Grant Applicant Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What can and cannot be supported by Women's Board Grants?

The Women's Board takes pride in supporting grants from all divisions, schools, offices, and units within the University community. The primary requirement of all proposals is that they must reflect and bolster the core values of the University of Chicago.

The Women's Board can only consider funding requests from University of Chicago entities (e.g., University departments, centers, schools, students or student organizations, faculty members, divisions, offices, etc.). Outside not-for profit organizations or other entities may collaborate with a University entity on the grants that we fund, but the funding must go directly to the University entity and may not be used for any purposes other than those that reflect and bolster the core values of the University of Chicago. 

The Women's Board establishes annually a set of guidelines for selecting proposals in four key areas: faculty research and support, the arts and cultural institutions, the quality of student life, and community outreach. All four areas are important to our mission, and we strive each year to adhere closely to the percentages established by our governing committee.

Please note that salaries of University faculty (tenure-track or non-tenure-track) cannot be covered by Women's Board funding; however, personnel costs for independent contractors, student workers, postdoctoral workers, and other paid staff as necessary for the project may be requested.


Q: How much funding is allocated per grant?

The Women's Board considers grants ranging from as low as $2,000 to as high as $100,000. Most grants tend to fall within the $25,000 - $60,000 range.

Partial funding is also possible if the proposal can move forward without receiving full funding. This question is included in the application form.


Q: Who can sign my letter of endorsement?

Unlike in the past few years, the Women's Board no longer requires applicants to adhere to a controlled list of approved signers for the letter of endorsement. Though a letter signed by your unit's leader (e.g., the division's dean, the office's vice president, the institute's director, etc.) is still welcome, a letter from a department chair or senior-level administrator will suffice. When in doubt, please contact us for guidance.

In addition, different units may have their own internal vetting process and deadlines for Women's Board grant applications, so please check with your unit's grant office or dean's office before proceeding.


Each proposal we receive must be accompanied by one letter of endorsement in order to qualify for review; letters may be addressed to the Grants Committee. If your proposal involves multiple units, you need only submit one letter (either from just one person or from multiple people in a joint capacity); also, in this case, you may submit two or three letters, if you prefer, which will be included in your primary proposal materials.

In lieu of a letter from a dean or department chair, some units may choose to include a letter from a senior executive leader of the University, such as the President, Secretary, or Executive Vice President of the University of Chicago. You are welcome to do so if you feel it is appropriate for your proposal.

In addition, as a result of feedback from our committee, we ask that all letters be personalized for each grant proposal submitted, in the event that a school's dean acts as the exclusive signatory for proposals from their unit.


Q: What if I have additional questions or need further guidance with my prospective grant application?

Please contact Stella McKearn at smckearn@uchicago.edu or (773) 702-7645 for a consultation or with specific questions.