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The Women's Fund of Essex County Grant Guidelines

Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts walking to the lake
The Women's Fund of Essex County Grant Guidelines

The Women’s Fund of Essex County is a charitable fund dedicated to improving the welfare of women and girls in Essex County. 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 funding fields of health and well-being, leadership and empowerment, and economic self-sufficiency and security. 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 at helping women and girls grow stronger and more self-sufficient.

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

Agencies may apply for a grant that will be a 1 to 3 year commitment to the programs funded. Grants will be awarded up to $10,000 in any one year but not to exceed $20,000 over three years for each program. (Please note that $10,000 will only be granted one year of a multi-year grant.)

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

Proposals must be submitted through ECCF's

If you do not yet have a login for our application Portal, please read our Grant Application Process page which will give you access to the Portal.

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
Associate Vice President for Philanthropy
Essex County Community Foundation
175 Andover Street, Suite 101, Danvers, MA 01923
Tel: 978-777-8876 x33
Email: c.lavoieschuster@eccf.org

For more information about The Women's Fund, please visit www.thewomensfundec.org