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BWF is a role model in participatory and trust-based philanthropy. From its inception, BWF has relied on a diverse, all-volunteer Allocations Committee to review and assess grant funding proposals and influence BWF giving priorities. BWF has always trusted in, listened to, and been inspired by the work of our grantees.


At BWF, we believe achieving social, racial, economic, and gender justice through philanthropy involves a three-pronged approach to support grassroots organizations at different stages of their work:

  • Community Investment Grants to support startup and ongoing grassroots efforts led by women+ and girls+ that address racial, social, economic, and gender justice.

  • Movement Building Grants designed for grassroots organizations led by women+ and girls+ that shift us towards community-driven solutions that promote systemic change. BWF is committed to investing in leaders, infrastructure, capacity building, and leadership development. 

  • Multi-year Grants that expand our Community Investment grants with a five-year commitment of support.



BWF is pleased to announce the 2021 – 2022 funding strategies to support startup and ongoing grassroots efforts. BWF funds three types of grants: Community Investments, Movement Building, and Multi-Year grants. BWF grants amplify the voices of women+ and girls+ who work tirelessly for political, racial, social, economic, and gender justice. Change begins in the community, frequently led by efforts of inspirational women+, girls+, and women-identified individuals who know the solutions to their problems yet lack the resources to solve them. 

Movement Building Grant Awards

This year, BWF will use a community-centered nominating structure to identify organizations providing solutions to issues affecting them and their communities. There will be no application process for Movement Building grant awards.


The Boston Women’s Fund will announce this year’s Movement Building Grantee Partners by February 2022

BWF supports community-led grassroots movements that build collective power to promote systemic change and advance racial, economic, and gender justice. Movement Building grants provide general operating support to grassroots organizations focused on leadership development, infrastructure, and capacity building. 


With the leadership of the Allocation Committee, The Boston Women’s Fund will provide Movement Building grants to grassroots organizations led by women+, girls+, and other marginalized genders that integrate one or more of the following: community organizing, leadership development, and/or a clear vision toward stronger, more resilient, and transformative communities. 

BWF continues to work with the following constituents: elder women+, girls+, immigrant and refugee women+, the LBTQIA+ community, low-income women+, women+ of color, and women+ with disabilities working in their communities in the Greater Boston Area and beyond to bring about racial, economic, social, and gender justice. 

Additional Funding Priorities: Priority will be given to organizations with a specific focus on gender and racial justice and at least one of the following:

  • Youth-led movements

  • Disability and/or Elderly rights movements 

  • Reproductive health movements

Total Budget: $75,000. The distribution is $25,000 to three organizations.
Eligibility: Eligibility for our 1-year:

  • Organizations or projects directed and run by and for women+, girls+ and/or non-binary, gender-nonconforming, trans, or queer communities.

  • Or, is a mixed-gender organization with projects directed and run by women+, girls+, and other marginalized genders.

  • Organizations must be located in and serve the Greater Boston Area.

  • The board of the organization is at least 60% women+.

  • The organization’s leadership (board and staff) and decision-makers of the organization or project are reflective of the (race, age, class, and sexual orientation) groups most affected by the proposed project.

  •  The organization's budget is equal to or less than $500,000, or the program or project budget is equal to or less than $250,000.

  • Organizations must have a 501(c)(3), federal tax-exempt status or a fiscal agent with that status.

Through our past experience in funding grantees and supporting movement building, BWF believes that the following are essential to movement building: 

  • Base Building: Movements engage individuals and communities most affected by the issue/s the movement seeks to change. Movements must then build power in those communities. 

  • Alliances/Partnerships: Movements depend on relationships, collaborations, and networks that share a collective vision and commitment. 

  • “Leaderful” Leadership: The focus is not on an individual leader, rather on developing horizontal leadership, particularly of women+, girls+, and other marginalized genders from the community/constituency most affected. 

  • Systems Change: Movement building creates positive changes in policy/ies or conditions, for women+, girls+, and other marginalized genders and their communities. 

  • Issue-specific and/or Intersectional: Movement building acknowledges the multiple interacting systems of oppression and can support the intersectionality among issues, constituencies, and political power. 

BWF does not fund one-time events, such as research, conferences, films, or fine arts, that are not in some way connected to an ongoing organizing effort, nor do we fund capital campaigns. 

Nomination Process: It is our belief that those who have been a part of, been impacted by, or provided leadership to these movements are best positioned to help us identify the most impactful builders/leaders/organizers/disruptors. Movement Building grants are initiated through a nomination process. There will not be a formal application. Nominations will be open to organizations and community members. Current grantees are eligible to be nominated. One nomination per organization will suffice. 

Grantee Selection Process: Once nominations are received, an Allocations Committee member will be tasked with preparing written grant proposals for nominees through research and interviews of community members. The committee member will also be responsible for presenting Movement Building nominees to the BWF staff and Allocations Committee members. Final decisions will be approved by the Board of Directors.


  • 11/18 - Accepting nominations for Movement Building Award 

  • 11/18 -  Accepting applications for Allocations Committee Members 

  • 12/9 - Applications for Allocations Committee Members are due

  • 12/13 - 12/17 - Allocations Committee Members are notified

  • 12/15 - Movement Building nominations period closes; BWF collects nominations 

  • 1/6 – Allocations Committee Orientation, 5-8pm

  • 1/7 - 1/28 – BWF staff and Allocations Committee compile profiles’

  • 2/3 – Allocations Committee will meet, awardees will be identified

  • 2/7 - 2/11 - Movement Building Awardees will be notified

  • 2/16 - Movement Building Awardees will be announced publicly

Allocations Committee: BWF will enlist the support of an Allocations Committee to assist with the selection process of grantees. The Allocations Committee is responsible for reviewing grant proposals using an in-depth appraisal process on which all members are carefully trained. The Committee is central to the Boston Women’s Fund’s mission of democratizing philanthropy and ensuring that decisions about grantee proposals are fair and equitable. Committee members are reflective of the diverse communities we serve and work to ensure that all voices are heard. Furthermore, Committee members are individuals who share a commitment to the mission and vision of the Boston Women’s Fund.

Allocations Committee Commitment: Movement Building will require Allocation Committee Members to spend 15 - 20 hours total for the selection process. BWF will select 10 members and pay a one-time stipend of $200. 

Tentative Allocations Committee Schedule:

  • 12/13-12/17 - Allocation Committee Members are notified

  • 1/6 - Mandatory Orientation 

  • 1/6 - Nominations are disseminated

  • 1/7 - 1/28 - Research of nominations

  • 1/28 - Proposals for nominations due

  • 2/3 - Allocations Committee will meet and final grantees will be identified

BWF is now accepting nominations for Movement Building Grants. If you would like to nominate an organization, please complete the nomination form by Wednesday December 15, 2021. 

If you would like to be considered for the Allocations Committee, please complete this application form by Thursday December 9, 2021.

Community Investment Grant Awards

The Boston Women’s Fund is currently reviewing and experimenting with more equitable grantmaking practices. This year, we will not send out an RFP. Instead, we will send out a Request for Conversations (RFC).  We understand that barriers exist when it comes to funding opportunities, and BWF is taking a stand against traditional funding applications. BWF is here to support our grantee partners and ensure that they have the resources to continue their work. 


Multi-Year Grant Awards


The Boston Women’s Fund is committed to providing multi-year funding to as many grantee partners as possible. We will make decisions for multi-year funding in the spring of 2022.

Requests for Conversations will go out in early 2022, and awards will be presented in the spring of 2022.


For more information on BWF’s grantmaking strategies, please email us.