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WFGV launches grant writing program for women of color

WFGV launches grant writing program for women of color

The Women’s Foundation of Genesee Valley (WFGV) is launching its first equity focused Immersive Grant Writing Program, designed for organizations led by women of color.

The grant writing program is being presented in collaboration with Grants4Good LLC. Funding is being provided by ESL Federal Credit Union.

The program — which is free for those who are accepted — is geared toward women who are non-profit leaders of color in Monroe County.

Krystle Ellis, interim executive director of WFGV and founder of Ellis K Consulting, said research shows that organizations led by people of color historically go underfunded because of grant application denials.

And while leaders of these organizations are more than capable of leading successful fundraising campaigns, many do not have the same resources and opportunities as their counterparts.


“A lot of these women are not at the table,” Ellis said. “Our top priority is to remove all the barriers.”

The mission of the Women’s Foundation is to empower and inspire women and girls to achieve economic self-sufficiency through grant awards and education.

Since 1994, the organization has awarded over $2 million to programs that have helped thousands of women increase their ability to support themselves and their children.

The grant writing initiative is part of an effort at WFGV that focuses on listening to the needs of the local community and acting to help meet those needs, Ellis said.

Applications for the grant writing program will be accepted from April 30 through May 26.

The program begins on July 13. There will be 10 sessions over a six-month period, with a mix of virtual and in-person sessions.

Participants can bring one other person from the organization with them, for a total of 20 people from 10 organizations participating.


Margit Brazda Poirier, founder/owner of Mendon-based Grants4Good, said participants will not only complete the course with an understanding of the grant writing process, but they will also have a grant proposal written and ready to submit to foundations for funding.

Participants will also receive a gift of $1,000 for their first fundraising activity.

The grant writing program will focus on the history of Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) women in philanthropy, grant seeking do’s and don’ts and mentorship support.

The program’s learning objectives include how to find the best grant opportunities, how to approach funders before you apply, common elements of grant applications and how to prove your need for grant funding.

The mentoring component includes sessions on learning how to find one’s fundraising tribe, how to prepare for microaggressions and inequities, as well as local issues, including redlining in Rochester and social capital challenges.

Sydney Bell, WFGV Board of Directors vice chair and manager of diversity, equity and inclusion at ESL, said the Immersive Grant Writing Program focuses on financial support and has an educational component.

“We believe it is our responsibility to recognize where we can share resources with women of color leading non-profits and equip these leaders with the tools that will contribute to more equitable outcomes in the grant funding space,” she said.

Bell added that the organization worked quickly to address a community need.


“What started as honest conversations about inequities around fundraising became so much more,” she said.

In conjunction with the new grant writing initiative, the organization will host a virtual program at 4 p.m. on April 27 focused on redlining in philanthropy with Myra Henry, president and CEO of the Rochester & Monroe County YWCA and Susan Taylor Batten, president and CEO of the Association of Black Foundation Executives.

Go to for more information on the program.

[email protected] / (585) 653-4021