Here’s an Opportunity to Empower Women and Girls in Southern Arizona

Lots of foundations for women and girls have a local or regional approach, which makes sense given their focus on community and collaboration. Today’s story takes us to the Southwest, where the Women’s Foundation of Southern Arizona (WFSA) has issued a call for proposals that’s open through the end of September.

This Tucson-based funder aims to achieve social, political and economic change that empowers women and girls in the region. It’s the only organization in Southern Arizona exclusively dedicated to women and girls’ philanthropy. It’s also a supporting organization of the Community Foundation for Southern Arizona, which we’ve previously covered here at IP.

In 2016, WFSA awarded grants totaling $600,000 to over 20 organizations through its competitive grant cycle. For 2017, the funder has committed to awarding a new batch of unrestricted grants in the $25,000 to $40,000 range. This time around, it’s particularly interested in working with organizations that address the needs of two generations on causes that simultaneously benefit both mothers and children. Low-income single mothers and their children are a good example. This two-generation approach is pretty unique and can be applied to both direct service programs and systems-level policy change work.

WFSA is also looking to partner with organizations that boost women’s income and assets in the region, so there’s a big economic empowerment component to its current strategy. The funder has lots of interests in this regard. For example, you can pitch a program related to financial education, wealth creation, credit repair, debt reduction, teen pregnancy reduction, public benefit enrollment, scholarship access, or workforce development.

Finally, this is a funder that likes to support pro-women legislation and improved workplace policies, so there are some opportunities in this space for grantseekers too. Examples of topics WFSA is interested in here include pay equity, sexuality education, and early care and education. Leadership development is also important to WFSA, and it’s worked with the nationally-recognized Unidas philanthropy program for high school girls.

Recent grantees include the Arizona Youth Partnership, Helping Hands for Single Moms USA, International Rescue Committee in Tucson, Planned Parenthood Arizona, and Southern Arizona Legal Aid. These are the target populations of WFSA’s grantmaking in Pima Cochise, and Santa Cruz Counties: girls, women of color, older women, women and girls with disabilities, lesbian/bisexual/transgender persons, low-income women and girls, women and girls outside Metropolitan Tucson, immigrant/undocumented/refugee women and girls, and incarcerated women.

The letter of application deadline for 2017 grants is September 30, and you can sign up for the funder’s email newsletter to keep up with future deadlines. Interestingly, community members can actually apply to be a volunteer grant evaluator and play a key role in reviewing applications and conducting site visits.