At most foundations, how a grant gets funded is a mysterious process to the potential grant applicantand to donors who wonder how one grant application is chosen over another.
At The Woman’s Fund of Central Ohio, we strive to make the grantmaking process as inclusive and accountable as possible. The Women’s Fund recruits a diverse group of women ages 14 and up to review grant applications. As a grant reader, women and girls see our grantmaking process up close. They learn more about the many organizations working to create social change, and meet the other dynamic women and girls from Central Ohio who volunteer to read grants.
Who are grant readers?
These women are business owners, high school students, teachers, funders, retired business executives, accountants, college interns, legislators, stay-at-home moms and lawyers. As a grant reader, a woman joins the more than 490 women and girls who since our first grantmaking cycle during the Fall of 2002 have helped to create positive social change for the women and girls of central Ohio!
Young women have an awesome leadership experience as they network with other young women, connect with older, more seasoned women and learn to use the Quaker consensus model to make thoughtful decisions. For many young girls, this may be the first opportunity to do community service and help build skills for a resume. Young women learn that their voice is important and valuable as a constituent of the community. Participating as a grant reader is an empowering process through which women and girls have the power to mobilize social change.
What does being a grant reader for The Women’s Fund entail?
We require all grant readers to attend a workshop to learn more about the grantmaking process at The Women’s Fund. The workshop clarifies the role of a grant reader, The Women’s Fund’s grantmaking priorities, scoring procedures and any questions about the process.
The Women’s Fund asks each grant reader to review grant applications and score them based on the criteria of The Women’s Fund. Grant applications are evaluated using the following criteria:
- Social Change – does the narrative answer how the project will effect lasting social change for women and girls in Central Ohio?
- Program Design – does the narrative specifically describe the who, what, where, when and how of the proposed program project?
- Evaluation and “Pass It On” Plan – does the plan have an internal evaluation to determine success and how will the success be communicated to the larger community?
- Budget and Finance – does the application present a clear understanding of the use of funds and the relationship of those funds to the overall budget of the organization?
- Technical/Procedural – Is the application complete and readable?
Once the grant reader has read all of the applications at home, all grant readers come together for a 3-hour session. Grant readers meet with a small group of women to discuss the same group of grant applications and determine a consensus score for those applications. Each group will then present this information to the larger group of approximately 100 readers.
The grant reader recommendations are shared with The Women’s Fund Board Grants Selection Committee where other considerations such as monies available for grants and representation of all of our priority areas are also taken into account. The Board Grant Selection Committee then shares their funding recommendations with The Women’s Fund Executive Committee and ultimately the Board of Directors, for review and approval of funding.
*NOTE: If you are interested in volunteering as a grant reader for Fall 2014, contact Sarah Pariser, Project Manager, at 614.225.9926 or firstname.lastname@example.org.