Applications are now open for a grant round totalling $2,000,000 closing 12 February 2021

The Women’s Economic Security Project Grant Round supports charities and social enterprises building financial wellbeing through innovative employment opportunities and tailored financial capability support for women across Australia.

Grant overview and background  

COVID-19 has exacerbated issues of economic inequality for many women – including barriers to employment participation, the burden of unpaid and lowly paid work, high levels of financial insecurity and inadequate superannuation.

The economic recovery period in Australia will be challenging for groups including young women entering the job market, older women seeking work, Indigenous women, refugee and migrant women.

The Ecstra grants will support charities and social enterprises who provide meaningful employment opportunities for women as part of their response to these challenges.

This will include models, programs or initiatives such as micro enterprises, small business creation, paid peer educator programs and employment skill development that contribute to improved financial wellbeing (Initiatives).

Targeted alternatives to mainstream employment can result in better employment outcomes for people experiencing significant disadvantage or barriers to accessing the job market.

Initiatives will integrate tailored financial capability and personalised support into their delivery, to help women build their financial confidence, reach their money and career goals and build a more financially secure future.

The aim of the grants are to:  

  • offer philanthropic support to charities and social enterprises creating meaningful employment opportunities for women who face barriers accessing mainstream paid work
  • support organisations to integrate financial capability and personalised support into the delivery of these Initiatives.

The intended grant outcomes are: 

  • more opportunities for women to access meaningful and secure paid work through an employer, cooperative or their own enterprise – helping them achieve their career and financial goals
  • more women are supported to build their financial capability, confidence and decision making through access to timely, relevant and tailored resources/support
  • to enable charities and social enterprises to scale and share sustainable Initiatives
  • contribute to the evidence base of ‘what works’ in building women’s economic security and financial wellbeing in Australia.

Funding available 

  • $2 million in total funding is available in this grant round.
  • As a guide, funding proposals should be between $50,000 – $300,000 depending on the scale of the Initiative and the relative size of the applicant.
  • One application per organisation may be submitted in this grant round.

Eligibility criteria 

To be eligible, your organisation must:

  1. be an Australian registered charity or established social enterprise
  2. have reported a total annual income between $200,000 and $5 million in FY 2019 or FY 2020 audited financial reports (acknowledging that 2020 FY income may vary due to COVID-19 related operating conditions)
  3. have demonstrable experience and expertise in working with women to address gender based economic inequality
  4. be seeking funding support for an Initiative that helps build the economic security of women in Australia through creating employment opportunities
  5. include in the Initiative financial capability and personalised support components that aim to build financial knowledge, confidence and support decision making (see below for examples)
  6. include in its application, the estimated number of women the Initiative aims to help secure paid employment (including supporting evidence)
  7. have an impact measurement framework or system in place for the Initiative including methodologies and outcomes to date.

Initiatives include models, programs or initiatives that create or support micro enterprises, small business creation, paid peer educator opportunities and employment skill development or similar.

Financial capability and personalised support includes programs/resources/information relating to money management, assistance navigating the financial system including accessing suitable financial/insurance products, budgeting, retirement planning, business planning or similar.

Please note that general financial education, life skills programs, mentoring, unpaid work experience or similar must demonstrate a clear connection with an employment opportunity to be eligible.

Funding assessment criteria

All funding proposals to Ecstra are assessed for quality, significance, innovation, feasibility, organisation capacity, and demonstrated community need (according to the size and scope of the proposal).

In assessing applications in this grant round, Ecstra will also consider:

  • supporting specific urban, regional and remote communities as well as a range of local, state and nationally targeted Initiatives
  • reach, engagement and established connections with the identified target audience
  • inclusive design and project delivery approach, including consideration of intersectionality in addressing gender based economic inequality
  • the organisation’s financial stability and sustainability
  • existing or potential philanthropic or community partnerships or service delivery arrangements (e.g. pay per use model, Government service contract provider).

A Women’s Economic Security Project (Women’s Project) reference group will assist Ecstra with the review and assessment of shortlisted applications, with final funding decisions made by the Ecstra Board.   

Please refer to Ecstra’s Funding Principles and Grant Guidelines for additional eligibility criteria.

How to apply

  • Only eligible organisations will be considered (see above for specific eligibility criteria).
  • Read Ecstra’s Funding Principles and Grant Guidelines which include additional eligibility and assessment criteria.
  • Applications must be submitted through Ecstra’s grant management system via this link, on or before midnight AEST on Friday 12 February 2021.

Please contact us at if you have any questions, need assistance with submitting your application online or wish to apply through another format.

You can also read the Frequently Asked Questions for more information.

Key dates

  • Grant applications must be received by midnight AEST, Friday 12 February 2021.
  • It is anticipated that grants will be announced in March 2021 (subject to grant agreements being executed).

For more information please visit the Ecstra website here.