The new Ojai Women’s Fund opened its online grant application process on March 29. It will remain open until 5:00 p.m. on May 13. All non-profit organizations serving the Ojai Valley – from Casitas Springs to the Upper Ojai – are encouraged to check out the website, and to apply if they fit the selection criteria. “It is very exciting!” said OWF co-chair Karen Evenden. “We want to spread the word as widely as possible about this new opportunity.”
The OWF Steering Committee, composed of women volunteers from around the Ojai Valley, identified five funding priorities: education, arts, health, environment and social services. “These are not rigid categories,” said Evenden. “We expect that some projects will involve multiple priorities at once. We definitely invite this, and we are also enthusiastic about collaboration among non-profits.”
The OWF Grants Committee is responsible for careful review of grant proposals that are submitted. For the past few months, Grants Committee members have been educating themselves about various community issues, designing the online application, creating the evaluation process and establishing procedures for ensuring confidentiality and fairness. “We have benefited a great deal from the experience and materials developed by the Women’s Fund of Santa Barbara,” said committee member Margo Haas. “Our process is different from theirs in some key respects, so we have had to develop our own materials, but we were certainly helped by all that they so generously shared.”
The grant application is paperless. “This is the environmentally sound way to do it,” said another Grants Committee member, Mary Ann O’Connor. “We are, however, prepared to make exceptions if there’s an organization that cannot complete the application online.” O’Connor also emphasized that applicants are free to contact the OWF for assistance with the process. “It’s our first year,” she noted. “We have done our best to create a smooth application process, but there may be changes in future years. So far, so good.”
The most important thing now is to spread the word about this new grant opportunity. Let your friends, family members, and colleagues know about the new Ojai Women’s Fund and its open grant application period. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.