Photo: 2023 Grant Recipient Program: Firefly Electrical Training Program at St. Stephen’s West Hollywood.

Grant for Personal Development

Application Period Will Open on November 8, 2024

Letters of Intent and accompanying Letters of Support are being accepted through February 9, 2024 11:59pm PDT for the Grant for Personal Development Programming for Girls at grants@gfscalifornia.org.

To make a donation to the GFS Outreach Grant for Girls:

Welcome!

The Girls’ Friendly Society in the Diocese of Los Angeles (GFS-LA) invites Episcopal churches in the Diocese of Los Angeles to begin the grant application process by submitting a Letter of Intent (LOI) along with a Letter of Support (LOS) to apply for funding for a program that supports the personal development of girls in the neighboring community.

Background and Evolution of GFS

The GFS-LA program has evolved over the past 115 years to respond to the needs of girls. GFS-LA is part of the national organization which was founded in the textile factory town of Lowell, MA, to provide social support for girls and young women working in the textile mills at the beginning of the Industrial Age. In Los Angeles in 1906, GFS-LA was initially founded at the Neighborhood Settlement. The GFS program at the Neighborhood Settlement (which eventually spawned the Neighborhood Youth Association-NYA) provided a social outlet for local girls in a shifting population in early downtown Los Angeles.

In 1914, Bishop Johnson encouraged churches to embrace GFS, the “great international society” in order to work to assist lonely and, in many instances, homeless wage-earning girls. The outcome of this movement was the establishment of the GFS Lodge at 1422 West Third Street, Los Angeles, to provide “a comfortable, homelike place providing a kindly, friendly, Christian atmosphere” for working women. In keeping with the principles of GFS, the lodge was open to all girls irrespective of church affiliation.

In 1945, after WWII, projects such as the GFS Lodge, YWCA and other similar homes no longer appealed to young women. The Lodge was sold and a new program was adopted for girls between the ages of six and twelve with a special emphasis upon the church and its teaching, thereby building better informed and more loyal church women. This new program was headed by Mrs. Stephens, wife of Los Angeles Bishop Bertrand Stephens. This program has continued since that time, operating in almost every church in the Diocese of Los Angeles at one time or another.

Responding again to changes in society, GFS-LA is offering this grant to enable churches to respond directly to the needs of girls in its neighborhoods. Southern California is a diverse community. The needs of girls to thrive in the 21st century are myriad.

GFS-LA plans to continue to support current and future church-based, traditional GFS branches which cater to church members, but to also widen its impact by encouraging churches to open new and different programs for all girls, irrespective of any church membership, which support one goal: to create a community for girls and/or young women (through high school graduation) to find friendships, develop relationships, and support each other.

Detailed Grant Purpose and Eligibility Requirements

Please read the Grant Document to learn the Program Goal, the requirements of the Letter of Intent and Letter of Support and the specifics which will be required in a Full Grant Application. Información sobre la Subvención e Instrucciones de Aplicación en Espanol

Grantee Support

GFS-LA is committed to the success of each proposal. A recording of the 2023 Online Informational Session is available here. Please watch this video to better understand the purpose of the grant.

Please read through these Frequently Asked Questions.

You may also contact us at grants@gfscalifornia.org

Grant Application Timeline

February 15, 2025 – Letter of Intent (LOI) accompanied by Letter of Support (LOS) emailed to grants@gfscalifornia.org

February 16 – March 4, 2025 – Review of LOIs by GFS Grant Committee to determine which applicants will be invited to submit a Full Grant Application

March 22, 2024 – Deadline for Full Grant Application (FGA)

March 21 – April 30, 2025 – Review of FGAs, meeting with applicants, negotiation of final terms

May 16, 2025 – Announcement of Final Grant Recipient(s)

September 2025 – Change the world by launching the selected programs(s)!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the purpose of this grant?

To encourage outreach programming for girls in the neighboring community of an Episcopal church in the Diocese of Los Angeles.

What is the Program Goal?

The primary goal of a program funded by this grant should be to create a community for girls and/or young women (through high school graduation) to find friendships and develop supportive relationships.

Are there any restrictions on the type of program?

The grant committee welcomes all proposals for programs which respond directly to the needs of girls in the neighboring community of the church. Programs might include, but are not limited to:

