Women Building Community Grants Guidelines and Applications

We are now accepting applications for our Women Building Community Grants (up to $5,000).

Application Deadline Thursday, September 24, 2020 at 6 p.m. 




The purpose of the Women Building Community (WBC) Grants of the City Federation of Women’s Organizations (CFWO) is 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. WBC Grants support all women and girls regardless of race, color, national origin, religion, gender identity (including gender expression), sexual orientation, disability, age, marital status and socio-economic status.

The CFWO is managed by a volunteer Board of Directors which includes representatives from the CFWO Legacy Organizations and individuals representing the community.


The City Federation of Women’s Organizations (CFWO) was founded in 1910 by the Ithaca Woman’s Club, the Political Study Group (now the League of Women Voters) and the Women’s Christian Temperance Union (now dissolved), believing that they could accomplish more by working together.  The CFWO was incorporated in 1920 and later purchased the property on the corner of Seneca and Cayuga Streets in downtown Ithaca.  The original house, and more modern building that later replaced it, were known as the Women’s Community Building (WCB).  Through the years member organizations (for many years totaling over sixty) enabled the CFWO to provide housing for women, community meeting space, and to serve as an incubator for numerous efforts enriching the lives of women and children in our community.  The proceeds from the sale of the WCB in 2012 now fund an endowment to continue the CFWO mission through grants and scholarships.


WBC Unexpected Needs Grants up to $1,000

A grant opportunity to help nonprofits fund unexpected needs or emergencies or to take advantage of an unexpected opportunity. Applications may be submitted at any time; awards will be made following the next available Board Meeting.

WBC Grants up to $5,000 (Multiple grants)

These grants are to address needs and opportunities that improve the quality of life for Tompkins County women and girls.  Applications are accepted in September; the deadline will be posted on our website. Projects must be completed by December 31, 2021.

WBC Innovation Grant up to $10,000 (Only one grant)

This is a single, highly competitive grant awarded to a project that will have significant impact on the lives of those it serves in our community.  Its target is a new project that is both innovative and resourceful.  Consideration will be given to an existing project only if the additional funding will produce a major impact on that existing project. This grant application has been suspended due to the coronavirus crisis. We will thoughtfully revisit the program when we are able. 

All Grants

If funds are not expended for the stated purpose(s) and within the time period specified they must be returned to the CFWO.


The City Federation of Women’s Organizations (CFWO) welcomes grant applications from nonprofit organizations that are tax-exempt under section 501 (c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code and from governmental agencies serving Tompkins County.

Organizations without a 501 (c) (3) designation will be required to be sponsored by a nonprofit organization that does have a 501 (c) (3) designation. Applications submitted by an entity under the auspices of another agency must include a written statement signed by the agency’s board president/executive director on behalf of the organization agreeing to act as the entity’s fiscal sponsor, to receive grant monies if awarded, and to oversee the proposed project including the final report.


The project for which funding is being requested must address needs and opportunities that improve the quality of life for Tompkins County women and girls, and meet at least one of the following criteria:

  • Community Development and Engagement: Activities that increase participation of women and girls in developing programs that enhance community life and/or cooperation among neighbors
  • Education: Activities that promote or strengthen the educational attainment of women and girls, both in and out of the classroom
  • Health: Activities that improve the health outcomes of women and girls
  • Human Services: Activities that support public safety, employment, food and nutrition, housing and shelter, disaster preparedness, and other relief for women and girls
  • Gender Equity: Activities that address gender equity issues
  • Administrative/operating costs directly related to a specific project


  • Requests for funding to reduce or retire debt of the organization
  • Projects operated by religious organizations for religious purposes
  • Political parties or campaigns
  • Administrative/operating costs not directly related to the proposed project
  • Annual appeals and membership contributions
  • Endowment campaigns


These forms may be downloaded from https://womenbuildingcommunity.org/available/.

Organizations may submit more than one application during each grant cycle. Organizations are encouraged to seek additional funds from other sources as well.

Applications must be completed and and sent to: grants@womenbuildingcommunity.org

All applications must be received by the deadlines posted on our website.
Late applications will not be accepted. 


All organizations receiving Women Building Community Grants must submit a final report. Forms may be downloaded from https://womenbuildingcommunity.org/available/.

Deadlines for Final Reports

  • If awarded in 2019
    • Innovation Grant 6/30/2020
    • Up to $5,000Grant 1/31/2021
  • If awarded in 2020
    • Innovation Grant 6/30/2021
    • Up to $5,000Grant 1/31/2022

Unexpected Needs Grants: upon project completion, a brief note or email attesting to use of funds should be sent to CFWO at: grants@womenbuildingcommunity.org.

Note: If organizations apply for a new WBC up to $5,000 or Innovation Grant before submitting the final report for a previously funded project, they must submit either the Interim or Final report with the new grant application. (This does not apply to applications for Unexpected Needs Grants.)


Grant recipients must mention Women Building Community as a funding source in all publicity and promotional material about the funded project. They are requested to submit photographs and personal reports of the project to CFWO for use on our website and in social media. 

If you have any questions about these grants, please contact the CFWO at grants@womenbuildingcommunity.org