As the Aurora Women’s Empowerment Foundation (AWEF), our goal is to support the exceptional work of other tax-exempt nonprofit organizations with established, successful programs serving our region, and assist with development of new programs and services that further our mission throughout the Aurora area. Our endowment will serve as a funding source for grants to support development, scaling, and growth of qualifying programs. In 2021 and 2022 we aspire to award at least $250,000 in grant funding each year. Currently our grant cycle application period is open all year and announcements will be made as grants are awarded.


Preference is given to grant applicant organizations located in the Aurora Women’s Empowerment Foundation service area noted below. Grant applicants outside the service area may also be considered if the project can demonstrate significant impact within the Aurora Women’s Empowerment Foundation’s service area.

Proposed programs and projects should address a documented need and be innovative, collaborative, and potentially self-sustaining, although AWEF is open to funding multiple-year grant requests. They should be purposefully designed to effect positive change through close alignment with the missions of the grant seeking organization and AWEF. Those requests that closely adhere to these grant-making goals and to the grant guidelines and application procedures are most likely to be considered for funding. Please invest the time to review the AWEF Application Guidelines for Grant Proposals.

Letter of Intent

AWEF recommends that before a nonprofit submits an online application, they provide a one-two page Letter of Intent (LOI) for our board to review. The LOI can be emailed to info@awe-foundation.org or directly to AWEF’s consultant, Cheryl O’Donoghue at Cheryl@EiLeadershipResources.com. Elements to consider in your LOI:

  • Your nonprofit’s name and logo at the top
  • The grant amount you are seeking and the name of your project (program/service) for which you are seeking funds
  • A sentence or two describing how your project fits AWEF’s female-focused mission and vision
  • A brief history of your nonprofit and its programs, including your target population and geographical area
  • Two or three sentences describing the problem you hope to solve with your project and how you will use the grant funding to solve this problem (describe what you will do—include major activities along with the names and titles of key project staff)
  • If you are requesting funding from other sources, mention that
  • If you are interested in seeking a multi-year grant to bring the project out into the community beyond the first year, mention that as well
  • If desired, you can also email AWEF materials, videos and links which are helpful to present your information

Service Area

AWEF gives preference to applicants located within Kane, DuPage and Kendall Counties — more specifically, the geography bounded on the north by Illinois State Route 38 and on the south by U.S. Route 34; on the east by Illinois State Route 59 and on the west by Illinois State Route 47.

This geographic area is referred to as the “Aurora Area” in AWEF literature and applications.