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Overview & History

Researchers from UT Knoxville and ETSU spent more than a year identifying barriers to self-sufficiency for women and girls in East Tennessee. The research results identified the following areas of need: education and work-related skills, life skills, domestic violence, physical or mental illness, and transportation. 


It became clear that issues preventing many low-income women from achieving self-sufficiency are complex and interwoven. Ultimately, the Women's Fund sought exemplary programs to fund life skills, education, and work-related skills.


An application process was initiated that included site visits and an in-depth analysis of the program and its accomplishments in serving women to date. Key donors and leaders of the Women's Fund provided input on those programs most closely aligned with the criteria for that first year's grants. The Women’s Fund of East Tennessee provides grants on an annual basis, and it is anticipated that the next round of opportunities will be initiated in the fall of 2015 for awards in the spring of 2016.


For those of you interested in our grantmaking process, click here for more information.

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