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.


Next Primary Cycle: Spring 2019
Focus: Health and Freedom from Violence

CFW will temporarily pause accepting new LOIs for the Spring 2019 cycle.  We anticipate resuming the LOI process for the Fall 2019 cycle focused on  economic security.

During the Spring 2019 cycle, CFW will work with current grantees to better align our grantmaking and programs towards a shared vision on achieving gender equity for our region. 


We realize that organizations vary in their pursuit, journey and/or what gender equity means to them. We will use the spring of 2019 to gather these diverse perspectives, to build knowledge and to learn from the communities and grantees we currently support.

We look forward to working alongside our grantees as partners in a process to better align our grantmaking and programs towards a shared vision on achieving gender equity. Our learnings will inform how we can more effectively and responsively roll out future grantmaking programs for new and renewing grantees in order to achieve gender equity in our region. 

When will CFW resume accepting new LOIs?

CFW will temporarily pause accepting new LOIs for the spring cycle only.  We anticipate resuming the LOI process for the fall 2019 cycle focused economic security issue. We look forward to sharing our learnings from the spring cycle with potential applicants during future orientation sessions.

Strategic Response Fund — Reopen for Application on July 1, 2018

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. 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.

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:

Fall 2019 Sessions:

Will be scheduled in June 2019

*Sessions will be offered in person and via webinar.

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

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

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 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 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, senior program officer, at or 312.577.2814.