Grants Program and Application Guidelines

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 communications in addition to traditional funding contributions.

Grant Application Guidelines

Our 2019 Grants Program is now closed.

The Melbourne Women’s Fund provides a Signature Grant and a Nurturing Grant annually. As we are a giving circle, our grant amounts are dependent entirely on the funds we receive from our members each year.

While our focus areas are education, health and well-being, every year our membership targets specific needs within these areas. For 2020, areas are: Homelessness, Family Violence and Older Women’s Issues.

Participation in our grant process is by invitation only. We will issue the invitations, including a link to the full application, in December 2019. The deadline for these applications will be late February 2020. From these applications, the Grants Committee will choose six finalists—three for the Signature Grant and three for the Nurturing Grant—in April 2020.

To help our membership become familiar with the finalists and their projects, we arrange a site visit with each finalist organisation in June or early July. Each finalist then attends our Awards Evening in mid to late July to meet our members and make a seven-minute presentation. That same evening, the membership votes for the winner of each grant.

We conduct a free presentation training workshop prior to the Awards Evening to help finalists be as prepared as possible for 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.
  • 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).
  • Australian Charities and Not for Profits Commission (ACNC) reporting up to date.
  • A 2018/19 Annual Revenue of less than $5 million.
  • Proposed activity for the benefit of women, or women and their families, within Metropolitan Melbourne.
  • Had not been a Melbourne Women’s Fund grant winner or finalist in our 2019 grant round.

How much and what can I apply for?

An eligible organisation can:

  • Apply for one of our two grants: 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, pilot program, new program, or existing program.

Note: Each grant winner is to spend their funding within 12 months of receipt. Grants will be paid in September 2020.


  • Monday 2 December 2019 invitation to apply sent.
  • Friday 28 February 2020, 4pm: application submission deadline. No late submissions will be accepted.
  • Early May 2020: Organisations will be notified of the outcome. Six organisations will be chosen as finalists—three for the Signature Grant and three for the Nurturing Grant.
  • June/early July: members will visit the six finalist organisations (one membership site visit per organisation) to learn more about them and their proposed project.
  • July: Presentation training workshop. The six finalists will present their project for Melbourne Women’s Fund membership voting at our annual Awards Evening.

What do I need to do if my application is successful?

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

What are the funding conditions?

  • Your organisation will acknowledge the Melbourne Women’s Fund and the Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation in your publications, promotional materials and media releases, in print and online.
  • You are responsible for public liability insurance, or any other applicable insurance category, appropriate to the activities within your proposal.

Is there a Grants Evaluation process?

Your organisation will be required to present a brief Interim Acquittal Report and a Final Acquittal Report. The due dates and details of this reporting will be specified in your Grant Agreement.

Exclusions – Grants are not provided for the following

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

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

The 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 that is conflicted

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

Please note:

  • Melbourne Women’s Fund (MWF) grant guidelines and criteria may be subject to change based on the decisions of our Executive Committee and a compliance review by the LMCF. Any changes will be posted on this website.
  • The total amount awarded annually depends on the total value of member donations received by June 30th.
  • All recommendations for funding are at the discretion of the MWF Executive Committee and are recommended for final approval by the 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 Collective Giving Account of the LMCF, MWF is bound by the LMCF Privacy Policy. The LMCF collects, handles and discloses your information in accordance with their Privacy Policy which is available online at 

A downloadable pdf of the MWF 2020 Grants and Application Guidelines will be available later in the year.

Questions? Please fill out an enquiry form here and one of our volunteers will try to get back to you 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

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