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grant eligibility

Grant Eligibility Guidelines 2022-2023

The Spirit of St. Louis Women’s Fund (SOS) strengthens the Greater St. Louis community through informed, focused grant-making by educating and inspiring women to engage in significant giving.

SOS Commitment to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

SOS is committed to equity, diversity, collaboration, inclusiveness, transparency, and accountability because all people deserve to live full and abundant lives free of prejudice, discrimination and oppression.  We will prioritize diversity, equity and inclusion in our philanthropy. 

DIVERSITY means full participation of all individuals regardless of race, ethnicity, gender orientation, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, ability, citizenship status, language, religion, geographic location, and national origin, among other identities.

EQUITY  recognizes that each person has different circumstances and allocates the exact resources and opportunities needed to reach an equitable outcome.

INCLUSION creates a culture and environment for diverse individuals to bring their authentic and full selves.  Inclusion results when underrepresented people are seen as fully belonging in a community.

SOS Focus Areas

Grants are not restricted to issues dealing exclusively with women, but are made to organizations focusing on at least one of the following areas:

  • Arts and Culture
  • Education
  • Environment
  • Health
  • Social Services

Single-Year Eligibility

Single-year grants of $5,000 – $25,000 are awarded to nonprofit organizations in the Greater St. Louis community.   Applicants are encouraged to submit grant applications for general operating support, project/program support and capacity building support.  Capacity building strengthens the development of an organization’s core skills and capabilities, such as leadership, management, finance/fund-raising, programs, and evaluation, in order to build the organization’s effectiveness and sustainability.

Multi-Year Eligibility

In the 2022-2023 granting cycle, SOS will be investing in one, renewable, three year accelerator grant for $33,333
a year, totaling $100,000. The application can be for a specific project or for general operating support.

Organizations that apply for multi-year grants must:

  • Demonstrate a history of successful programming and financial stability
  • Show collaboration with other agencies
  • Exhibit strong leadership in board and organizational management
  • Have a clear multi-year plan that is visionary, meets an urgent community need and significantly enhances the applicant organization’s ability to serve their mission into the future
  • Demonstrate how having consistent funding will allow your agency to think big and take chances
  • Have specific and numerically measurable project goals, objectives/actions and outcomes/impact described for each year
  • Include a three year budget:
    • If applying for a project include a separate project budget for each year
    • If applying for general operating support, submit the organization’s budget for the current year and two subsequent years
    • Have the option to include up to 2 additional supporting documents such as an Annual Report or Strategic Plan

Organizations that have received single-year SOS grants for the past two consecutive years CAN apply for a
multi-year grant. However, organizations applying for a multi-year grant CANNOT apply for an SOS single-year grant in the same grant cycle.

Grant Applicant Requirements

To be considered for SOS grant funding, organizations MUST:

  • Have tax-exempt status under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code issued to an organization located in the Greater St. Louis Community
  • Have an operating budget of less than $1.5 million
  • Be headquartered and provide services within the Greater St. Louis Community which includes the City of St. Louis and/or the following counties: St. Louis, St. Charles, Jefferson and Franklin in Missouri or St. Clair, Madison and Monroe in Illinois (Organizations can provide services outside this specific area but SOS will only fund the services provided to the Greater St. Louis Community)

      Organizations receiving SOS grants for two consecutive years or receiving a multi-year grant must wait one year before applying for additional grant money.

      Letters of Inquiry are evaluated by SOS membership to determine whether the organization’s mission and proposed project fit within SOS eligibility guidelines.  Other factors evaluated include the proposed project’s feasibility, as well as the organization’s ability to plan, implement, evaluate and sustain the project.

      What SOS Does Not Fund

      SOS does not award grants for:

      • Organizations not operating within the Greater St. Louis Community
      • Services delivered outside of the Greater St. Louis Community
      • Chapters of national organizations receiving financial support from their national office
      • For-profit organizations
      • Major building/capital campaigns, although program-specific capital requests may receive grants
      • Conferences or benefits
      • Individuals, for any purpose
      • Scholarships for a named individual, although scholarship funds may receive grants
      • Endowments
      • Projects that promote religious or political doctrine
      • Research (medical or otherwise)
      • Operating deficits/retirement of existing debt

      SOS Has A Four-Phase Grant Application Process

        1.  September: Submit Letter of Inquiry (LOI)
        2.  January: Submit Full Grant Application by invitation only
        3.  February – March: Meet with SOS members during a site visit
        4.  April – May: SOS members vote on selected proposals and grants awarded at the Annual Meeting and Spirit Awards Ceremony

      Next Steps

            • Letters of Inquiry and required documentation can be submitted online on the St. Louis Community Foundation portal at
            • Organizations that are previously registered in the St. Louis Community Foundation system portal may use their existing login credentials.
            • Organizations new to the portal can create a profile using the Create New Account function on the website logon page.
            • The LOI will be accessible on the “Apply” page.

      Go to Letters of Inquiry Instructions at  Letters of Inquiry – Spirit of St. Louis Women’s Fund ( for more information.

      If you have any questions or need help with the Letter of Inquiry process, contact

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