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You’re Invited to Join Participatory Grantmaking at WFMN

The Women’s Foundation of Minnesota (WFMN) has engaged in participatory grantmaking since its founding in 1983. Participatory philanthropy is a method to disrupt the power imbalances in philanthropy by building collectivism and power with the communities it serves. Participatory methods put WFMN’s Intersectional Equity Framework™ into action to produce innovative initiatives that begin to dismantle white supremacy and build sustainability and capacity for individuals and organizations.

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Equity in process results in equity in outcomes. One way WFMN puts equity into the design of programs and processes is through participatory grantmaking that engages individuals most impacted by gender and racial inequity in funding decisions that affect their communities.

Problems and solutions are found in the same place. Communities that experience systemic barriers are the most qualified and have the most expertise to provide solutions for systems change. Engaging communities most impacted by inequities in funding decisions increases WFMN’s impact and effectiveness to address inequities.

Building Community

In addition to engaging individuals most impacted by inequities in funding decisions, WFMN uses participatory grantmaking to bring together WFMN’s community of stakeholders across race and ethnicity, geography, and socioeconomic status to support and invest in a shared vision of gender and racial justice in Minnesota.

Current Examples of Participatory Grantmaking at WFMN

  • Young Women’s Initiative WFMN Innovators: Through the Young Women’s Initiative of Minnesota, the WFMN Innovators program provides microgrants of $2,500 directly to young women and gender-expansive leaders (ages 16-24) and supports their leadership development through trainings and convenings.
    • Grantmaking Committee: Funds for this program are exclusively directed by young women to young women with training and guidance from WFMN staff members.
  • Young Women’s Initiative Field Investments: Since the inception of YWI MN in 2016, WFMN has invested more than $2.5 million in the intersecting areas of economic opportunity, safety, leadership, and systems change on behalf of and with young women.
    • Grantmaking Committee: Funds for this program were exclusively directed by an 11-member grantmaking committee made up of 60% young women and 60% people of color and American Indian people.

Application Deadline: Monday, May 16, 2022, at 11:59 p.m.

After you submit your application, we will invite you to schedule a brief 15-minute call to learn more about you and your interest in participating on the committee.

Participatory Grantmaking Framework
Five WFMN funds serve a vital role in creating systems change. To engage gender and racial justice in transforming harmful systems, we root our process in transparency, intentionality, and building community trust and partnership. WFMN invites statewide stakeholders, donor-partners, grantee-partners, program alumni, WFMN trustees, and staff to participate on a grantmaking committee for a two-year commitment. WFMN seeks to represent Minnesota’s diverse communities as it leads with equity and justice to create solutions that are inclusive for all women, girls, and gender-expansive people.

Goal & Responsibilities
WFMN stakeholders use the Intersectional Equity Framework™ to engage with the most pressing issues in our communities, listen, and create meaningful social change through grantmaking. To create a strong grantmaking committee, WFMN will ensure that representation from our programs and participating communities that is reflective of the diverse statewide communities we serve. Each committee member will provide thought-leadership and community expertise as part of their role.

Committee members should:
• Be able to contextualize topics of gender and racial justice through an intersectional lens
• Understand the current challenges and obstacles relevant for your communities
• Be familiar with WFMN’s Intersectional Equity Framework™, Strategic Plan, & Impact Areas
• Be passionate about serving your community
• Advise staff on community investments

Composition for each Grantmaking Committee:
To ensure we have a diverse community perspective, there are two grantmaking committees.

Young Women’s Committee

This committee will focus on three grantmaking funds: girlsBEST, WFMN Innovators, and Young Women’s Initiative Investing in the Field organization partners (10 people total)

  • Program alumni (1-2)
  • Previous grantee- partner from the past three years (1-2)
  • Community leader, donor-partner, or a young person that is at least 16 years of age (4)
  • If you are a young person seeking to join this committee, you must be at least 16 years old and a past program participant, or applying with a community-based mentor.
  • WFMN Trustee or WFMN staff (1-2)

Key Dates for Virtual Training

  • Orientation Day & Training: May 25, 2022, 5-7 p.m.
  • girlsBEST Grantmaking Day: June 8, 2022, 5-7 p.m.
  • YWI Field Organizations Grantmaking Day: February 1, 2023, 5-7 p.m.
  • YWI Innovator Program Grantmaking Day: February 22, 2023, 5-7 p.m.

Community Power Committee

This committee will focus on three grantmaking funds: Community Response, Fund for Safety, and Racial Justice. (8 people total)

  • Program alumni (1-2)
  • Previous grantee-partner from the past three years (1-2)
  • Community leader, donor-partner, or family member that is at least 16 (4)
  • WFMN Trustee or WFMN staff (1-2)

Key Dates for Virtual Training

  • Orientation Day & Training: May 25, 2022, 5-7 p.m.
  • Racial Justice Fund Grantmaking Day: October 12, 2022
    • Tentative Site Visits: October 6-7, 12-4 p.m.
  • Safety Fund Grantmaking Day November 9, 2022
    • Site Visits: November 3-4, 12-4 p.m.
  • Community Response Fund Grantmaking Day: Ongoing, TBD

Grantmaking committee members participate on a two-year term with each grantmaking committee. At the end of each term, committee members will have an option to recommit for one more term. Committee members can serve a maximum of two consecutive participatory grantmaking terms (four years). During each term, committee members will participate in grantmaking training, site visits, and grantmaking days, listed above.


  • 50 hours of professional development
  • Amazing WFMN swag
  • Access to WFMN’s news, events, & social network
  • Food stipend
  • Make innovative investments that drive systems change for gender and racial justice

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