Grants Ethos

With over three decades of grant making, the Victorian Women’s Benevolent Trust has built a considerable body of expertise and intimate knowledge in effective, feminist grant making. This feminist grant making ethos has guided much of the evaluation and allocation of nearly 700 largely small grants since 1985.

Since the very beginning, our grant making has been systematised, using extensive data collection processes. We have funded all types of organisations from grassroots organisations, larger non-profits, universities and hospitals. With a deep working knowledge of the data, we have great insight into the impact and outcomes of the projects we have funded and are interested in funding.

Before you submit your application, please read our ethos below to guide your application and see if it is the right fit.

  1.  Catalysing change. In a quest for equality we fund projects that bring about circuit-breaking, progressive change or show new ways of doing things always with a positive change for women & girls. 
  1.  Seeding new ideas. We prefer not to provide funding for existing projects. Ideally funding requested is seed funding for a new project or if we do provide funding for an existing project it must be a new component which extends its reach or has a triggering effect.
  1.  Supporting grassroots. We prefer a significant proportion of our funding to go towards smaller grassroots charities that fly under the radar of larger funders.
  1.  Funding with empathy. For some of our grant seekers, they might not have much grant writing experience or expertise, therefore we try to look past an application that is not perfectly constructed to see if it has real potential to create change.
  1.  Research igniting change. For research either by a university or charity, we want to be confident that it is capable of initiating social change in the broader community and for gender equality.
  1. Equality for all. We only fund projects that work with men and boys when the needs of women and girls are the central focus. For instance, we may fund a behavioural change program that works with male perpetrators of violence against women. In this instance, reducing violence against women and girls is the central focus and therefore appropriate to fund.
  1. Beyond the binary. Our primary beneficiaries are women and girls. This includes trans-women. We also extend our support to non-binary or non-identifying people.
  1. Being inclusive. Each year in our funding mix, we try to ensure that we support a broad range of beneficiaries, not limited to, but including: CALD women, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, women from rural and regional areas, LGBTQIA+ people, women living with a disability and/or mental illness.
  1.  Realistic expectations. By providing small grants, we are realistic about what the grant recipient can achieve with the grant money we provide. However, we know that many small grants can trigger great change beyond the life of the grant.
  1. Fair process. We understand that non-profits have limited resources and time. We don’t expect grant seekers to jump through hoops to receive a grant. Our application, evaluation and acquittal processes are rigorous and transparent without any great barriers for the grant seeker.
  1. Fair pay. If a funding request includes a salary component, we recognise that grant recipients should be properly remunerated for their work.
  1. Funding change. We primarily fund projects and not core business and operational expenses. However, we may fund a new position that has the potential to build the capacity of the organisation, such as a volunteer coordinator.
  1. Co-funding. When we have funding requests for our small grants to contribute to a larger project, we carefully weigh up what impact our funding will have and whether it’s an important project to be a part of.
  1. Due diligence. We understand that our grant recipients may not need to always reinvent the wheel, but if a project is like another organisation’s project, it’s important that they demonstrate that they have done their due diligence and have communicated with the other organisation.