Thank you for your interest in the Montclair Fund for Women’s Grant Awards. Our grantmaking for 2023 is now complete. Please check back early in 2024 for our next application deadline. 

If this is your first time submitting a grant to the Montclair Fund for Women, please call MFW’s Director at 862.233.9316. We want to make sure your organization is a good fit and preserve your resources.

Montclair Fund for Women makes grants to 501(c)3 organizations in Montclair and North Essex for programs supporting education and social justice and focusing on women of color. If you have not applied previously, please carefully review the Grantmaking Critera (link immediately below) or call our Executive Director, Lori Heninger, at 862.233.9316.

Montclair Fund for Women grants range from approximately $2500-$12,500, depending on the program/project proposed or the general operating needs of the organization.


Grantmaking Criteria

While maintaining our focus on support for organizations providing direct service to women and girls, with a special emphasis on women and girls of color, in the education and/or social justice arenas, MFW will prioritize grants that focus on the building of community as a methodology for change.

Montclair Fund for Women funds social justice projects created to:
  • Expose and challenge systemic racism through teaching tolerance; combat racist/bigoted laws, policies and private business practices.
  • Expose and challenge economic inequality through research, community organizing, public education campaigns, community forums, publications to expose private, non-profit and government sector policies, laws and practices that result in economic inequality for specific/arbitrarily targeted segments of the population, for the private profit of another.
  • Challenge political policies, laws, court rulings and practices through community education designed to expose, illuminate, educate and inform individuals and groups regarding those policies and laws.

Montclair Fund for Women supports programs that enrich learning and maximize opportunities for economically disadvantaged students to access high quality education. We fund programs that:

  • Make education a two-way street between parent(s) and child that strengthens family ties and the love of learning, which is the foundation for success.
  • Utilize research-based curriculum to prepare children for social and academic development that maximizes their chance for achieving their life goals through integrated technology, cooperative learning modules and differentiated instruction, creative use of “toys”, media, etc.
  • Engage children and teens in programs that include technology, public speaking, the arts, literature, math and science and civic responsibility/leadership skills.
  • Document/demonstrate an increase students’ ability to embrace, enjoy and succeed at lifelong learning both in and out of school.
  • Engage elementary to college-aged youths in well-planned, rigorous and enjoyable activities designed to enrich/enhance their personal social development, civic engagement, academic achievement and pursuit of career and other life goals.


The Montclair Fund for Women’s Board of Trustees have been exploring ways to increase the impact of the Fund’s support. It was clear that any change in the Fund’s direction needed to be grounded in the mission of the historic Montclair/North Essex YWCA, as well as the experience of the women who participated in its life; for about 75 years, the YWCA was “a place to become” one’s self through a welcoming community. This legacy gave rise to the idea of individual change and growth through a supportive, welcoming community, as well as the strengthening of that community through individual change and growth.

Community can be geographic, social, biological, and thematic. When people come together around common interests and joint action, cohesion and both group and individual identities develop. Social ties form, and there is the possibility for change to be created both on behalf of the community, and for individuals within the community. These communities can be long-, medium- or short-term in duration.

  • Change in and through communities comes from the following actions/characteristics:
    • Collective wisdom: a sharing of ideas that can be greater than the sum of the parts.
    • Pushing individual limits: high-performing athletes train with one another to push each other, and themselves, to do the best they can. In communities, pushing limits can be cognitive and emotional as well as physical.
    • Support and belief: People who don’t feel a sense of self-efficacy can gain confidence and develop skills through feedback from others.
    • New ideas: This is both exposure to new ideas and the ability, as in ‘collective wisdom’, to come up with original approaches to problems.
    • Borrowed motivation: When energy flags or a setback happens, having people to pick up the slack or to bring new energy can provide the needed thrust to keep going.
    • Accountability: For a community to be successful, people must be accountable to one another. They have to do what they say they are going to do, or the goals will not be accomplished.
    • A sense of place and belonging: Access to a safe space, whether geographic or social/intellectual/emotional, can allow for people to let down their guard enough to engage in activities that are outside of their comfort zone.

This year, the Montclair Fund for Women will give priority to organizations and programs/projects that foster individual growth and change through participation in a community (as defined above), as well as the strengthening of a community through individual growth and change. 


Additional grantmaking criteria:
  • The organization must have a current 501(c)3.
  • Organizations in Montclair and/or North Essex will be given priority. Organizations outside of Montclair/North Essex, but still within the northern part of New Jersey, who make a compelling case for funding will also be considered.
  • Grantees must use the award funds for the purpose and within the period stated in the application, in compliance with the MFW Grant Award Terms of Agreement issued with each grant award.
  • MFW will not make grant awards for:
    • individual scholarships
    • loans or grants to individuals
    • loans to organizations
    • gifts for endowments or to organizations that re-grant collected
    • arts organizations (unless a directRFP is issued by the Fund)
    • debt liquidation or national dues
    • grants for medical, psychological, drug rehab services or counseling
    • financial workshops
    • housing renovation/building construction.
  • Grantees must use all funds and submit a grant report or annual report within twelve (12) months of the award, or request a grant modification.