Challenge Grant

The OU’s Women’s Initiative is pleased to announce the Women’s Grant Challenge, a targeted set of grants to support innovative women’s programming concepts proposed by synagogues.

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View 2018 Challenge Grant recipients


Project Description

Through the Challenge Grant, The OU Women’s Initiative seeks to engage synagogues in developing and supporting new creative programming for girls and women.


Goals of the Challenge Grant:

  • To encourage the creation of innovative and creative synagogue-based Orthodox women’s programming
  • To create leadership opportunities for women in Orthodox synagogues and community life
  • To enhance the synagogue experience for girls and women
  • To encourage selected ventures to serve as models for creativity and innovation that can be scaled and replicated in other communities.  
  • To energize and strengthen synagogues invested in women’s programming


Eligibility Guidelines

The OU’s Women’s Initiative will fund up to 10 synagogues to encourage the creation of excellent and innovative women’s programming that foster involvement and engagement of women of all ages in synagogue and/or community life.   



  • Preference will be given to OU Member Synagogues
  • Multiple applications are permitted
  • Grants will be capped at $5,000 per project
  • Synagogues may submit more than one project as part of the Challenge Grant, but no more than one project will be funded for any individual synagogue



Stage 1: Grant applications will be accepted beginning March 1, 2018.

Stage 2: Completed applications must be submitted no later than April 30, 2018.  

Stage 3: The Grant awardees will be announced on May 31, 2018.


Criteria for Selection

  • Creativity of the proposed program
  • Target audience
  • Willingness to share the program concept and results with other synagogues and communities

FAQs about the OU’s The Women’s Initiative: Challenge Grant

How much money is available to my organization?

$5000 will be available for each winning submission that creates innovative and creative programming for Orthodox women.

How many programs will be funded?

A total of 10 programs will be funded at $5000 for each program.

Can my synagogue add funding beyond the $5000 grant money?

Yes.  Your synagogue can propose a program that is funded with synagogue funds beyond the $5000 from the Challenge Grant.

What are the Terms and Conditions of the Challenge Grant?

Completed applications must be submitted no later than April 30, 2018.  The Grant winners will be announced May 31, 2018. Funds are available from June 1, 2018.  

Submission of an eligible application prior to the deadline does not guarantee funding.  All eligible submissions will be subject to a review process by the review committee.  The determination of the committee will be final and binding.


For Synagogues and Projects

What is considered an excellent and innovative project?

For purposes of the Challenge Grant, eligible projects will foster involvement and engagement of Orthodox girls women in Orthodox synagogues and communities and will encourage learning, leadership and spiritual growth or enhanced engagement in synagogue or community life.

How do I know if my project is eligible?

The project must be a new project for the synagogue.

Priority will be given to programs with potential for significant community impact and which, if successful, can serve as models that can be replicated nationwide.

Eligible synagogues agree to participate as an “advisor synagogue” to other synagogues who would like to run the same or similar program and to submit an evaluation form which evaluates the outcomes of the project

We are an organization, not a synagogue.  Is our project eligible for the Challenge Grant? Organizations are welcome to submit proposals.

We are not an OU synagogue.  Is our project eligible for the Challenge Grant?

Preference will be given to synagogues affiliated with the Orthodox Union but other synagogues are welcome to submit proposals.

Can an eligible synagogue or organization receive more than one grant as part of the Challenge Grant program?  Is there a maximum amount of funds that an individual organization or project may receive?

One program from each synagogue will be funded to a maximum of $5000. You can submit more than one proposal.

Will anything be required of the synagogue or organization once they are awarded the matching funds?

Yes.  As a stipulation of receiving funds, synagogues or organizations that receive funding through the Challenge Grant must commit to act as an “advisor synagogue” to other synagogues or institutions that are interested in replicating the program.  The synagogue or organization must submit an evaluation form which evaluates the outcomes of the project, describing its successes and failures.  The synagogue will agree to present the program in publicly disseminated materials and press announcements.

Please describe the evaluation process.

Once the project is completed, the synagogue will submit an evaluation describing the outcomes, successes, and areas for improvement.  This should be viewed as an opportunity to learn from both best practices and mistakes.   

Application and Process

How to Apply:

Should you have any questions or concerns during the application process, please contact:

Adina Shmidman at

Application Requirements:

Complete the form here.

Proposal Format:

Please include the following information in your proposal:

  • Project Title
  • Synagogue Name
  • Synagogue Address
  • Name of Rabbi
  • Size of Synagogue
  • Targeted Population of Program Participants
  • Project Description
    • Explain the goals of the program and its potential impact on the synagogue and women
  • Project Timeline
  • Project Budget
    • Detail the costs associated with the project
  • Evaluation Methodology
    • Describe how the program’s outcomes will be assessed

Challenge Grant Questions

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