Community Action Grants

Funding: $3,000-$10,000
Opens: August 1 every year
Deadline: November 15 every year

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


August 1, 2023
Application opens.

November 15, 2023 by 11:59 p.m. Pacific Standard Time
Deadline for online submission of application and supporting documents.

April 15, 2024
Notification of decisions emailed to applicants. AAUW is not able to honor requests for earlier notification.

July 1, 2024–June 30, 2025
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 organization and proposed activities must promote education and equity for women and girls. 
  • There are two types of support: 
    • Project support: Open to nonprofit organizations and universities, AAUW branches or state organizations, and individuals. 
    • General operating support: Open to nonprofit organizations. 
  • 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. 

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 entity’s programmatic work or proposed project to the mission of AAUW and direct, positive impact on education and equity for women and girls. 
  • Strength of the entity’s programmatic work or project rationale — the programmatic work or project meets a demonstrable, documented local need 
  • Clarity and creativity of the programmatic work or project design — the programmatic work or 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 programmatic work or project — the programmatic work or 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 programmatic work or project — (1) programmatic work or specific proposed project activities will logically lead to desired outcomes/achievement of goals, (2) the programmatic work or project has realistic time frames, (3) the organizational or project budget is adequate and expenses are justified in the budget narrative, (4) there is adequate support from collaborative organizations and community partners, (5) the executive or project director is qualified to direct the programmatic work or project, and if an AAUW branch, AAUW state, or nonprofit applicant, the organization has the capacity to carry out the programmatic work or 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. 
  • Individual or organization’s leadership are from underrepresented racial/ethnic backgrounds.  

Project Proposals
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. 

General Operating Support
General operating support is a grant in support of a nonprofit organization’s mission, sustainability, and ability to innovate rather than specific projects or programs. Organizations can use general operating support as they see fit, including for: 

  • Budgetary gaps for specific programs or projects 
  • Infrastructure and overhead, such as office, utilities, and insurance 
  • Urgent and emerging issues 
  • Boosting salaries and benefits 
  • Technology investments 
  • Communications  
  • Fundraising
  • Other operations needs

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 executive or project director must be in an active leadership role, controlling programmatic, fiscal, and editorial responsibility for the programmatic work or project. 
  • For project support grants, the executive or project director cannot be paid with Community Action Grant funds for work on the programmatic work or project and the executive or 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 programmatic work or projects may not seek to influence new or pending legislation or favor a particular political candidate or party. 
  • Grant programmatic work or 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. 

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 
  • Proposal 
  • 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  
  • General Operating Support applicants  
    • Most recent 990
    • Current fiscal year’s operating budget  
    • Current fiscal year statement of financial position (i.e., balance sheet)  
    • Current fiscal year statement of activities (i.e., profit-and-loss Statement)  

See More Fellowship and Grant Opportunities


For questions or technical support from ISTS, our technical consultant, please email Enter AAUW-CAG if the website prompts you for a program key. We encourage applicants not to opt out of communications from ISTS, to ensure you receive important communications from AAUW. 

Meet a Recent Community Action Grantee

Marisa Madison is the CEO of 24/7 STEAM Works, Inc., a nonprofit dedicated to empowering and inspiring underrepresented, marginalized youth in research experiences geared toward cultivating an interest in STEM and career development and obtaining undergraduate and graduate degrees. The goal of this fellowship is to engage 6th- through 12th-grade girls in workshops with virtual, interdisciplinary learning experiences including engineering, agriculture, decreasing climate change and food instability, chemistry, astronomy, bacterial culture and microscopy.

Meet Our Alumnae

2016-17 AAUW Community Action Grantee Smart Girls Smart Choices Inc.

Smart Girls Smart Choices Inc.

2016-17 Community Action Grantee and mentoring program for girls ages 11–17. It includes workshops and field trips to spark girls’ interest in math, science and technology, and connects them to high-achieving women.

AAUW 2017-18 Community Action Grantee University of Texas at Austin

The TWINS project at University of Texas at Austin

2017-18 Community Action Grantee and project to build a stronger partnership between the Thinkery (formerly the Austin Children’s Museum) and high school students participating in Women in Natural Sciences (WINS). WINS recruits women into STEM majors, provides on-campus support, and runs community events.

2018-19 AAUW Community Action Grantee Cal-Poly Pomona Foundation

Cal Poly Pomona Foundation Inc.

2018-19 Community Action Grantee, educating high school girls about wearable technology, programming, engineering and project-based learning. The 30-hour curriculum was developed by The Cal Poly Pomona Foundation Inc. – The Femineer™ Program at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, in conjunction with San Diego State University and Ramona High School.