Valentine Foundation

OVERVIEW: The Valentine Foundation is a Philadelphia funder of social change for women and girls. Grants are awarded once per year in November.

FUNDING AREAS: Social change for women and girls

IP TAKE: This is a great funder to get to know if you work in any issue area that improves the lives of women and girls in the Greater Philadelphia area. Grants aren’t huge, but this is a passionate niche funder with a local focus.

PROFILE: The Valentine Foundation is a Philadelphia funder of social change for women and girls. The foundation is based in West Conshohocken, Pennsylvania, but focuses much of its grantmaking on Philadelphia. It has been making grants to empower women and girls for over 30 years.

Phoebe Valentine’s father passed away in 1974 and she inherited a fortune, which she put into a trust. In 1983 at the age of 40, she was diagnosed with cancer, and she established the Valentine Foundation in 1985 with her inheritance money. Since its inception, the foundation has given to organizations and programs that empower women and girls to recognize their full potential and change attitudes that discourage them from doing so. This extends to grantmaking in education, health, recreation, leadership, and self-esteem building. More than just reproductive rights, domestic violence, and teen pregnancy, this is a funder that takes a broad approach to women and girls’ issues to focus on economic self-sufficiency and leadership development as well.

This funder awards grants based on the Social Change Indicators Matrix, which focuses on shifts in definition, shifts in engagement, shifts in policies, and past gains being maintained. This is a model established by the Women’s Funding Network.

Interested grantseekers in this space can apply for general operating support, or for a specific program or project. Both single-year and multi-year grants are awarded for a period of up to three years. There is no limit on the number of consecutive years that you can receive grants.

Most grants are between $7,000 and $10,000, but occasionally a $15,000 grant comes out of the Valentine Foundation. Past grantees can be viewed here. In a recent year, the foundation awarded $184,200 in grants. Top-earning grantees include Women Against Abuse, Inc., Philadelphians Organized to Witness, Empower & Rebuild, and HIAS Pennsylvania. Overall, funding stays in the Greater Philadelphia area or has a national impact with a local connection. This funder does not support capital campaigns, scholarships, or international causes.

The Valentine Foundation makes yearly grants in November. You can dial into an information call in June to learn more about applying. The application process is all online, and the LOI deadline has typically been June 30.

The foundation is run by six trustees with nonprofit and philanthropy experience. The trustees review letters of inquiry between June and August and then convene over a two-day meeting in September to discuss proposals for possible funding. Full proposals are then due in October. Grant forms can be accessed on the funder’s website.

In addition to these grants, the foundation also funds local nonprofits through the Fund for Visionary Leadership. This is a separate endowment created in 2005 and managed by the foundation. Its purpose is to strengthen organizations working for women and girls, to make current women leaders more effective, and build the next generation of new leaders. These grants are made to organizations, not individuals.

A grantseeker’s best point of contact is Executive Director Alexandra V.A. Frazier. Annual reports can be viewed on the funder’s About the Foundation page.


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A Quick Look at the Valentine Foundation’s Philadelphia Giving for Women & Girls