Core Grants

2023 Programs Received $150,000 in Core Grants

As the only statewide organization focused on the economic empowerment of women and girls, IWF awards Core Grants to programs that tackle one of the six identified barriers to women’s self-sufficiency:

To celebrate our 25th year of grantmaking (2022), we awarded six grants of $25,000 to organizations tackling each of the six barriers in 2023. One grant was awarded per barrier. Recipients of the $25,000 grants were announced at the 2022 Annual Luncheon.

Didn’t make it to the Annual Luncheon? No problem!

Applying for Core Grants

Core Grant applications are reviewed annually and may be submitted beginning February 1.

Applications are due on April 28, 2023.

The application cycle for 2024 core grants will close on April 28, 2023. Each year we receive many outstanding applications for funding. Please follow the instructions carefully to ensure that your application is completed correctly. For more information, view our video for the Information Session we held on March 23, 2023.

Application Process

Please review the application process carefully and continue scrolling down the page for the forms and necessary information.

  1. Confirm project eligibility.
  2. Review the Grant Guidelines and the Nuts and Bolts before you begin to fill out the application.
  3. Check out additional Grant Writing Resources if needed.
  4. Complete the Budget Form and Demographics Form as it will be required to upload during the application process.
  5. Read about the Review Process and Timeline.
  6. Create an account via the electronic Grant Application. (This process was introduced in 2022.)
    • Start with the blue button in the upper right corner of the application page that allows you to log in or create a new account.
    • Once you have created a new account you may access the grant application via your personal login.
    • The system will walk you through the process.
    • Be sure to read the Grant Guidelines noted above in step #2 as you will need information there to complete your proposal.
    • Complete the Budget Form and Demographics Form as it will be required to upload during the application process.

      7. Complete and submit the application by April 28, 2023 at 5:00 PM.

Once you submit your grant application via the electronic system, the process is complete.

Grant recipients are notified in September, with funds distributed in two allotments in January and July of the following year.

Demographics Form

Please submit the completed forms via the Electronic Grants Application 


Economic self-sufficiency for all of Iowa’s women and girls is central to the mission of the Iowa Women’s Foundation and the Core Grants program. To be successful proposed projects must focus primarily on serving the needs and aspirations of women and girls. To this end, six specific areas have been identified as the most critical barriers for Iowa women and girls, and all grant applications must address one of these barriers: employment, childcare, housing, education/training, transportation, or mentorship.

Funded projects and programs embody one or more of the following characteristics:

  • Advocate on issues that lead to long-term change for women and girls
  • Employ strategies designed to address causes of systemic, societal problems
  • Address activities that enable women and/or girls as a group to achieve economic self-sufficiency
  • Offer strategies that develop positive self-images for young and adolescent girls
  • Promote prevention, early intervention, and enrichment activities
  • Are creative, innovative, and new to the community they serve
  • Increase the range of choices and expand opportunities for women and girls
  • Work toward the elimination of discrimination
  • Could provide a model for replication by other service providers addressing the same clients or similar needs
  • Promote the interconnectedness of issues across the states, regions or countries between the women and girls in Iowa and the Global world
  • IWF places no restrictions on the number of years a program can be funded. However, to receive subsequent funding for the same program, IWF will want to see growth, expansion, and/or innovation to the original program.

Projects that are not eligible for IWF Core Grant funding:

  • Any project that does not specifically address one of the stated barriers.
  • Existing or new endowment funds 
  • Capital projects such as the acquisition of land, buildings and major equipment; or the construction or renovation of facilities
  • Research or medical projects
  • Reimbursement for previously incurred expenses
  • Conference attendance
  • Political campaigns for candidates
  • Promotion of religious activities
  • Activities inconsistent with federal, state, and local non-discrimination ordinances regarding equal employment opportunity

Grant Writing Resources

Get a little help from your friends!

For 2022-23, IWF will have volunteer mentors available to review a draft of your grant application prior to official submission. To request assistance from a mentor, please send an email to and include “Mentor Inquiry” in the subject line before Friday, March 3, 2023.

Interested in being a reviewer?  Contact

Online Grant Writing Resources

From the Iowa Council of Foundations:

Three Easy Steps to Money:

  1. Do your homework!
    • Find out what you can about a foundation’s interests before you initiate contact.
    • Check website
    • Published guidelines, annual reports, 990
  2. Read and follow directions!
    • Match your request to the types and size of grant the foundation prefers.
    • Follow the suggested format and tips.
  3. Check your work!
    • Misspellings, typos, grammatical and factual errors reflect poorly on credibility and capacity.
    • Make sure the numbers add up logically and correctly.

Successful proposals convey 5 signal virtues:

  1. Capability
  2. Credibility
  3. Feasibility
  4. Importance
  5. Benefits

And 6 key qualities:

  1. Expertise
  2. Commitment
  3. Clarity
  4. Collaboration
  5. Comprehensiveness
  6. Effectiveness

Review Process

Community Review Panels (CRP’s) composed of community volunteers with relevant experience and expertise review all of the proposals and rank them according to the current year IWF grant priorities and the procedures described in the Grant Review Process Document.

The rankings are reported to the IWF Grants Committee which then evaluates the top-ranked proposals from the CRP’s and makes funding recommendations to the IWF Board of Directors. The Board of Directors makes the final funding decisions.


February 2023: Grant application period opens

March 2, 2023: Statewide Information Session via Zoom

RSVP to: to receive a zoom link for the session. Note you are RSVP’ing for the session. There will be two sessions – one in the morning and one in the afternoon.

March 2, 2023: Deadline for requesting a Mentor who can review the draft of your grant application before submitting to IWF. Send requests to: with MENTOR INQUIRY in the subject line.

April 28, 2023: Grant applications due at 5:00 pm CDT.

September 2023: Applicants Notified.

October 4, 2023: Successful applicants featured at IWF Luncheon

January 2024: Check presentation and contracts signed

July 2024: Mid-year reports due, followed by distribution of second allocation of funds

January 2025: Final reports due.