The Women’s Philanthropy Society– established for women by women – is Huntsville’s first permanent grantmaking endowment that seeks to make a positive difference in the lives of women and families across a broad spectrum of issues that impact the Quality of Life in our community. The Women's Philanthropy Society (WPS) was established to mobilize the power and passion of women living on all points of the compass to shape a positive difference in our community. The heart of the Women's Philanthropy Society is the Women's Endowment, which is a legacy of love that will support women and families in our community forever. Each year, the Women's Philanthropy Society awards one or more high-impact, high-dollar grants to programs, organizations, or projects that address systemic change and that create positive and measurable impact for women and families.
This year, the Women's Philanthropy Society's Leadership Council has chosen to focus on the critical issue of mental health. With the goal of making a high-impact grant to an organization addressing mental health issues affecting women and children in our community, the Leadership Council would like to share a video detailing the mental health crisis our community is facing. To watch the video, click here.
On February 28, 2019, ninety community leaders, representing fifty-nine different organizations, gathered for a Community Conversation about Mental Health. The input from this Community Conversation will help inform the grant process. CLICK HERE for a summary of the input received, as well as a list of participants .
The grant application for the 2019 high-impact grant to address mental health for women and children will be posted on or before May 1, 2019.
The Women's Philanthropy Society's Leadership Council chose the focus issue of homeless women and families. The previous year's Vital Signs report stated that in Huntsville, Madison, and Madison County 48.9% of children of single moms live below the poverty line, and $26,606 is the median family income for single moms with children under 18 (compared to average median income for families living in Madison County of $73,906). This means any financial setback can quickly put single moms and their families in crisis, sometimes resulting in homelessness. So the Grants Committee of the Women's Philanthropy Society solicited a strategic solution to the issues facing homeless women. After receiving twenty-one grant applications for projects totaling $850,922, they selected the ELM Foundation’s Community Connections program, a collaborative case management solution that better connects existing community resources to the women and their families who need them. (See Press Release)
To donate by check, please mail your donations to the Community Foundation,303 Williams Avenue SW, Suite 1031, Huntsville, AL 35801.
How is the Women’s Philanthropy Society different from other local fundraising efforts to help women?
The Greater Huntsville community is very generous, and so it is no surprise that there are a number of worthwhile organizations, projects, and programs that benefit women and children in our area. Many of these projects address targeted areas of concern to women and families such as job training, education, health, human services, or youth development. Furthermore, most of these programs rely on annual donations to support their work.
The Women’s Philanthropy Society is the fundraising arm for the Women's Endowment, which is the heart of this effort. The Women's Endowment provides a permanent source of community capital to support the work being done by various organizations and agencies to address a wide spectrum of systemic issues that impact the quality of life for women and families. The Women's Philanthropy Society invests annually through a high-impact grant to address a systemic issue. The Women’s Philanthropy Society will not replace the work of any existing organizations but rather provides an additional, perpetual funding source to ensure that good work can continue.
What portion of donations to the Women's Philanthropy Society will be available for grants each year?
Half of all donations to the Women’s Philanthropy Society will be used for annual grantmaking, and the balance will be used to grow the Women's Endowment in perpetuity and to generate additional income for current-year grantmaking.
If there are community needs, why create an endowment instead of spending all donations now?
An endowment provides a stable source of income to address the concerns of women and their families forever, and contributions to the Women’s Philanthropy Society provide a lasting legacy of the women who support it. The impact of these investments will continue to benefit the community long after the donations have been made. Additionally, our community is growing and changing each year, and the needs of tomorrow may be different from our needs today. The Women’s Philanthropy Society will be here to meet the needs of the community today and in the future.
Who decides where the grants go?
An Advisory Committee, which is a volunteer group of leading women in our community, stewards the Women’s Philanthropy Society pursuant to its mission, chooses an annual focus area, convenes a Community Conversation about the focus area, and then recommends annual grant recipients after a competititve grant application process.
This Advisory Committee is appointed annually for a one-year term by the Board of Directors of the Community Foundation and serves at the discretion of the Board.
Factors to be included in the grants determination will include the following:
- Community needs
- Strategic impact
- Number of women and children served
- Demonstrated success of the grantee organization
What types of projects does the Women’s Philanthropy Society support?
Each year, the Women’s Philanthropy Society awards high-impact, high-dollar grants to programs, organizations and projects that address systemic change in the annual focus area and that create positive and measurable impact for women and their families.
Some examples from other communities with Women’s Endowments include the following types of projects:
- Collaborative case management for homeless women and families
- Financial education for women
- Prevention of domestic violence
- Services to address mental health and substance abuse disorders among women and their families
- Efforts to minimize the number of children entering foster care and assist with efforts to find permanent homes for foster children
- Education and training program to assist homemakers transitioning back into the workplace
- Support of sexual assault and/or domestic violence victims
- Efforts to combat human trafficking
How does the Community Foundation publicize the grant opportunity?
The Community Foundation of Greater Huntsville promotes grant opportunities from the Women’s Philanthropy Society through its website, through social media channels, and through targeted e-mail correspondence.
Who can give to the Women’s Philanthropy Society?
Anyone can give to the Women’s Philanthropy Society! Although the Women’s Philanthropy Society is for women and primarily by women, we recognize that men may also want to donate to celebrate the impact of the women in their lives.
Can I make an honorary or memorial gift to the Women's Philanthropy Society?
Yes! Each of us can point to strong women who have made a positive impact on our lives. What better way to honor these women than by making a gift to the Women's Philanthropy Society in their honor and creating a permanent legacy to celebrate their contributions forever.
Can I donate assets other than cash to the Women's Philanthropy Society?
Yes! The Community Foundation can accept not only cash and credit cards, but also non-cash gifts such as stocks and bonds. Assets such as real estate and other personal property may also be accepted, but are subject to Board approval.
To make a credit card donation to the Women's Philanthropy Society, please click the Donate button above. If you would like more information about making a non-cash gift to the Women's Philanthropy Society, please contact Stuart Obermann at email@example.com for simple transaction instructions.
All gifts to the Women’s Philanthropy Society are appreciated! Donors who give $1,000 or more are considered members of the Women's Philanthropy Society. The Community Foundation recognizes cumulative gifts of $1,000 or more on its website and promotional materials at the following levels:
|Tallulah Bankhead||$1,000 - $4,999|
|Coretta Scott King||$5,000 - $9,999|
|Rosa Parks||$10,000 - $24,999|
|Helen Keller||$25,000 or more|
For more information about the Women’s Philanthropy Society, please contact the Community Foundation at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 256 489 3525.