Applications for Innovation Grants have been suspended.
We are not accepting applications at this time. 

You can apply for an Unexpected Needs Grant at any time. Details on the Grants Available page. 

Innovation Grants Suspended for Spring 2020

The City Federation of Women’s Organizations (CFWO) has made the difficult decision to suspend our applications for the Innovation Grant this spring. We will not be accepting applications at this time. 

Once the current crisis has passed, we will share an update about our next steps. 

Please note, we are accepting applications for Unexpected Needs grants (up to $1,000). The application and details are on the Grants Available page

We do plan that our next grant opportunity (Women Building Community Grants up to 5K) will take place as usual in the fall. 

We made this decision with two communities in mind. We thought grant agencies might not have the capacity available in the midst of the coronavirus crisis to complete the necessary work for this grant application. Our board is also not able to meet safely at this time in order to do the kind of work we do to evaluate the grant applications. 

Please know that we will do what we can to provide support to the community through our Unexpected Needs Grants, the 5K grants this fall, and thoughtful revisiting of the Innovation Grant. 

Grants Awarded in December 2019

More information about the grants we awarded in 2019 is on the Grants Awarded page.

Community Attended annual meeting on May 20

New Women Building Community Innovation Grant Announced

CFWO hosted the community at its Annual Meeting on May 20, "Celebrating Six Years of Philanthropy in Tompkins County”. CFWO President Liz Colucci announced that Habitat for Humanity of Tompkins and Cortland Counties has been awarded a $7500 Innovation Grant for its “Building Community” project. Habitat for Humanity seeks to expand its existing “Women Build” project to include more women and young adult women to learn construction trades and essential skills for their own empowered futures. This innovative program educates women and young adult women in real-life home construction and employable skills, builds community and increases engagement.

Colucci expressed, “In our six years of philanthropy, we have distributed nearly $200,000 in 74 grants to 35 agencies who continue to advance the vision of the CFWO founders – supporting and improving the lives women and girls throughout Tompkins County. We are honored and proud to work with so many committed community members and agencies.”

Our History

The City Federation of Women’s Organizations was founded in 1910 by a group of women "concerned with education, recreation, philanthropy, health, safety and civic betterment." As the number of member organizations grew they purchased a home on the corner of Cayuga and Seneca Streets in 1920 and opened the first Women's Community Building as a recreational center for women and girls. This center had meeting rooms, a public rest room, and living quarters for young working women. In 1927 they purchased the house next door and it became a home for older women. In the 1940s they opened a community nursery school.

By 1960 both houses were gone and the new Women’s Community Building was opened with a much needed community auditorium and commercial kitchen. Times changed, membership in the CFWO declined and community needs were different. The building was sold in 2012 to make way for much needed affordable housing. The proceeds from the sale of the building and existing CFWO resources have been used to establish an endowment that will continue the legacy of the many organizations of the CFWO and community members who have supported the changing needs of women over the years.

Learn more about CFWO

The mission of the City Federation of Women’s Organizations is to support women and girls and to act as a catalyst for the improvement of the lives of women and girls in Tompkins County, thus making a contribution to the community as a whole.