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Community Action Grants

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    Community Action Grants

    Funding: $3,000-$10,000
    Opens: August 1 every year
    Deadline: December 1 every year

    Community Action Grants provide funding to individuals, AAUW branches and AAUW state organizations as well as community-based nonprofits for innovative programs that promote education and equity for women and girls. Since 1972, AAUW has provided support to hundreds of communities across the United States.

    Awards Amount



    August 1, 2022
    Application opens.

    December 1, 2022 by 11:59 p.m. Pacific Standard Time
    Deadline for online submission of application and supporting documents.

    April 15, 2023
    Notification of decisions emailed to applicants. AAUW is not able to honor requests for earlier notification.

    July 1, 2023–June 30, 2024
    Grant year

    When a date falls on a weekend or holiday, the date will be observed on the following business day.


    • Applicants must be individuals, AAUW branches, AAUW state organizations or local community-based nonprofit organizations (including universities).
    • The proposed activity must promote education and equity for women and girls.
    • Nonprofit organizations and universities must be based in the United States or its territories.
    • Organizations (including universities) must have 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status. AAUW branch and state applicants must have 501(c)(3) or 501(c)(4) tax-exempt status.
    • Proposals from AAUW branches or states must be approved and signed by the branch or state president.
    • Proposals from local community-based nonprofit organizations must be approved and signed by the organization’s executive director.
    • Previous Community Action Grant awardees must wait three application cycles before applying for another grant and may not apply for duplicate funding.
    • Members of the AAUW Board of Directors, committees, panels, task forces and staff, including current interns, are not eligible to apply for AAUW’s fellowships and grants. A person holding a current award is eligible for election or appointment to boards, committees, panels, and task forces.

    Criteria for Selection and Application Review

    The panel meets once a year to review applications for funding. Awards are based on the criteria outlined here. The panel’s recommendations are subject to final approval by AAUW. Grants are awarded on a competitive basis according to funds available in a given fiscal year.

    To ensure a fair review process, AAUW does not comment on the deliberations of the awards panels. AAUW does not provide written or oral evaluations of applicants. No provisions exist for reconsideration of grant proposals. Applications and supporting documents become the sole property of AAUW and will not be returned or held for another year.

    The following criteria apply to the selection of Community Action Grants:

    • Relevance of the proposed project to the mission of AAUW and direct, positive impact on education and equity for women and girls.
    • Strength of the project rationale — the project meets a demonstrable, documented local need
    • Clarity and creativity of the project design — the project has (1) clear and specific outcomes and (2) is original and/or innovative in its approach to achieving those outcomes.
    • Sustainability/impact of the project — the project (1) reaches underserved audiences, (2) builds connections with diverse individuals and organizations, (3) has potential for AAUW branch or state involvement/visibility, (4) has potential for long-term impact, and (5) has potential for long-term sustainability beyond the grant period.
    • Feasibility of the project — (1) proposed activities will logically lead to desired outcomes/achievement of goals, (2) the project time frame is realistic, (3) the budget is adequate and expenses are justified in the budget narrative, (4) there is adequate support from collaborative organizations and community partners, (5) the project director is qualified to direct the project, and if an AAUW branch, AAUW state, or nonprofit applicant, the organization has the capacity to carry out the project.
    • Strength of the evaluation plan — (1) specific evaluation methods are proposed to measure short-term, medium-term, and long-term results, (2) proposed evaluation methods are logical measures of projected outcomes, and (3) resources are adequate to support the proposed methods
    • Strength of the dissemination plan — (1) specific dissemination methods are identified, (2) a realistic plan is provided to implement the dissemination, and (3) resources are adequate to support proposed dissemination.
    • Overall quality of the proposal — the proposal is clear and convincing.
    • Potential for and/or commitment of additional funds and involvement from community organizations and/or businesses.


    Funds are available for, but not limited to, project-related expense categories, including:

    • Postage, mailing, shipping.
    • Photocopying, duplicating.
    • Office supplies.
    • Audiovisual materials.
    • Project-related telephone costs.
    • Professional fees or honoraria for speakers or special consultants.
    • Equipment purchases.
    • Meals, food, beverages, or lodging for camps or related activities.
    • Temporary, hourly clerical help.
    • Lease of facilities (does not include permanent office space).
    • Advertising, publicity, graphic design.
    • Transportation (should be no more than one-third of grant request; $0.545 per mile for auto expenses).

    Funds are not available for the following:

    • Salaries or stipends for project directors or permanent positions.
    • Tuition.
    • Higher education scholarships for students and participants.
    • Building funds, construction, or renovations.
    • Travel expenses for activities not within the scope of the project.
    • Overhead or general operating expenses for any organization or nonprofit organization.
    • Personal expenses, shelter, or life, medical and health insurance.
    • Previous expenditures, deficits or loans.
    • Creating or providing grants to other organizations.
    • Copyright or attorney fees.
    • Fundraising activities.

