Advancing justice for women and girls and promoting their spiritual growth

Equity and Justice Grants Program

Grants are made to Unitarian Universalist organizations or UU groups, or to groups or organizations with a significant number of UUs involved in the hands-on work of the project. The program welcomes inquiries addressing a wide range of issues consistent with UU principles and which emphasize the achievement of social justice for women in areas such as: women’s health; abortion/reproductive rights; age discrimination; war; human rights; poverty; unemployment; LGBTQ concerns; domestic violence; child abuse; and job discrimination.

Funding Priorities/Criteria

Priority is given to innovative projects that affect positive social change and address the issue of gender equity.

Request for matching grants are viewed favorably.

Funding is issued only to 501(c)3 organizations: if your organization or group does not have this status, the board of a 501(c)3 organization must agree to act as your fiscal agent.


Grants are generally not given for equipment or supplies. As a goal of this program is stimulating new social justice initiatives, grants are not made for projects that are already a part of the on-going work of an organization. Grant recipients are expected to make progress reports as requested and complete their projects within two years of receiving the grant funds. If a project is abandoned before completion grant funds must be returned to UUWF.

Grant size and type of funding

Awards range from $2-5K

Funding cycle and deadlines:

There are 4 deadlines each year, applications are reviewed on a quarterly basis. Deadlines are Feb 1, May 1, August 1, and November 1

How to apply

If your project or program aligns with this grant programs, please send a 2-page Letter of Inquiry including:

Executive summary (including which program you are applying for)

  • Statement of Need – Why does this project need to happen now?
  • Project Activity – What specifically will the grant be funding?
  • Intended Outcomes – What do you hope the activity will lead to?
  • Credentials/Background – Who (or what organization) is involved & what is their connection to the project or topic?
  • Budget Outline – how much are you requesting from UUWF, and the percentage of other funding sources (potential or confirmed)

Send to with subject line “Letter of Inquiry for Grants Program – Organization/Name” or mail to UUWF, 3322 N. 92nd Street, Milwaukee, WI 53222.

2013 Grant Recipient:

“Women’s Intellectual Service Economy (WISE)”
A grant of $5,000 went this year to Buhata Pinay, Inc. (Do It, Filipina!), a non-profit organization founded by the UU Church of the Philippines, with its start-up costs partially funded by a 2007 Equity and Justice Grant. The 2013 grant to Buhata Pinay will be used to provide small grants that support women’s livelihood projects, aimed at increasing their contributions to their families’ income.

2012 Commissioned Project: “Amigas de Amado”


Steering Committee for the UU Congregation of Green Valley’s project: left to right: Sandra Mills, Ann Penton, Nancy Spear, Cathryn Kildahl, Diane Farone, Barbara Lemmon; front, Loretta Carmickle. Missing from this photo is Ann Rangos.

UU Congregation of Green Valley, AZ

The twin goals of the Green Valley congregation’s project are to provide needed support for marginalized Hispanic women and girls in the congregation’s new home community of Amado, AZ, and to establish a bridge between the congregation and the Hispanic community.

“Amigas de Amado” will be carried out primarily by women members of the congregation. Working in partnership with existing local agencies — a youth alliance, an adult education programs, and a local elementary school — to increase the capacity of these organizations for serving women and girls and in the process identifying some of the underlying systemic issues involved in marginalizing this vulnerable population.

Other Recent Grant Recipients

The Church of the Larger Fellowship, Unitarian Universalist — $2,500 toward start-up costs for a ministry to incarcerated women in several U.S. prisons, providing them with an alternative to the fundamentalist Christian ministries more commonly available to them.

The Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Fort Myers, FL — $3,000 for free workshops addressing reproductive and family health, domestic violence, human trafficking, prenatal care, self care, and community resources serving farm worker and indigenous women and adolescent girls in southwest Florida.

Mujeres Iniciando en las Americas — $5,500 toward radio spots in Spanish and Qui’che providing information about sexual harassment and domestic violence, as well as informing listeners where those affected can obtain help.

History of the Equity and Justice Grants Program

“Now imagine yourself, supporting these efforts to effect tangible, positive change in the lives of women and girls. Becoming a partner in this work is indeed a choice that matters. As was the choice that the UU Women’s Federation made in 2004, when we re-visioned our organization and imagined using our resources to advance justice for women . . . We are so proud of our accomplishments on this road!”

— Nancy Van Dyke, UUWF President, 2007

The Equity and Justice Grants Program was born in the early 2000s when, seeking ways to remain relevant to UU women in the 21st century, the UUWF board appointed a Restructuring Task Force. It was charged with studying the UUWF’s structure and imagining a re-organization that would more effectively strengthen the Federation’s bond with women in local UU congregations.

To support this work the Task Force successfully applied for a grant from the Fund for Unitarian Universalism, which awarded the UUWF $15,000 to conduct a comprehensive survey of UU women to determine their chief interests and concerns.

Social justice issues as they effect women emerged as a leading passion among UU women, with their greatest areas of concern women’s health; abortion/reproductive rights; age discrimination; war; human rights; poverty and unemployment; gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender concerns; violence against women; and child abuse.

The recommendations of the Restructuring Task Force were incorporated into a new set of bylaws, which were adopted unanimously at a Special Membership Meeting held during the 2004 General Assembly of the Unitarian Universalist Association in Long Beach, CA. These included formation of a grants program that would fund UU social justice projects that directly and positively effect the lives of women and girls.

A $4,000 pilot grant illustrating the intent of the new program was awarded in 2005 to Spiritual Youth for Reproductive Freedom, a program of the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice (of which UUWF was a founding members). In 2006 the first Equity and Justice Grants were awarded, and since then approximately 20 additional grants have been made.