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 skills, 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, race, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, physical circumstances, age, status as a veteran, or immigration status. 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 should respond to a demonstrated need in one of the five focus areas described below. We use these focus area categories to structure our review process. Often, a proposal can fall into more than one area. Each applicant decides which focus area best reflects the intent of their project. When choosing a focus area, we encourage applicants to be guided by the potential impact their project intends, rather than their organization’s overall mission or activities.

Arts & Culture — Projects that enhance opportunities for creative expression that strengthens social fabric, highlights social issues, or engages specific constituencies (particularly those who are currently underserved) in the 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 & Lifelong Learning — Projects that improve educational equity, opportunity, or education-related services for children and youth, from preschool through post-secondary; out-of-school time and summer learning, especially related to closing achievement and opportunity gaps; youth workforce development; college and career readiness; family involvement in their children’s learning; adult literacy, and adult workforce development for underserved communities.

Environment & Sustainability — Projects that improve, preserve, or revitalize open spaces, natural resources, and/or facilities; promote the resiliency and welfare of natural habitats; mitigate the impact of environmental hazards on specific populations or species; promote environmental justice, or encourage research, public awareness, policy, or education relating to natural ecosystems or the built environment.

Family & Human Services — Projects that contribute to maximizing the safety, success, and quality of life for all people living in our community, with a focus on preventing as well as remediating threats to well-being for under-served groups of people, and with an emphasis on improving systems to create greater equity.

Health & Wellness — Projects that improve health and prevent health risks, including endeavors focused on overall wellness, access to care, health equity, coordination of behavioral, physical and mental health services, and addressing social determinants of health.