Charitable giving for women and girls continues to be strong in Philadelphia, especially with local funders like Impact 100 Philadelphia and the Charles E. Ellis Trust for Girls leading the way. But there’s another foundation at work here that’s all about funding social change for females in Philadelphia, and it’s been quietly doing so for over 30 years.
Allow us to introduce you to the Valentine Foundation, which supports local groups through the foundation and its Visionary Leadership Fund. Unlike some other women and girls’ funders, Valentine does not provide scholarships, support capital campaigns, or look at much of anything outside the Greater Philadelphia area.
Let’s take a look at a few key things to know about the Valentine Foundation.
It's Into Social Change Indicators
This is a funder that’s all about social change indicators, which can be challenging to grasp if you're unfamiliar with Valentine's approach to philanthropy. Download Valentine’s Social Change Indicators Matrix to learn more about it's four key indicators.
Across those indicators, these are the types of causes Valentine likes to fund.
- Research and documentation of experiences that articulate relevant concepts and issues
- Media campaigns and networking to engage the community
- Public policy reform and interaction with policymakers
- Programs that strengthen organizations and their leaders
A Key Focus on Advocacy
Throughout Valentine’s history, it has supported programs for education, health, leadership, recreation, and self-esteem. But through it all, there’s been a big focus on advocacy. Some of the women’s issues that Valentine has had a long-standing interest in include teenage pregnancy, domestic violence, education equity, and reproductive rights.
But lately, there’s been a big push for supporting economic self-sufficiency and leadership development. The trustees also advocate to increase female-focused grantmaking among other foundations in the Philadelphia region and beyond.
Typical Grants and Funding Amounts
Most of the recent foundation grants have been around $10,000 each, and engagement grants have been the top funding focus. Last year, Valentine awarded $162,000 across 15 grants. Most of these went to program support, but general operating support isn’t uncommon either. Past local grantees include Pathways PA, Philadelphians Organized to Witness, Empower & Rebuild (POWER), and the Clara Bell Duvall Reproductive Freedom Project/ACLU of Pennsylvania.
Valentine also awards leadership grants but these are usually smaller, between $2,000 and $5,000 each. A total of $22,200 in leadership grants was awarded last year.
How to Get Involved
The foundation is based in West Conshohocken, Pennsylvania, and only occasional grants are made that have a national focus beyond the Philadelphia city limits. This is an accessible local funder that hosts informational calls for potential grantseekers, typically in June before the June 30 letter of inquiry deadline. Trustees review letters of inquiry in the summer, full proposals are due in October, and grants are made once per year in November.
Related: Girls & Women Grants Funding