How to Apply

Interested in applying? Check out our Guiding Principles and Frequently Asked Questions to help you determine if your organization and/or project aligns with the core values of Chicago Foundation for Women. If yes, please click here to access our online application system, and pick the funding opportunity that best fits your program/organization's needs.


Next Primary Cycle: Spring 2020
Focus: Freedom from Violence

The 2020 Spring Cycle's Letter of Inquiry is open now and will be due Friday, March 6 at 5:30 pm.

Click here to review CFW's Spring 2020 guidelines.

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 2020 Sessions:

  • Thursday, February 13 at 2:00 pm
  • Wednesday, February 19 at 9:00 am

*Sessions will be offered in person and via webinar.

CFW Offices: 140 South Dearborn Street, Suite 400, Chicago

Please RSVP to Melanie Conway 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
Strategic Response Fund — Reopen for Application in February/March 2020

Thanks in large part to generous support from the Polk Bros. Foundation, 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, transgender, and gender non-binary people. These rapid response grants are intended to be small, discrete, 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.

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

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

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

Chicago Foundation for Women welcomes questions from applicants at any point before, during, and after the application process. Please contact Lora York, Senior Program Officer, at or 312.577.2814.