OVERVIEW: This funder supports various programs that promote positive change in the lives of Jewish women and girls. It largely provides grants in Chicago, but also in Israel and worldwide.
FUNDING AREAS: Economic security, legal reform, education, leadership development, and health and well-being for Jewish women and girls
IP TAKE: There are lots of different opportunities here for Chicago groups that serve women and girls. This is a funder that likes to work with long-term grantees, so consider the possibility of renewal grants with your initial approach.
PROFILE: The Jewish Women's Foundation of Metropolitan Chicago (JWF) began as an independent project of the Jewish United Fund in 1997 and has since grown to become the largest Jewish women’s foundation in the U.S. Today, it is an independent project of the Jewish United Fund/Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago, and is composed of more than 330 trustees that span generations of women dedicated to improving the lives of Jewish women and girls. Over the foundation’s history, it has given out over $3.5 million in grants to at least 153 projects, largely in Chicago but also in Israel and worldwide.
This is a funder that looks through both a Jewish and a gender lens in its grantmaking. Areas of interest are economic security, legal reform, education, leadership development, and health and well-being for Jewish women and girls. JWF has a grantmaking endowment of around $8.8 million and plans to spend that on investments in the security, well-being, and potential of Jewish women and girls.
JWF looks to support projects that promote shifting definitions, community behavior, critical mass, engagement, institutions, and policies. It also supports earlier progress and past gains, and funds both general operations and specific projects. It prioritizes projects and organizations in the Chicago metro area, but occasionally funds causes elsewhere as well.
The minimum grant amount for Chicago groups is $7,500 and the typical maximum is around $25,000. Chicago groups can submit as many letters of intent each year as long as they are for different programs. All proposals should be focused on one of three topics regarding Jewish women and girls: economic security/legal reform, health and well-being, education/leadership development. Learn about past grantees and how much they received here. You can read more about JWF grantees on the Grantee Updates page.
Letter of intent deadlines typically fall in May, and nonprofits are notified of the foundation’s decision by June or July. Then full proposals have historically been due in late July. The application forms for new and returning grantseekers are posted online. Final grant determinations are made by the end of December each year and funds dispersed in January.
Each year in January, JWF has an annual meeting to review the progress from the previous year and set the agenda for the new year ahead. Other foundation events can be viewed here. There are just two staff members at JWF, an executive director and a program associate. General questions can be directed to them at 312-357-4850 or via online form.