Imagine the Possibilities


Must our organization have an IRS 501(c)(3) status in order to apply for a grant?
Yes, but there are 2 exceptions. If your organization does not have an IRS 501(c)(3) status, we will accept an application on your behalf from a fiscal agent that has an IRS 501(c)(3) designation. Your fiscal agent must be willing to accept a possible grant award, disburse the funds to pay project costs and sign off on interim and final grant progress reports. We encourage you to discuss this with our office. The other exception is if your organization is a religious institution that does not have an IRS 501(c)(3)S designation letter, in which case you should also call our office.
What if our organization is unable to complete the Letter of Intent or the Full Proposal by the deadline, because our CEO or President is away and we are unable to get signatures in a timely fashion?
Please plan in advance. The deadlines are firm. The JWF requires the original signatures of both your Board President and your CEO or Executive Director to be certain that a program or project has been reviewed and approved of by your organization’s leadership. Electronic signatures are not accepted. All documents must accompany the application- As soon as you know that you will apply for funding for a specific project, have the program planned and the dollar amount of your request determined, you can prepare your cover letter and get the needed signatures. If there is an unanticipated last minute emergency, a faxed signature page will suffice temporarily, but we must receive it by the deadline. Original signatures must be mailed as soon as possible after the emergency. The filing deadline is firm, and we cannot accept incomplete or late applications at either the Letter of Intent or the Full Proposal phase.
The Grant Guidelines indicate that the JWF will consider grant requests for projects that benefit Jewish women and girls and their families. Does that mean that we can request funding for programs that benefit men and boys?
We are a women’s foundation. Our mission, goals and grants guidelines set a path towards expanding opportunities for and improving the lives of Jewish women and girls. We state clearly that we fund with a gender lens. Sometimes, however, projects that benefit women and / or girls must include men and boys. We are not likely to fund a program that is established to benefit men and or boys, with no primary benefit to women and girls. This is best explained by examples:

  1. We funded a teen dating abuse program, whose participants included both teen boys and girls, because the primary beneficiaries of this program are teen girls and young women.
  2. We also funded a domestic abuse education and training program in Israel for policy makers, police officers, judges, social workers, etc. Most of the participants were men, but the program was created to benefit the victims of domestic abuse, more than 90% of whom are women. We will consider projects that benefit Jewish families, but we continue to assess their benefit to women and girls as mothers, daughters and sisters.
What does the JWF mean by “advocacy”?
Advocacy is the process of speaking up, organizing and taking action and includes a broad range of activities. For the Jewish Women’s Foundation of Metropolitan Detroit, advocacy is about furthering the issues that are a part of our mission to benefit Jewish women and girls and social change. Examples of advocacy include:

  • Using educational tools to influence individual and group choices.
  • Creating public education opportunities: educating ourselves, other funders, funding partners, public policymakers, and the general public about pressing issues impacting Jewish women and girls.
  • Funding projects that work towards sustainable social change, and that incorporate advocacy components.
  • Lobbying within organizations, communities and political institutions to promote a bill or policy.
  • Supporting grantee partners by providing them with feedback and by connecting them to other resources, potential partners and stakeholders.
    What does the JWF mean by sustainable or systemic “Social Change”?
    There are many types of change that can be called “social change”. We see social change on a continuum, beginning with small shifts in behavior and attitude to significant change in societal attitudes and in the institutions that serve people and address needs. We hope that the social change we see described in your applications will be change that benefits a broad group or groups of people, and is sustainable. Social change at the most narrow end of the continuum would be a change that helps individuals do things differently and for the better, perhaps affecting only the direct participants in your program, something that helps build a sense of personal well-being and empowerment. For example: immediate support for individuals or families in need, such as teaching senior women in senior living complex to adopt healthier nutritional habits. This might help participants in the program as well as the institution that provides them with housing and services.

    Another kind of social change is something that gives an idea new meaning, or helps the community or society see an issue in a new light. An example might be the funding we gave to build the Jewish Coalition Against Domestic Abuse (JCADA), which is helping the community understand that there is domestic abuse in the Jewish community to the same extent as in the broader community. The coalition is raising the community’s awareness and helping to educate the community about how to identify and respond to the issue. It is changing our understanding of the issue and our willingness to support appropriate responses to it. Social change can also be change in policies and institutional or governmental systems.

    Social change at the broad level is related to advocacy. An organization’s work might change laws or institutional systems to better address an issue. The example given in the advocacy section, above, of a training program for judges, police officers, educators, and other first responders about domestic abuse applies here. The goal of this program is to change systems; to inform police how to better respond to domestic violence situations and protect victims; to inform judges about patterns of behaviors and change their responses when they deal with perpetrators of domestic violence; to help educators and social service providers to better detect potentially violent situations and intervene to protect families.

    Social change may also be related to maintaining prior progress gained and to further reinforce better attitudes and behaviors around gender equity. For example, reinforcing the idea that women can serve on boards, succeed in professions, win votes, etc. and are equal to men in such pursuits; and therefore deserve equal pay and equal opportunity. Social change might also be seen in programs that build a critical mass of participation or buy-in, to accomplish a goal. For example, taking a movement to a tipping point and creating change through a campaign or education or networking, etc. This might be within a single institution, or more broadly in society. Examples:

    1. Promoting the recognition of emotional stress on teen girls might be one such way to change programs in schools. (Advocacy)
    2. Promoting a new law mandating equal insurance coverage for men and women is an example of promoting social change on a societal level. (Advocacy)
    The JWF declined our grant request when we applied in a previous year. May we apply again?
    Yes, but be certain that you review the rejection letter that you received and understand the reasons for the rejection, and as always feel free to call our office for clarification.

