How the WELA Giving Circle works

When you become a member of the WELA Giving Circle, you’ll give $20 per week or $1000 a year. Then each year, we pool our money with 50% of the money we raise granted to women-led environmental and climate action and 50% supporting WELA’s groundbreaking leadership programs.

Once a year we’ll put a call out for grant proposals from organisations working on women’s environmental and climate action. A rotating Granting Committee of Giving Circle members will make a shortlist of projects.

Then this shortlist is voted on by the Giving Circle Members and the projects that receive the most votes will receive the grants.

WELA Giving Circle grant making framework

Focus on impact

We’re backing campaigns that create powerful wins and impactful movements. 


We want to make a difference at the community level and empower women and gender diverse people to lead from the margins. We open doors for women and gender diverse people from diverse backgrounds. Our community considers and addresses injustice.


We want to build relationships and support networks that enable  learning and knowledge sharing across generations, sectors, communities and geographic constraints.

Centering First Nations women

We value and honour the leadership of First Nations women for country, community and culture over millennia. We support work that centres the knowledge and experience of First Nations women in efforts to protect nature and secure our future.

Are you eligible for a WELA Giving Circle grant?

Applicants must be:

  • An Australian registered charity with the ACNC
  • An organisation or project led by women or gender-diverse people , focused on addressing environmental and climate action (see definition below)
  • Applicants do not need to hold DGR status.
  • The WELA Giving Circle will prioritise applications from small to medium sized organisations with an annual income of less than $4 million.
  • For organisations and projects based in Australia 

The use of the term “women’s environmental and climate action” refers to supporting a broad range of work at that nexus. This includes funding women-led actions to protect the environment, supporting the inclusion of diverse women’s voices and participation in environmental initiatives, and addressing the differential impacts of the environment and climate crisis on women due to their gender. 

WELA actively seeks to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, women of colour, gender diverse people and trans women, women from remote , rural and regional areas, working class women, and from other marginalised communities.


What is the legal structure for the WELA Giving Circle?

The WELA Giving Circle is a sub-fund of the Australian Communities Foundation. Australian Communities Foundation Fund is a tax deductible Trust Fund. Funds will be distributed to WELA annually for granting.

Who is on the advisory committee?

This committee helps support the Granting Committee during the shortlisting process. The committee will include key WELA staff, granting experts, and women from diverse backgrounds and communities. 

What are the key dates?

Sign up to the WELA newsletter to be the first to know when the grants are open. 

How much are the grants?

Amounts will be determined on a case-by-case basis but we anticipate they will be between $10,000 and $20,000. Grantees will have a maximum of 12 months to use funds (unless otherwise decided in the application process).

If your application is successful, we ask that you:

  • Notify us before making significant changes to nature or timing of the project
  • Invite us to key project events
  • Allow us to publish information and images of the project being funded
  • Acknowledge the WELA Giving Circle  in all project related publications, social media, websites and events.
  • Once grants are fully expended, you will be required to submit an acquittal report.

How can the funds be used?

Funds can be used for:

  • Operational and core activities including organisational and sector capacity building (for example staffing, evaluating impact, communications, operations, governance, strategy)
  • Program delivery with a focus on innovative solutions
  • Advocacy and campaigns

Funds cannot be used for:

  • Retrospective activities
  • Non-charitable activities
  • Projects or activities that are politically partisan in nature
  • Commercial activities
  • On-ground environmental actions such as tree-planting, or installation of solar on buildings, for example.

What is the granting process?

This granting process is in collaboration with the Australian Communities Foundation. 


Step 1: Commence a new grant round
Responsible: WELA Giving Circle Manager


Step 2: Collation of Applications and high level due diligence
Responsible:  Giving Circle Manager, Grant Making Committee supported by the Giving Circle Advisory Committee


Step 3: Short listing of grant applications
Responsible: Grant Making Committee supported by the Giving Circle Advisory Committee


Step 4: Due diligence on shortlisted projects
Responsible:  Giving Circle Manager, Grant Making Committee supported by the Giving Circle Advisory Committee


Step 5: Endorsement of the shortlisted applicants and coordination of the member vote Responsible: Grant Making Committee supported by the Giving Circle Advisory Committee


Step 6: Endorsement of successful grant application
Responsible: WELA Strategic Director, Giving Circle Manager, Grant Making Committee 


Step 7: Management of administrative granting and acquittal processes
Responsible: Giving Circle Manager 


Step 8: Communication strategy and content generation about projects
Responsible:  Giving Circle Manager and Communications Manager 

Step 9: Review of acquittal reports
Responsible: Giving Circle Manager

How will the grants be shortlisted?

Once the Giving Circle is up and running, we’ll ask members for applications for 6 positions on our Granting Committee. These six positions will be chosen by the WELA Giving Circle Advisory Committee (see below).

This Granting Committee will shortlist the applications we receive down to 4-6 applications, with input from our Advisory Committee who answer questions and share insights but do not vote. 

Any conflicts of interest must be disclosed between a Granting Committee Member and an applicant during both the shortlisting and voting stages. If deemed serious enough by the Committee, the member will be required to remove themselves from discussions and voting concerning the applicant in question.