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ACTIVATING LEADERSHIP Learn how we support leadership programs for women and girls, women-owned businesses and local communities.


Eileen strongly believes each of us has the ability to lead—in our personal lives, the workplace and our communities. There are many ways to lead, many styles of leadership and many kinds of effective leaders. Bold or introspective, outgoing or imaginative, we each have the potential to make a difference.
Past Grantees
"I believe that self-exploration holds the key to unlock great possibilities, both for individual growth and connection with others. In my own life, I've found that the more I engage in this work, the more strength I have to voice what matters most to me and to create a positive impact. I want more women and girls to have access to new ways of learning about themselves—what lights them up and what enlivens all of us."
—Eileen Fisher
By activating the natural leadership qualities within themselves, women and girls are able to find their voices, build inner strength and develop the confidence to pursue what really matters.

In support of nonprofit organizations championing the activation of leadership qualities in women and girls, which has been the overall program theme since 2010, EILEEN FISHER offers grants of $5,000 and more around a specific focus each year within the broader theme.

We are particularly interested in programs that:

  • bring about self-discovery and personal transformation
  • help women and/or girls find their inner strength and trust their intuition
  • address any phase of a woman's and/or girl's life

Grant Focus
Over the last seven years, a specific focus has been chosen each year within the theme of Activating Leadership:

  • 2010, 2014 and 2015: Achieving Personal Transformation
  • 2011 and 2016: Applying Leadership Attributes
  • 2012 and 2013: Leading for Impact

In 2017, our grant program will review applications from nonprofit organizations along the following focus: Leading for Impact.

What We Look For
The Activating Leadership Grant is open to all 501(c)(3) nonprofits with a program that they feel fits the grant’s overall theme and annual focus, regardless of development stage of program or organization. Organizations that have previously been funded through an EILEEN FISHER grant are eligible to reapply each year to receive continued or new funding provided they meet all eligibility criteria. Funding may be used for general support.

Strong applications for the grant are able to demonstrate that the applying organization and/or program:

  • has an innovative, holistic, effective and direct approach to activating leadership among women and/or girls
  • forms partnerships with other community organizations for deeper impact
  • demonstrates the long-term viability of the organization
  • shows a clear need and plan for the funds
  • demonstrates a long-term commitment to their work
  • aligns with the EILEEN FISHER company mission and leadership practices

Programs not eligible for the grant include:

  • Date-specific events (please see our Community Partnerships Grant)
  • Promotion of a specific political party or religious view
  • International organizations that are not registered as a 501(c)(3) and/or do not have a 501(c)(3) fiscal sponsor

Selection Process
The annual selection process is led by the Social Consciousness Team and an internal employee committee. Exact dates are tentative and may vary depending on circumstances of each year.

  • Early summer: Application opens.
  • Summer: Eligible applications are reviewed by a committee of EILEEN FISHER employees.
  • Fall: Finalists are selected and all applicants are notified of their status. Finalists are asked to fill out the second stage of the application as well as to participate in a one-hour interview. All interviews will be conducted by phone.
  • Late fall/early winter: Grant recipients are selected and all finalists are notified of their status.

How To Apply
A link to the application will be available on this page during the open application period. Applications are only accepted online. No mailed or emailed applications or proposals will be reviewed. Applications must be received by the deadline in order to be considered for the grant. No extensions will be granted.

The 2017 application process will open on June 1, 2017.
All applications must be received no later than noon EDT, June 30, 2017.

The deadline has been extended to 11am EDT, July 6, 2017.

Before applying, please review our guidelines, evaluation criteria and theme to ensure your organization and/or program is a good fit. Only candidates that meet the specifications should apply. Due to the volume of applications, we regret that we are unable to respond to individual phone calls or emails. It is up to the applying organization to self-assess its eligibility and determine if it should apply.

The Activating Leadership Grant cycle is now closed. For more information on our 2018 grant focus, please check back in early spring 2018.