    JWF funds available for grant making are limited, and our process is competitive. Your chances of success may change in a given year, depending on the number of requests that we receive, how well designed the programs are and how well the grant requests fit our mission and guidelines. Please be sure to discuss the proposal with our Director, who will be more than willing to offer some guidance about what may or may not strike a responsive chord with our Trustees. Unfortunately, no individual Trustee can make promises about the chances for success of an application. We have a very democratic process, and each of our current Trustees is eligible to vote.

    Can our organization apply for more than one grant in a single grant cycle?
    Yes. We encourage you to contact Susan Cassels Kamin, our Director, at 248.203-1524 or by email at
    Is it better for our organization to apply for the maximum amount available?
    Request only the funds needed in order to implement the project in a way that will successfully achieve its goals. If the amount is not justified, you will not receive the full amount requested. The JWF Trustees will look closely at a project budget and will ask many questions:

    1. Are you requesting that the JWF support items that are already covered in your general operating budget, such as rent, electricity, gas, maintenance, etc.?
    2. Have you considered sharing resources or partnering with another organization that has a similar mission and can complement your work?
    3. Have you looked at other sources of funding and/or applied for other funding? We encourage you to leverage any funding that you receive from the JWF. This will allow you to enrich, expand or extend your program beyond the grant period.
    4. Are you using other sources of revenue to pay for some expenses, such as using a fee for services sliding scale; or charging affordable user participation fees or ticket sales, when your target population can afford to pay? If so, have those fees been included in the Revenue so they can offset the cost of the project?
    5. Has the requesting organization or the partner organization committed any of their own financial resources to the project? If not, then are there other indications that there is a strong commitment to the project?
    6. Will the requesting organization or the partner organization be contributing services or staffing as In-Kind contributions to ensure the success of the project?
    7. Are the costs shown in the application budget sufficient? If funded, will the amount requested be sufficient to ensure a successful project? If not, where will the organization find the additional funding needed to ensure success?
    8. If you do not receive full funding, how will you adjust the project to insure its success with less than you are requesting?
    What if we are uncertain about the exact amounts of some of the costs and sources of revenue for our project?
    We understand that budget amounts are projections and that there may be changes as the project progresses. You will have an opportunity to inform the JWF of any changes or adjustments in the reports that will be required in the middle and at the end of each project year.
    What is In-Kind support, and why does this matter?
    In-Kind support is included in Revenue on the Budget Form, and it is the total of all In-Kind Expenses included in your budget. In-Kind Expense items are the value of services or space or staff time that your organization and/or your collaborative partners are contributing to the project, however In-Kind Expenses represent expenses that you will not be requesting funds from the JWF to cover. They help to illustrate the true total cost of implementing a project. Examples might include:

    1. Allocation of space in a building over the course of the project.
    2. A portion of staff salaries and benefits, allowing you to show the cost of committing staff members to the project.
    3. The contribution, purchase or use of equipment.
    4. The cost of services supplied by partner organizations, such as design services, mailing services, custodial services, etc.
    5. In addition, utilities, telephone and other administrative and overhead or general operating costs that are covered in the organizations’ operating budgets and therefore do not need to be requested from the JWF.
    Can we include the cost of equipment in our grant application?
    TThe answer to that is both yes and no. We will consider equipment requests on a case by case basis. We have paid for minor equipment purchases to ensure that a program can be successful when the equipment is completely specific to the project. However, we will not purchase significant pieces of equipment that have a useful life that extends well beyond the grant period and that could therefore be used for other projects not related to the JWF mission. Some examples of this are:

    1. We did purchase yoga mats for a program involving healthy choices for teen girls.
    2. We declined to purchase electronic lighting and recording equipment to help a one year girls’ theater program at a school that serves boys and girls.

    Please note that the JWF guidelines state that we do not participate in Capital Campaigns.

    Can our organization apply for general operating funding?
    JWF funding is “value added” to your organization’s ability to develop and implement programs that benefit Jewish women and girls. That means that we do not fund administrative overhead or general operational costs that your organization would be incurring regardless of whether or not you initiate the program or project for which you are seeking funding.

    An exception may be in the case of a very small or a “grass roots” effort, or one in which the organization has been created specifically to provide the program outlined in your grant request when its mission is consistent with the mission of the JWF. If we do fund some operational costs for such an organization, we are unlikely to support costs related to daily business operations, such as utilities, phone, postage, etc. Other exceptions to this rule fell outside of our regular grant cycles and were part of recent critical needs allocations, due to the economic downturn. We do, however, support staffing needs related specifically to a project; not, however, if the project is a regular part of an established staff person’s portfolio. In other words, although we may fund employment related costs that are specific to the program, they must be additional (new) costs incurred as a result of initiating this project. We will not reimburse your organization for payroll costs that would be incurred whether or not this project is implemented and we will not fund costs that are already covered in your organization’s annual budget.

    Should we itemize expenses that are not part of the amount requested from the JWF?
    Yes. It is important that you include all relevant expense items, so that the total expenses offer a realistic picture of the cost of the project. Realistically, your project may cost much more than the amount you are requesting from the JWF. That is not unreasonable, because the true cost of a project includes amounts that may be covered by other grants, contracts or funding sources. If that is the case, please be sure to indicate whether these sources have already committed their funds, or if their contribution is pending some event or circumstances, and if so, please explain what that contingency is. Showing that you are leveraging various sources of funding to accomplish a goal is actually a good thing, because it shows your initiative and commitment to the project.