Grants Program Criteria and Process

The aim of the Melbourne Women’s Fund Grants Program is to help improve the well-being of women and families in Metropolitan Melbourne.

We approach this primarily by distributing two grants annually to two not-for-profits doing outstanding work for the benefit of these individuals. However, through the collaborative nature of our program, we endeavour to help empower these organisations in other ways as well. As finalist organisations and individual members become familiar with each other through the application process, new relationships often develop. In the past, these have resulted in pro bono services and awareness-building marketing, in addition to traditional funding contributions.

Grant Application Guidelines

Melbourne Women’s Fund (MWF) provides a Signature Grant and a Nurturing Grant annually and participation is by invitation only. As we are a giving circle, our grant amounts are dependent entirely on the funds we receive from our members each year.

We seek to support the education, health and well-being of women and women together with their families in Metropolitan Melbourne. Within this focus, the specific 2020 granting areas chosen by our membership are: Homelessness, Family Violence, and Issues of disadvantage experienced by women aged 55+.

Participation in our grants process is by invitation only. Invitations will be sent to potentially eligible organisations on 3 December 2019 for the application round opening on Monday 13 January and closing at 4pm, Friday 28 February 2020.

The Grants Committee selects six finalists from the applications received —three for the Signature Grant and three for the Nurturing Grant. Application outcomes notified April 2020.

To help our membership become familiar with the finalists and their project or program seeking funding, a site visit is arranged with each finalist organisation (June or July). Each finalist then attends our Awards Evening in July to meet our members and give a seven-minute presentation, followed by a three-minute Q & A. That same evening, members vote for the recipient of each grant.

We conduct a free Presentation Skills Training Workshop for finalists prior to the Awards Evening to help everyone put their best foot forward on the night.

Applicant eligibility

To be eligible to apply for a grant from the Melbourne Women’s Fund in the coming 2020 grants round, organisations:

  • Receive a submission invitation from the Melbourne Women’s Fund.
  • 2018/19 annual consolidated revenue of less than $6 million.
  • Proposed project or program seeking funding is for the benefit of women, or women and their families, within Metropolitan Melbourne.
  • Were not a Melbourne Women’s Fund 2019 Finalist or Grant Recipient.
  • Are endorsed as a Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) as covered by Item 1 of the table in section 30-15 of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997, and as a Tax Concession Charity (TCC).
  • Reporting is up to date with the Australian Charities and Not for Profits Commission (ACNC).

How much and what can I apply for?

An eligible organisation can:

  • Apply for one grant: either the Signature Grant or the Nurturing Grant. One application per organisation only. The dollar amounts for each of the two grants will be specified in your invitation.
  • Apply to support capacity building, an advocacy initiative, or a pilot, new or existing activity.
  • In recognition of the time and resources involved in the grant application process, a small Merit Award will be provided to the four finalists not receiving the Signature Grant or the Nurturing Grant.

Note: Signature Grant, Nurturing Grant and Merit Award recipients are required to expend their funding, to be paid in September 2020, by 30 September 2021.


  • Tuesday 3 December 2019: eligible organisations invited to apply and application information provided.
  • Tuesday 3 December – Monday 13 January 2020: invitee organisations prepare their application responses and supporting documentation ready to submit online.
  • Monday 13 January: online application form opens for submissions.
  • Friday 28 February, 4pm: online application form closes — late submissions cannot be accepted.
  • Late April: applicants notified of the outcome of their application, including feedback if possible, with six shortlisted as finalists: three for the Signature Grant and three for the Nurturing Grant.
  • June/early July: a membership site visit to each of the six finalist organisations to learn more about their organisation and their proposed project or program seeking funding.
  • June: Presentation Skills Training Workshop to assist the six finalists to put their best foot forward at the annual Grant Awards Evening for Melbourne Women’s Fund membership voting.
  • Mid-July: Finalists present their organisation and project or program seeking funding, including a member Q & A, at the Melbourne Women’s Fund Grant Awards Evening 2020.

What do I do if my organisation is awarded a grant?

If your organisation is awarded funding at the Melbourne Women’s Fund members’ Awards Evening, Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation (LMCF) will prepare a Grant Agreement and Letter of Offer to sign and return before you can receive your funds. LMCF will issue your funding in September.

What are the funding conditions?

  • Acknowledgement of ‘Melbourne Women’s Fund, a subfund of the Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation’ in your organisation’s publications, promotional materials and media releases, in print and online.
  • Currency of adequate public liability insurance, and/or currency of any other insurance category appropriate to risks applicable to your project or program funded.
  • Compliance with legislation and regulations relevant to your project or program funded.
  • Compliance with Grant Agreement terms and funded project/program Evaluation reporting requirements.

Is there a Grants Evaluation process?

Yes! We love to hear about the progress of your funded project or program and update our membership on their grants at work in the community. Signature and Nuturing Grant recipients are required to provide a brief Interim Report and a more detailed final Acquittal Report. Merit Awardees are requested to provide a brief final report only.

Exclusions – Grants are not provided for the following

  • Political or fundraising events or campaigns
  • General fundraising events or campaigns
  • Legal expenses unless a direct cost of the activity seeking funding
  • General fundraising campaigns
  • Debt reduction
  • Operational deficit
  • Endowment funds
  • Retrospective funding
  • Auspicing – the organisation applying must be the organisation undertaking the activity.
  • If application form incomplete and/or requested documentation not provided with application.

What if we have an MWF member on our board or management team?

MWF endeavours to be welcoming and supportive towards all organisations that apply for our grants. However, we are obliged to balance this with the guarantee—to our members and the broader community—that we select applicants on merit only and undertake our processes as objectively as possible. Eliminating potential conflict of interest is key to achieving this.

Consequently, as part of our application process, we require organisations to state if they have an MWF member on their board or management team. If yes, these organisations are still welcome to apply. However, should we choose their organisation as a grant finalist, that member cannot participate in any MWF activities in the period from our finalists announcement until after the awards event. This is to minimize the potential for unfair influence over members’ decision-making when the members vote.

These activities include:

  • The Grants Information Evening
  • Presentation training workshop
  • All site visits
  • The Annual Awards Evening
  • Voting in the Signature or Nurturing Grant category where the member is conflicted

In the same spirit of fairness, these members will also refrain from mentioning MWF grants on any of their personal or organisation’s social media platforms.

Please note:

  • Melbourne Women’s Fund grant guidelines and criteria may be subject to change due to MWF Executive Committee decisions and/or a compliance review by LMCF. Any changes will be posted on this website page and if a grant round application period is in process, invitees will be notified.
  • Grant amounts awarded annually depend on member donations received by 30 June that year.
  • All recommendations for funding are at the discretion of the MWF Grants and MWF Executive Committees, with final approval by LMCF Board.
  • MWF endeavours to provide helpful feedback on unsuccessful submissions. However, this is at our discretion and subject to our capacity as a volunteer organisation.
  • No correspondence will be entered into regarding the membership’s voting results.
  • As a subfund of LMCF, MWF is bound by LMCF’s Privacy Policy. LMCF collects, handles and discloses your information in accordance with their Privacy Policy which is available online at 

Questions? Please fill out our enquiry form and one of our Grants Committee volunteers will endeavour to respond within two business days.

In 2019, MWF members awarded the Signature Grant to Lighthouse Foundation and the Nurturing Grant to Scarf Community Organisation!

Read here about the 2019 Grant Award finalist organisations

Premium Wordpress Themes by UFO Themes