In November, we had a dream, a goal, and a wish. The Women’s Fund for Scotland was taking the bold and risky move of spending their remaining revenue funds at a grant making showcase. If we did not succeed in raising more funds – these could be the last grants we ever made…
Why take this risk? One aim – inspiring women!*
The grant making showcase was designed to inspire our guests and introduce them to the vital choices and decisions behind grant making. We aimed to create an emotional connection between the Fund and potential donors, provide the Fund with current groups that allow us to tell stories about the difference our funding makes and create a legacy for the Fund (and for our groups) in the form of short films that can now be found on our website.
Our mission is to make small grants to projects across Scotland that support women’s growth, self-sufficiency and social economic equality. The Women’s Fund for Scotland is one of the most experienced and longest established women’s funds in the UK and as a result of our work in Scotland you are never more than 50 miles away from a project supported by the Women’s Fund for Scotland. We support match making, grant making, raise awareness about women’s issues in Scotland, provide services for donors and we are a responsible grant maker.
Did our risk work?
It is with great pleasure that we can announce the Women’s Fund for Scotland is back in the grant making business! Grants have already been awarded in the first months of 2014.
Since that wonderful evening in November we have been delighted, inspired and overwhelmed by the support we have received. Several significant donations have come into the Fund allowing us to make small grants again and we have received pledges that mean we can be very hopeful of making small grants in coming years. The need is huge- we have FAR more requests than we can meet and want to close that gap. We have also had donations into our endowment fund – our ‘future’ fund allowing us to reach for sustainability. A key feature of our grants is encouraging and supporting groups to focus on their own sustainability so they too can have a long term future.
The Women’s Fund for Scotland has now made a total of 19 grants since November with a value of almost £50,000 and with beneficiaries numbering more than 1000 women – that’s 1000 women receiving support as a result of the Women’s Fund that might not otherwise have been reached. Many more than the 1000 women will benefit – their families and communities will benefit too. As UN Women Executive Director Michelle Bachelet has said; “investing in women yields high development results and healthy economies and societies”.[i] Investing in, and inspiring women means everyone benefits.
We’ve made grants in all four investment themes and in different areas across Scotland from the Highlands to South Lanarkshire. We’re supporting women as they work towards improving their mental health, we’re supporting women to move on from exploitation and sexual violence to a new life, we’re enabling women to learn new skills and become integrated into their local communities and we’re helping women in Scotland become fitter, healthier and more confident in their communities– we’re doing all this thanks to our donors, supporters, Ambassadors, YOU.
If reading this as one of our donors please accept our heartfelt thanks. YOU are the hero of our story and every day you inspire us to do more. If you’d like to become one of our donors please get in touch with our Development Manager, Shona, on either 0131 524 0353 or firstname.lastname@example.org because with more donors and their support we can help more of Scotland’s women.
Since November we’ve held an update event to chart our progress –it’s vital we measure the impact of all funding. We have plans for more intimate events that allow us to introduce new people to the Fund – if you’d like to be on the guest list (and with some insider knowledge about these events I’d encourage you to be there!) please get in touch with Shona.
Hillary Rodham Clinton has said that ‘women are the largest untapped reservoir of talent in the world’ – the Women’s Fund for Scotland hopes to inspire the women of Scotland to make sure we use all our talents; living and leading by example that women are stronger together. Our work is about more than just money as we wish to offer mentoring, pro-bono support and tool kits that help our beneficiaries to make the most of their talents. There’s more than one way to get involved, so please do get in touch.
*we’ll leave it up to our dear reader to decide who the ‘women’ of this statement are. Is it our beneficiaries? Do we aim to inspire all women? Or is it a reference to some of our donors?