection: combatting gender-based violence, securing access to healthcare and social protection.
    → climate change
    → technology development and innovation

 

Proposals in other areas will be considered.

Where should the project take place?

27 member states of the European Union: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden.

 

APPLICATION PROCESS

Applications must be submitted via the online platform. The application will not be considered complete without the necessary annexes as indicated in the application form.

Mediterranean Women’s Fund

The Mediterranean Women’s Fund offers grants for women empowerment projects to support the women’s movement in the Mediterranean countries.

ELIGIBILITY

Your project’s target groups | Women

 

Who can be funded?

Associations or groups led by women or by a management team, where the majority identifies as women. The group’s activities must exhibit a strong commitment to equal rights for men and women, as well as human rights.

 

Individuals cannot apply.

 

Click here to double-check if your organisation is eligible for a women empowerment grant.

What types of actions or activities can be funded?

  • transmission to young women
  • capacity-building of women’s associations
  • strengthening networks at the Mediterranean level
  • fighting against violence against women
  • promoting sexual and reproductive rights
  • advocating and taking action for equal rights
  • spreading awareness through art and culture

Where should the project take place?

Countries bordering the Mediterranean only.

 

APPLICATION PROCESS

Applications are accepted anytime. Fill out an application form to enter the first stage of the application process. Upon successful review, you will receive an invitation to submit a more detailed application.

Astrea Lesbian Foundation for Justice

Astraea works with LGBTQI groups that promote racial, economic, and gender justice, mobilizing communities to challenge oppression and claim human rights.

 

GRANT SIZE | $7,000 – $20,000 with the average grant size at $10,000.

 

GRANT DURATION | Over the period of three years.

International Fund

 

ELIGIBILITY

Your project’s target groups | Historically marginalized and under-resourced LGBTQI populations (e.g. youth, elders, ethnic minorities, migrants/refugees, low-income individuals, people with disabilities, sex workers, etc.)

 

Who can be funded?

Projects and organizations actively participating and leading for progressive social change and addressing oppression based on sexual orientation and gender identity among communities most affected by the issues that the group addresses.

 

Check here if you can apply.

What types of actions or activities can be funded?

  • inclusive and reflecting the diversity of the geographic region where they work
  • displaying an understanding of the intersectionality in oppressions experienced by LGBTQI people and a commitment to addressing oppression based on class, race, ethnicity, age, physical and mental ability, gender, national identity, and religious affiliation
  • fostering leadership development and community capacity for social change, especially by improving an organization’s ability to organize
  • cooperating with other social justice organizations or forming coalitions with them (e.g. sex worker rights, human rights, etc.)

Where should the project take place?

Outside the Global North.

 

APPLICATION PROCESS

The fund provides grants two times per year. Unsolicited letters of interest will not be considered. Sign up for the mailing list to find out about calls for proposals.

Global Arts Fund

 

ELIGIBILITY

Your project’s target groups | Historically marginalized and under-resourced LGBTQI populations (e.g. youth, elders, ethnic minorities, migrants/refugees, low-income individuals, people with disabilities, sex workers, etc.)

 

Who can be funded?

LGBTQI people and organizations that use art as a tool for social transformation but have limited resources to do so.

 

Check here if you can apply.

What types of actions or activities can be funded?

 

Astrea funds different media and disciplines, including video, film, poetry, fictional prose, photography, painting, performance, dance, theatre, music, and other interdisciplinary expressions from LGBTQI people and organizations.

Where should the project take place?

Global

 

APPLICATION PROCESS

Astraea invites proposals for the Global Arts Fund based on nominations received from grantee partners, community members, activist advisors, allied organizations, staff, and board.

 

Contact Astrea’s grantmaking staff to receive updates on when Astrea accepts nominations for the Global Arts Fund.

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