Own Our Power Fund

Third Wave Fund


Deadline: April 30, 2021



In our more than two decades of gender justice grantmaking, Third Wave Fund has learned from our grantees and community partners that social movements are strongest when communities – rather than donors and foundations – are able to retain ownership over the vision, values, and strategies that guide their organizing and engagement. Young people bring critical analysis to movements for reproductive and gender justice, especially when youth-led organizations have the resources to support their self-determination and leadership. The Own Our Power Fund supports community-led organizations to invest in key areas that define the level of ownership groups have over their leadership, finances, and experiences.

We launched the fund in 2017 to ensure that youth-led reproductive and gender justice organizations are able to grow at their own pace while being led by, funded by, and telling the experiences of their communities. The fund currently makes two-year grants to build communities’ leadership development, financial sustainability, self-representation, and strategic communications capacities.

Since its inaugural grantmaking cycle, the Own Our Power Fund has awarded $700,000 in two-year grants to 17 organizations working across gender justice movements at the intersections of age, race, class, sexuality, disability, and geography. Recent Own Our Power Fund grantees used the funding to support those most impacted by gender oppression to lead the work, develop sustainable revenue models and fundraising strategies, and harness the power of self-representation through community-led research, storytelling, or communications.


We are excited to reopen the Own Our Power Fund for new capacity-building proposals. ​In 2021, we anticipate making 10-12 grants of $25,000 per year for two-year capacity building proposals through an open application process. Organizations with an annual budget of up to $500,000 USD are eligible to apply, with a priority on groups located in regions or focused on issues that are philanthropically under-resourced. The Own Our Power Fund does not make grants for general operating, legislative advocacy, start-up expenses, or capital campaigns.

While this fund welcomes creative approaches to our three focus areas, here are some ideas of work that would be a good fit. Examples of previously funded projects can be found below in our Who Are Former Own Our Power Fund Grantees? section.

  • Leadership: Executive leadership transitions that intentionally shift leadership to a member(s) of the community and support for new leaders to receive coaching, skills-building, or training
  • Financial Sustainability: Exploration of new organizational models and mergers that encourage collaborative sustainability and development of grassroots fundraising capacity
  • Self-Representation: Participatory Action Research and Empowerment Evaluation projects that train and empower community members to develop and conduct their own research within their communities and projects that allow community members to harness the power of storytelling
  • CommunicationsDevelopment of strategic communications strategies that help an organization better align their mission, vision, values, and ongoing work with their leadership and communities

​Own Our Power Fund proposals will also be evaluated on the following criteria: 

  • Youth Leadership: Young women of color and/or trans, gender non-conforming, intersex activists, and/or queer youth under 35 are a core part of planning and decision-making processes. Organizations are led by and are accountable to the communities they serve and work to grow new leadership from within those communities.
  • Gender Justice Focus: Applicants specifically work toward gender justice and recognize that gender justice will only be achieved by also addressing racial, economic, and disability justice. This gender focus shows up in both political analysis and in programs. A more in-depth definition is included in the application questions linked below.
  • Strategies & ActivitiesApplicants provide a clear plan for their capacity-building project(s) and are able to articulate how their proposed activities increase community members’ ownership over their work, organization, and social movements.
  • Potential for Impact & GrowthApplicants’ growth individually and within the gender justice movement will particularly benefit from capacity-building support from Third Wave. Applicants want to expand and deepen their impact and are committed to increasing resilience and sustainability.


Third Wave Fund will be hosting two informational webinars on Zoom for prospective grantseekers. Both webinars will present the same content with time for attendee questions, so it is not necessary to attend both. English captioning and Spanish interpretation will be standard for both webinars; requests for ASL or BASL interpretation and Spanish subtitles should be made through the registration form seven days prior to the webinar you are registering for.