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: Fall 2018
Focus: Economic Security
Due Date for Letter of Inquiry: Wednesday, July 18

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

Family and Interpersonal Resilience and Safety Transformation (FIRST) Fund
The Family and Interpersonal Resilience and Safety Transformation (FIRST) Fund is a collaborative effort between CFW, Crown Family Philanthropies, the Michael Reese Health Trust, Polk Bros. Foundation and other local foundations announced to increase funding for innovative and collaborative solutions to domestic and intimate partner violence. The FIRST Fund is open to organizations that work with populations impacted by domestic violence, even if domestic violence is not the primary area of focus. Planning for collaborative, community-centered and intersectional approaches are especially encouraged. Planning grants will range from $5,000 to $25,000.

An information session for interested organizations will take place at Chicago Foundation for Women, Friday, May 11 from 2 - 3:30 p.m. Interested organizations can register here

For guidelines on how to apply, including answers to Frequently Asked Questions, click here. 

Eligible nonprofit organizations should submit a Letter of Inquiry by June 20, 2018. 

To access our online application system, please click here.

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 2018 Sessions:
Friday, June 15 at 10 a.m.*
Monday, June 18 at 3 p.m.*
*Both sessions will be offered in person and via webinar.
CFW Offices: 140 South Dearborn Street, Suite 400, Chicago
A link for the webinar will be sent via email prior to the session.

To attend, please contact Lora York, program officer, at or 312.577.2814. Please be sure to indicate whether you will attend in person or via webinar.

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, program officer, at or 312.577.2814.