How to apply

Interested in applying? Complete the Prospective Applicant Eligibility Quiz to help you determine if your organization and/or project meets the basic funding requirements. If yes, please click here to access our online application system and pick the funding opportunity that best fits your program/organization's’ needs.


To access our online application system please click here.

Next Primary cycle will be Spring 2017
Will open mid-December

Focus: Health and Freedom from Violence
Due Date: Early February for new applicants

Current Funding is available for our small grants.
Due Date: On-going

Enterprise Fund

Based on our commitment to nurturing innovative efforts and to supporting smart collaborations, we have established The Enterprise Fund. The Enterprise Fund is specifically designed to meet the next wave of economic, social and educational challenges facing women and girls by recognizing that not all programs and ideas need to be housed in separate, unique organizations. Through the Fund, applicant organizations have the support to consider a range of organizational structures and pathways to collaborative programming. From combining complementary ideas to co-locating services to formally joining with a nonprofit partner, the Enterprise Fund allows organizations the flexibility to consider new iterations of their work.

Strategic Response Fund

The Strategic Response Fund allows the Foundation to provide immediate support for projects that are outside of the Foundation’s spring and fall grant cycles. Grants of up to $7,500 are awarded on a rolling basis to local organizations addressing critical issues and concerns of women and girls. These grants are intended to be small, discreet, and timely. Thus, grants from this pool are “exceptional” and out of the ordinary course of business. This fund is competitive, and an organization is limited to one Strategic Response Fund grant per year.

Eva Janzen Powell and Smith T. Powell Health Series

As a part of Chicago Foundation for Women’s effort to enhance access to health services and information for underserved and uninsured women and girls, the Foundation will provide funding to host public outreach symposiums through the Eva Janzen Powell and Smith T. Powell Health Series. Each symposium will highlight a unique issue or health concern facing low-income women and women of color.

Submissions for sponsorship support should include the following: an emphasis on education and prevention; a combination of local and national health experts; an anticipated audience of 50 -100 participants; plans to host the event in communities impacted by the symposium topic.

To access our online application system please click here.

CFW offers grantmaking orientations to prospective applicants. If your organization would like to learn more about the grantmaking process at CFW, please attend:

Spring Cycle 2017 Sessions: 
    Friday January 13 at 10am at CFW Offices, 140 South Dearborn, Suite 400
    Wednesday January 18 at 3pm - Webinar

To attend, please RSVP to Lora York at


The Foundation considers most grants proposals during one of two grantmaking cycles, in spring and fall. These cycles are called "primary" grant cycles. Submissions to the Foundation's three issue areas-economic security, freedom from violence, and health-are accepted as follows:

Spring Cycle

Freedom from Violence

Fall Cycle

Economic Security

Ongoing Small Grant Opportunities

Enterprise Fund
Strategic Response Fund
Eva Janzen Powell and Smith T. Powell Health Series


Chicago Foundation for Women uses a community-led grantmaking process to review and recommend grants awarded during the primary fall and spring grant cycles.

  • Chicago Foundation for Women’s Community-led Grantmaking Subcommittee provides leadership and guidance for the Foundation’s grantmaking process.
  • The subcommittee is led by a chair and vice chair and consists of around thirty to forty members, including Foundation board members, community volunteers and staff.
  • Members review proposals, conduct site visits of applicant organizations, and make recommendations for funding to the Foundation Board.

The Foundation Board of Directors reviews all recommendations and approves all grant awards.

Final decisions on applications for the Fall Cycle will be made at the December Board of Directors’ meeting. Final decisions on applications for the Spring Cycle will be made at June Board of Directors' meeting.

Grants are made from the Strategic Response Fund, the Eva Janzen Powell and Smith T. Powell Health Series and the Enterprise Fund throughout the year.

Chicago Foundation for Women welcomes questions from applicants at any point before, during, and after the application process. Please contact Lora York, program officer, at or (312)577-2814.