Grant Guidelines and Focus Areas

We are pleased you are interested in applying for a grant from the Jewish Women's Foundation of Metropolitan Chicago. Before you proceed, please familiarize yourself with the following guidelines which may impact your eligibility. For questions or further clarification, please contact us.

Mission Statement

The Jewish Women's Foundation of Metropolitan Chicago seeks to expand and improve opportunities and choices in all aspects of Jewish women and girls' lives through strategic and effective grantmaking. The Jewish Women's Foundation endeavors to empower women as leaders, funders and decision makers.

General Considerations

  • JWF funds with a "gender lens" and a "Jewish lens". We are interested in projects that recognize Jewish women and girls have unique needs both because of their gender and their religious and cultural heritage.
  • JWF is committed to improving the overall status of Jewish women and girls, and funds projects that promote social change by addressing at least one of the indicators described below:
    • Shifting definitions and reframing issues: An issue is defined differently in the community or larger society as a result of your work.
    • Shifting individual and community behavior: People behave differently in the community or larger society as a result of your work.
    • Shifting critical mass and engagement: People in the community or larger society are more engaged as a result of your work.
    • Shifting institutions, systems and policies: An institutional, organizational, or legislative policy or practice changes as a result of your work.
    • Maintaining earlier progress: Past gains are maintained, generally in the face of opposition, as a result of your work.
  • JWF considers an organization's overall support of women and girls, as well as the specific project or program for which you are seeking a grant. This includes the extent to which Jewish women and girls are included among your leadership and in key staff positions.
  • JWF supports organizations through general operating and project specific funding. General operating support will only be awarded to organizations focusing exclusively on promoting social change for Jewish women and girls.
  • JWF believes this document, developed by the Preserving the Public Trust Task Force of ForeFront, is an excellent resource on nonprofit governance, management and legal compliance.

Eligibility and Restrictions

  • JWF funds 501(c) 3 organization or those sponsored by a fiscal agent with their own 501(c) 3.
  • JWF prioritizes initiatives in the Chicago metropolitan area. However, we will consider proposals concerning Jewish women and girls in Israel and around the world.
  • JWF does not fund political campaigns or organizations such as PACS.
  • JWF does not make loans, award scholarships/tuition reimbursements, nor do we provide sponsorships or buy tickets/tables for special events.
  • JWF does not fund group homes.

Special Eligibility Requirements for Israeli Grantees

Israeli programs and projects must be specifically designed to foster social change for Jewish women and girls on a national or regional level, and/or be a unique program/project that can serve as a model to be replicated in other parts of the country.

Potential Grant Awards

  • There is no predetermined number of grants.
  • JWF considers organizations for funding on a year-to-year basis. Previous funding does not guarantee continued funding.
  • The minimum grant award for domestic organizations (within the United States) is $7,500 and for international organizations is $5,000. There is no maximum grant award but at present our grants generally range from the minimums to $25,000.
  • Domestic organizations (within the United States) have no restriction on the number of Letters of Intent they may submit each year as long as they are for distinctly different programs. International organizations (outside of the United States) are eligible to submit one Letter of Intent per year.
  • A program or project may be funded for up to five consecutive years, followed by one year off from funding. During the year off, domestic organizations may submit an application for a different program or project, whereas international organizations cannot submit an application during the year off. After the year off, an organization may submit an application for a previously funded project subject to the guidelines listed above.

Grantmaking Focus Areas

JWF funds in three areas. Prospective grantees are invited to submit project and program proposals that relate to these targeted areas.

  1. Economic Security/Legal Reform for Women and Girls. JWF reviews projects addressing the economic and legal status of Jewish women and girls locally, nationally, and internationally. This subcommittee focuses on projects that approach advocacy at the level of legal reform, political reform etc. Issues that may be considered include: economic empowerment, financial literacy, legal advocacy, professional development, business development, and micro-enterprise.
  2. Health & Well-Being for Women and Girls. JWF reviews projects addressing the health and well-being of Jewish women and girls locally, nationally, and internationally. This subcommittee evaluates projects that protect, promote and educate about health and healthy lifestyles. Issues that may be considered include: domestic violence, violence against women, health education, screening and prevention programs.
  3. Education/Leadership Development for Women and Girls. JWF reviews projects addressing educational opportunities for Jewish women and girls in various leadership roles allowing them to develop skills such as negotiation and advocating. Projects addressing Jewish women's spirituality will also be reviewed by this subcommittee. This subcommittee evaluates projects that address these issues locally, nationally, and internationally. Issues that may be considered include: teen mentoring, advocacy and leadership programs, community empowerment, and service-learning.