(Women Giving Opportunity)
In 2001, a group of institutional funders published a report, titled “Unfinished Business: Women in the Silicon Valley Economy”, which explored the status of women in Silicon Valley and the missed opportunities to promote women’s success. The Women’s Foundation of California responded to this report by founding the Women of Silicon Valley Giving Circle in 2005 which was relaunched in 2013 as the Women Giving Opportunity (WomenGO!) circle. WomenGO has been hosted by the East Bay Community Foundation since 2021. Since inception, the circle has had over 70 members and awarded over $1.2 million to support low-income women and girls in Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties.
WomenGO’s mission is to advance the economic security of women and girls in San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties. The circle focuses on funding small, grassroots organizations that are deeply embedded in the Silicon Valley communities they serve. From an organization’s programming to its board, we look at everything through a gender lens and always consider the impact on women. The circle conducts thorough research – going on site visits, examining a project’s other funding sources, and analyzing financial data – before deciding to make a grant. We are a consensus-driven group.
WomenGO! is willing to take risks and support innovation, but we also prioritise funding general operating costs. We also fund for organizational capacity building and to support existing, effective programs. We are committed to collaboration, encouraging all grantees to learn from each other, since many have overlapping goals and serve similar demographics. Because we are deeply invested in the success of these local organizations, individual circle members often stay connected to the nonprofits, even after the official grant period has ended, including as program volunteers, board members, and donors.
In recent years, our grantmaking has focused on programs working in education, job training, and community-based women’s leadership. In 2020, we directed our funding towards COVID relief funds in local communities.
WomenGO Members must make a minimum contribution of $5,000 per year to the donor circle’s fund with East Bay Community Foundation. Contributions can be made as a one-time payment or by installment, using check, cash, transfer from a personal DAF, or stock. WomenGO is actively seeking members to join this fund.
Past Grant Partners include:
Loving and Learning Center, Gilroy
Applications for support are by invitation only. Grant applications are considered by the circle in the Fall of each year with grants made in December. Our typical grant is around $20,000. We do not commit to multi-year funding but we frequently fund the same organization over several years.
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