    AAUW regards the acceptance of a grant as a contract requiring fulfillment of the following terms:

    • All grant recipients must sign a contract accepting the award. Retain these instructions, as they will become part of the grant contract if the applicant is awarded a grant.
    • Grant awards are distributed in two equal payments, the first at the beginning of the grant period and the second at the midpoint.
    • The Community Action Grant project director must be in an active leadership role, controlling programmatic, fiscal, and editorial responsibility for the project.
    • The project director cannot be paid with Community Action Grant funds for work on the project and the project director’s employer cannot be reimbursed.
    • Projects may be awarded only once. Former Community Action Grantees may propose new activities for future grants after waiting three application cycles but cannot reapply for the same project for which they received funding in the past.
    • If eligible, an applicant may apply to more than one AAUW grant or fellowship program simultaneously. If awarded in more than one program, the applicant may accept only one award.
    • Grant projects may not seek to influence new or pending legislation or favor a particular political candidate or party.
    • Grant projects must be nonsectarian and may not seek to promote a particular religion or denomination.
    • The determination of whether there is a tax obligation associated with the receipt of an AAUW award is the sole responsibility of the applicant. Specific questions regarding income tax matters should be addressed with the U.S. Internal Revenue Service, the applicant’s financial aid office or a personal tax adviser. AAUW cannot provide tax advice. AAUW is a nonprofit, tax- exempt 501(c)(3) public charity founded for educational purposes. Thus all proposed Community Action Grant activities must correspond to that mission.

    Required Components

    Start by clicking on the Apply Now button below to access the application and create an account through our vendor site. Complete all required components in the following areas.

    • Start
    • Background
      • Narrative:
        • Qualifications of the Project Director and Staff: Identify the person responsible for the project and other relevant leadership staff. Briefly outline the experience, education, and skills that qualify them to direct the project. In addition, list other staff and individuals who will work on the project. Describe their roles and qualifications. (300-word limit)
        • Organizational Capacity: Briefly describe the branch, organization or individual’s capacity to carry out the project. What other projects have they planned and implemented that have prepared them to carry out this project? For AAUW branch or state projects, how will the project promote AAUW branch/state growth? (300-word limit)
    • Proposal
      • Narrative:
        • Abstract: Briefly describe the proposed project. Identify the target audience, goal of the project, anticipated outcomes, and relevance of the project to AAUW’s mission. (150-word limit).
        • Rationale (Need Statement): Provide evidence of need for the project. Describe the community served by the project, the problem being addressed, and the reason for initiating the project. Emphasis should be on community needs, not a general research base for need. (300-word limit)
        • Description (Anticipated Outcomes): Identify the goal and anticipated outcomes of the project. The outcomes should be SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely. Describe the methods you plan to use to achieve these outcomes. Explain how the proposed project will meet the needs of the target audience in an original and/or innovative way. (300-word limit)
        • Implementation Plan: Outline the project timeline and list planned activities and/or events according to the timeline. Explain how the implementation plan will lead to desired outcomes. Explain how you plan to recruit participants (if applicable) and share information about the project with your community. (300-word limit)
        • Community Partners: List the names of all organizations that you plant to collaborate with on this project. For each organization, explain why it is an appropriate partner for the project and its role and level of involvement in the project (Organizational Commitment Form and Organizational Summary from partners must be sent as supporting documents for projects with community partners). (300-word limit)
        • Evaluation Plan: Explain how you plan to evaluate the effectiveness of the project. Outline the specific strategies you have used and plan to use to determine if you have achieved the anticipated outcomes outlined in your proposal. Explain why the evaluation method you plan to use is appropriate for the project. (300-word limit)
        • Dissemination Plan: Describe how you plan to disseminate information about the results and impact of the project. Provide a detailed plan for how and when the dissemination will occur. (300-word limit)
        • Long-Term Impact/Outreach: Describe the anticipated long-term impact of the project. Explain how the project will reach underserved audiences and build connections with diverse individuals and organizations. Explain why the project has potential for sustainability after the grant period ends. (300-word limit)
      • Budget
        • Project Budget: An itemized budget for the project must be included. Project budgets should reflect the costs that will be incurred during the grant period.
        • Budget Narratives:
          • Describe the relationship of your expenses to the desired outcome of the project. (150-word limit)
          • Provide details about the sources of your in-kind support and cash funds. (150-word limit)
          • What mechanisms do you have in place to monitor your budget and to ensure your funds are tracked and utilized properly? (150-word limit)
          • If you have a budget shortfall, how will you address the shortfall? (150-word limit)
    • Documents & Review
      • Applicants applying as nonprofit organizations (including academic institutions):
        • Proof of 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status (i.e., IRS determination letter)
        • Organizational Summary Form (available in the application)
      • Applicants applying as AAUW branches or state organizations:
        • Proof of 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status or 501 (c)(4) status (i.e., IRS determination letter)
        • Organizational Summary Form (available in the application)
      • Applicants working with organizations that will act as collaborative partners on the project:
        • Proof of 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status (i.e., IRS determination letter) for each collaborative partner
        • Organizational Summary Form (available in the application) for each collaborative partner

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