  • Emotional Support and Mentorship
  • Deepening of Spiritual and Ethical Practices
  • Leadership Skill Development
  • Personal Development through Community Service and/or Activism
  • Enhancement of Life Skills in order to Navigate and Succeed in the 21st Century
  • Physical or Other Skill Building Activities
How can the needs of girls in the neighboring community be determined?
  1. Canvas community leaders and the community to understand needs
  2. Research successful programs for girls in similar communities
  3. Develop program ideas that meet the girls “where they are”
  4. Ask girls for input
What age group can be served?
GFS requests the applicants to select an age group within the range from kindergarten through high school graduation.
Can the program be completely remote?
No. The program must include regularly schedule in-person meetings.
How many participants should the program serve?
The program should serve a workable core number of participants.
Who can apply?
The applicant must be an Episcopal church (parish or mission) in the Diocese of Los Angeles. The applicant must have adequate insurance and policies and procedures (Safe Church Training, fingerprinting, etc.) in place to provide the protections required by the Diocese of Los Angeles. The Program Leader must be associated with, or enjoy the recommendation of, a church within the Los Angeles Diocese of the Episcopal Church. The church vouches for and takes responsibility for the Program Leader, including background checks and Safe Church Training for all leaders.
What can the funds be used for?
  • Creative programs which meet the Primary Goal
  • Program Leader and staff compensation
  • Curriculum, materials, supplies
What cannot be funded?
  • GFS Grant funds cannot be used to pay general parish costs (rent, utilities, etc.).
  • Current Sunday School programs or any other existing program
  • Compensation already in place for existing positions or roles of church staff, part-time staff or any other church employees or consultants
  • Programs that lack a component to nurture spiritual and ethical growth, compassion and responsibility
  • Programs that cannot be accomplished within the two-year Grant Activity Period
  • Programs with less than a workable core number of participants
Can grant funds be used to fund a traditional GFS program?
No. GFS provides programs on its website which are geared for Episcopal girls and those who are at ease with faith-focused programs. This grant is intended to encourage new and different programs, whatever they might be, which will help girls’ personal development in a new way.
Can an existing GFS branch apply for this grant?
If an existing GFS branch is in need of financial support, the branch should apply directly to the board of GFS-LA.
How do I begin the application process?
  1.  Submit a Letter of Intent (LOI), maximum of 2 pages, signed by a vestry/bishop’s committee member, by the stated deadline. The LOI must include:
    • A description of the personal development program, including planned activities and curriculum (if any) to be used
    • An explanation of how the program will meet the Program Goal listed above
    • The age group to be served, within the range from kindergarten through high school graduation
    • An explanation of how the program enriches and impacts the group to be served.
    • A description of the Program Leader’s role and the name of the prospective Program Leader, if available, along with a description of the Program Leader’s experience with youth
    • A description of other staffing (paid, volunteer, quantity, skills)
    • A description of the site and space for the program (at the church, off-site, classroom, outdoor space, etc.)
    • An overview budget
  2. Provide a Letter of Support (LOS) from the rector/vicar of the church, outlining the need for the program, the resources the church can provide, and the desired impact of the program.
  3. Provide contact information of applicant and rector/vicar
How do I submit the LOI and LOS?

Email all documents in PDF form to Grants@gfscalifornia.org

What happens after the LOI is submitted?
The GFS Grant Committee will review all LOIs received and notify the applicants whether they are approved to move forward in the process.
What will be requested in the full grant application?

● A detailed two-year plan (monthly or quarterly) of the program including activities and curriculum (if any) to be used
● A detailed explanation of how the program meets the Program Goal
● A description of the spiritual component of the overall program and at each meeting
● The Program Leader’s name and resume and that person’s relationship to the church
● An explanation of how the program will provide a safe, healthy, and appropriate environment for girls and comply with Diocesan Safe Church Policies and Insurance Requirements
• An explanation regarding the choice of the age group to be served, within the range from kindergarten through high school graduation
● The program should include regularly scheduled in-person meetings and a description of the length and style of the program meetings
● Description of location and space for the program
● The amount of financial resources the church will provide for the program
● Proposed schedule and milestones for funding
● A description of how the program will be funded to become a self-sustaining program after the end of the Grant Period

Does the church also provide resources and/or financial support?

It is expected that the applicant church will provide resources according to its ability, up to matching the amount of the GFS Grant.

What are the steps of the Grant Process?

1. An Episcopal church in the Diocese of Los Angeles submits a Letter of Intent (LOI) and a Letter of Support (LOS)to apply for the Grant.
2. The GFS Grant Committee reviews materials received to determine which applicants will move to Step 3.
3. A Full Grant Application will be requested by the GFS Grant Committee of LOI applicants that are approved to move forward in the process.
4. The Grant Applicant(s) meet with the GFS Grant Committee.
5. The GFS Grant Committee selects the Grantee(s)
6. The GFS Grant Committee works with the Grantee to determine agreed-upon milestones for funding and to discuss the financial support the Grant Applicant (church) will provide.
7. Final agreements and acceptance of Grant by both the Grant Applicant and the GFS Grant Committee.
8. Grant funding will occur based on the agreed-upon milestones.

When will Awards be announced?

It is the intention of the Grant Committee to have final agreement(s) in place with the recipient(s) in order to announce awards in mid-May.

How many grants will be made?
This is a pilot program of GFS-LA. GFS-LA reserves the right to determine how many grants will be made in any year and the amount of each grant according to the judgement of the Grant Committee.
When will funding occur?
Amount and timing of funding will be determined based on agreement between the recipient church and the Grant Committee.
Whom do I contact for more information?
Please contact the Grant Committee Chair at grants@gfscalifornia.org.