The Women’s Fund of Essex County supports highly effective nonprofit programs that provide outreach and life-skills training for women and girls in Essex County. We pinpoint programs with proven track records, clear objectives and established budgets. We evaluate and monitor each funded program’s success through written interim and final reports from grantee agencies.

Pooling all of our donations allows us to maximize the impact of each donor’s contribution across a range of issues and solutions. We make one-year to three-year grant commitments for program sustainability and impact. 

We are proud to have donated almost $2 million to over 100 programs that truly change lives. 

The Women’s Fund raises funds and awards grants to nonprofit agencies within Essex County that serve women and girls in need and at risk. Grants are awarded annually to programs that have a demonstrated success but require an additional infusion of funding to maximize their impact.

From skills training and employment-readiness, to the promotion of health and well being, financial literacy, empowerment and mentoring, The Women's Fund supports a wide range of programming targeted to helping women and girls grow stronger and more self-sufficient.

Funding Priorities

The Women’s Fund seeks to support existing programs that offer the most impact for the grant dollar. The Women’s Fund selects highly effective nonprofit programs that provide outreach and life skills for women and girls. We pinpoint programs with proven track records, clear objectives and established budgets. To this end, we focus on identifying programs that serve women or girls in any of our three fields of funding:

Economic Self-Sufficiency and Security

  • College, employment and career readiness

  • Stay-in-school mentoring and academic success strategies

  • Science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics (STEAM) support

  • Access to employment opportunities

  • Financial planning

  • Homelessness solutions

Health and Well Being

  • Safety and security

  • Gender, language and cultural barriers

  • Self-esteem

  • Prevention of abuse, harassment and bullying

  • Health promotion

  • Addiction Recovery

Leadership and Empowerment

  • Leadership skills for girls, teens and women

  • Gender barriers

  • Mentoring

  • Engaging women and girls in leadership roles

We then evaluate and monitor program success through on-site visits and by requiring written interim and final reports from grantee agencies.

  • The Women’s Fund provides a one-year to a three-year commitment for funded programs,with a preference for multi-year grants.

  • Agencies can reapply with a different program for funding each year.

  • Funded programs are eligible for consideration every three years.

  • Grants will be awarded up to $10,000 in one year, not to exceed $21,000 over three years for each program. Please note that $10,000 will only be granted for one year of a multi-year grant.

Geographic Limitations

We support nonprofit programs serving the residents of Essex County, MA. We prefer the organization be located in Essex County. 


The Women’s Fund is limited to nonsectarian programming for women and girls of Essex County of all religious, ethnic and cultural backgrounds. Programs sponsored by religious organizations are eligible provided that enrollment is open to all qualified women and girls and the program is free of mandatory sectarian religious instruction.

Generally, grants will not be awarded:

  • To individuals

  • To agencies with pending 501(c)3 status

  • For pilot programs with no proven track record

  • For debt or deficit reduction

  • For political purposes

  • For sectarian or religious purposes

  • For endowment or capital campaigns

  • For research or feasibility studies

The Women’s Fund will not be the sole funder of a program.  Our goal is to help an agency develop a diverse funding base to ensure its viability.

Application Deadline

Applications must be received no later than the first business day in December. Incomplete or late applications may not be considered. Grant awards are announced the following May 1st.

Application Instructions

The application is completely electronic. Agencies can create and save application drafts and make changes any time prior to submission.We archive all submitted applications, allowing agencies to view their grant history with The Women's Fund at any time. 

Grant Selection Process

  • The Women’s Fund Grants Allocation Committee carefully reviews applications beginning in early December and makes site visits in January, February and March to qualifying agencies.

  • The Committee vets final funding decisions in early April and makes recommendations for approval by The Women’s Fund Advisory Board and by the Essex County Community Foundation Board of Trustees.

  • Agency grant awards are announced May 1st of each year.

Reporting Requirements

All multi-year grants will be contingent upon satisfactory completion or good progress on the stated program goals. Agencies with multi-year grants will be required to submit an Interim Report by May 1st the year after receiving their initial grant and each May 1st thereafter for the term of the grant. The Women’s Fund will not award second-year or third-year grants until the Interim Report is received.  Final Reports for all grants are due by May 1st of the year the grant expires. (Link to the Grant Report Form on the button below)

For more information or to discuss a specific program, please contact:

Hehershe Busuego
Program Officer
Essex County Community Foundation
175 Andover Street, Suite 101, Danvers, MA 01923
Tel: 978-777-8876