Grant Guidelines and Focus Areas
We appreciate your interest 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. Note, JWF Chicago’s guidelines have been updated to reflect new grantmaking initiatives for the 2021 grant cycle. For questions or further clarification, please contact us.
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.
- JWF Chicago 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 Chicago 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 Chicago considers an organization's holistic 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 Chicago 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.
Overall Eligibility and Restrictions
- JWF Chicago funds 501(c) 3 organizations, those sponsored by a fiscal agent with their own 501(c) 3 status, and Israeli amutot (nonprofits) by way of Jewish Federations of North America.
- JWF Chicago considers initiatives concerning Jewish women and girls in the Chicago metropolitan area, throughout the United States, in Israel, and around the world.
- JWF Chicago does not fund political campaigns or organizations such as PACS.
- JWF Chicago does not make loans, award scholarships/tuition reimbursements, nor do we provide sponsorships or buy tickets/tables for special events.
- JWF Chicago 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 OR be a localized program/project that can serve as a model to be replicated in other parts of the country (depending on how long the project has been operating).
- Localized programs/projects operating for 5 years or less need only demonstrate the ability to replicate.
- After a localized Israeli program/project has been operating for more than 5 years, JWF Chicago funding must be used in significant measure for replication outside of the current location.
Grantmaking Focus Areas
JWF Chicago funds in three main areas. Prospective grantees are invited to submit project and program proposals that relate to these targeted areas.
- Economic Security/Legal Reform for Women and Girls. JWF Chicago reviews projects addressing the economic and legal status of Jewish women and girls locally, nationally, and internationally. This focus area includes projects that approach advocacy and legislation at a policy and/or systemic level. Issues that may be considered include: economic empowerment, financial literacy, legislative advocacy, professional and/or business development, and equal representation in public life.
- Education/Leadership Development for Women and Girls. JWF Chicago reviews projects addressing educational and leadership opportunities for Jewish women and girls in various roles allowing them to develop skills applicable to both professional and personal life. This focus area includes projects that address these issues locally, nationally, and internationally. Issues that may be considered include: engagement and connection to Jewish life, strengthening and building the Jewish community, mentoring, leadership development, community empowerment, and service-learning.
- Health and Well-Being for Women and Girls. JWF Chicago reviews projects addressing the health and well-being of Jewish women and girls locally, nationally, and internationally. This focus area includes projects that protect, promote, and educate about health and healthy lifestyles. Issues that may be considered include: violence against women including domestic violence and sexual abuse/harassment, mental health and well-being, and screening and prevention programs.
For questions regarding this requirement, please contact JWF Chicago’s Senior Program Officer Amy Saltzman at AmySaltzman@juf.org or (312) 444-2846.