Our grant review team members are volunteers and bring a variety of expertise to their grant application deliberations.  We engage women in a collaborative learning environment of inclusiveness and mutual respect, incorporating our collective voices, perspectives, talents and sills, to create the most impactful outcomes for all. In addition to the eligibility criteria, our teams use the following principles to guide decision making. 

1.     Transformational impact. Our awards positively affect the lives of many people broadly, or a smaller number of people very deeply. 

2.  Responsiveness. We support activities that respond to a critical need, or provide an innovative approach to a time-worn problem.

3.  Meaningful contribution.  We want our Impact Award funds to be a primary catalyst to advance the work, not just a small portion of the funding.

4.   Initiative and risk-taking. Our grant making actively encourages bold ideas and leadership.

5.  Promising Approaches. We value approaches that are supported by evidence -- whether that evidence comes from deep experience in a community or field, evaluation research, or other assessments informing your work. 

6.     Demonstrated capacity for implementation. We support organizations that have a track record of effective action.    

7.  Learning Orientation. We invest in organizations that demonstrate skill at creating, acquiring and transferring knowledge and insights. 

8.     Inclusion. We support activities that advance equity by including the voices of constituents in their planning and leadership.

9.     Nondiscrimination. We do not discriminate on the basis of ethnicity, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, physical circumstances, age, status as a veteran, or national origin. Grantees must hold similar standards. Requests from organizations known to have discriminatory policies will not be considered.

Each year is a new year of grant making at ninety-nine girlfriends. Community context changes and so do the members of our Grant Review Teams.


Proposals respond to a demonstrated need in one of five focus areas. We use these focus area categories to structure our review process. Often, a proposal can fall into more than one area. It’s the applicant's decision which focus area that best reflects the intent of their project.

Arts & Culture — Initiatives that enhance opportunities for creative expression to strengthen social fabric, highlight social issues, and engage specific constituencies in arts or arts education, broadly defined to include: visual arts, theater/performance, dance, cultural arts, music, film, media, design, humanities and the study and application of the arts to the human environment.

Education — Initiatives that further the ability to educate and improve education in our region for children and adults; formal and out-of-school learning, teacher education; school or curriculum reform; literacy; workforce development; college and career readiness; services to help at-risk learners achieve educational goals.

Environment & Sustainability — Initiatives that improve, preserve, or revitalize urban spaces, natural resources, and/or facilities; promote the resiliency and welfare of natural habitats; or encourage research, public awareness, or education relating to ecosystems or the environment.

Family & Human Services — Initiatives to address needs that put at risk the quality of lives of children, adults, or families or contribute to maximizing the safety and success of all people living in our community;  focusing on prevention as well as remediation of problems; improving systems and providing equitable access to resources.

Health & Wellness — Initiatives that positively impact health and wellness of people in the region; including endeavors focused on wellness, access to care, health equity, coordination of behavioral, physical and mental health services, and addressing social determinants of health.