Grants available to women are generally divided into two categories: public or private. Public grants are government backed and funded. For this reason, these grants are usually open to a broad spectrum of projects and applicants, often with relatively large awards. Conversely, private grant funding is offered by an individual or committee with a specific interest in the project at hand. This makes them more narrow in scope and typically for smaller amounts.
Travel Grants for Women is one example of a grant that is offered jointly by the National Science Foundation and the Association for Women in Mathematics. These grants offer up to $2,000 each for women performing research related activities in the specific area of mathematics. Research is normally related to conference attendance, however, other types of research may qualify as well. The purpose of the grant is to encourage research among female mathematicians by helping to defray any associated travel expenses. Similar programs offered by this Association include Education Research Travel Grants and Mentoring Travel Grants.
Closely related to mathematics, the science field also offers a variety of female specific grant programs. The Association for Women in Science has an annual Scholarship and Fellowship program offering awards and scholarships to high school seniors in the amount of $1,000 each. The NPSC (National Physical Science Consortium Fellowships for Women) offers grants to those more advanced in their education, in the form of graduate fellowships of varying amounts for women (and minorities) in the physical sciences and related fields of engineering.
While the fields of Science and Mathematics offer a wide range of funding for women, those interested in the Humanities have several options available, as well. The Arcus Foundation is a group focused on promoting diversity, social justice and tolerance. It offers varying amounts through The Arcus Fund, the Gay and Lesbian Fund, the Great Apes Fund, and the National Fund. Grants are typically awarded for activities related to social justice or conservation issues. Similarly, the Chicago Foundation for Women also works toward the achievement of social justice, through grant making and advocacy programs. Grant funding is typically awarded to those women seeking assistance with general economic security, freedom from domestic violence or access to health services. Grants range from $5,000 to $50,000.
While most of the programs mentioned thus far have been available to adult women, there are some programs open to girls, as well. For example, the Girls Going Places Entrepreneurship Award is given annually, in varying amounts, to girls between 12 and 18 who have demonstrated leadership, community or school activism, or entrepreneurship. Go Girl Go – Ambassador Team Awards is a program that doles out a total of $50,000 in grants, per year, to female sports teams that demonstrate outstanding community leadership.
Whether public or private, general or field specific, grants of all shapes and sizes are available to women. A bit of research is all that’s necessary to find potential funding, whatever the area of interest may be.