Frequently Asked Questions

General Information

What is the Fund for Workforce Equity?

The Fund for Workforce Equity is a new Workforce Matters pooled funding initiative that aims to center workers of color in workforce policy and program design and implementation, one of the primary recommendations in Workforce Matters’ Racial Equity Framework for Workforce Development Funders.  The Fund for Workforce Equity will provide flexible resources and support to workforce development organizations seeking to pilot and learn from new strategies to center workers and learners of color.

What are the fund’s goals?

The fund’s goals are to support workforce organizations in developing and implementing strategies to engage workers and learners of color in informing workforce policy and program design and implementation, thereby making workforce programs and policies more responsive to their needs.  In addition, the fund will support learning among both funders and workforce organizations in order to expand the use of effective strategies to center and amplify the voices of workers and learners.

What do you mean by workforce development?

In our Racial Equity Framework, we defined workforce development as a system that “aims to address the need for employment and advancement in the labor market through services, programs, systems, and networks that provide people with education, skill development and access to jobs. It also seeks to address the quantity, quality, and location of these jobs and to meet employer needs for a skilled workforce.” Our definition includes not only skills and training but also efforts to address job quality, worker voice and agency, and the social determinants of work.

What strategies will the fund support?

The Fund for Workforce Equity will support the following strategies:

  • Grants. Flexible grants of up to $50,000/year to workforce organizations so they can pilot and learn from different ways of authentically engaging and centering workers and learners of color in program and policy design and implementation
  • Learning Community. A learning community so organizations can learn from each other and disseminate methods and lessons learned.
  • Technical Assistance/Expertise. Access to expertise and resources on human-centered design and other best practices for elevating worker and learner voice.
  • Evaluation and Learning. An evaluation of the initiative and share learning with funders so they can further disseminate and invest in promising practices among their grantees.

What is the timeline for launching the fund?

Workforce Matters is planning to complete fundraising for our first round of grants by March 31, 2022; open the application process in Spring 2022; and make our first grants in Fall 2022.

For Funders

How do I contribute?

Workforce Matters is accepting contributions to the fund through our fiscal sponsor, Funders Together to End Homelessness.  Funders may make grants or contributions to Funders Together by March 31, 2022 to be included in the first round of grantmaking in Fall 2022.  Gifts made after March 31 will be held to support our second round of funding.

Do I have to be a supporting member of Workforce Matters to contribute to the fund?

Any funder is welcome to contribute to the Fund for Workforce Equity. However, if a funder is not already a Workforce Matters supporting member, the first $1,500 of their contribution to the fund will go toward a supporting membership, which supports Workforce Matters’ overall programming and makes initiatives like the Fund for Workforce Equity possible.

Is there a minimum contribution?

Workforce Matters’ supporting members are welcome to make a gift of any size to the fund, but only those who give more than $25,000 annually will be invited to participate on the advisory committee of the fund.

How will governance and decisionmaking for the Fund work?

Funders who contribute $25,000 or more to the Fund for Workforce Equity may join the fund’s advisory committee, which will consist of both funders and stakeholders, but they are not required to do so. The advisory committee will meet quarterly or as needed to help determine the overall strategy, priorities, learning goals, and direction of the fund and weigh in on the grant docket for the fund.  The Workforce Matters Steering Committee will approve all grants from the fund.

Can I recommend applicants or projects for funding?

Yes! We welcome funders to share this opportunity with their grantees and networks. While we cannot guarantee that a grantee from your portfolio will receive funding, one of our goals is to share promising approaches to centering workers and learners of color with the Workforce Matters network to create greater awareness of good work happening in the field.

What if my foundation/organization has particular grantmaking interests or restrictions—like geography, sector, or target population? How can I participate?

We welcome you to participate!  We need and welcome your insights about promising strategies for engaging workers and learners from different specific target populations, industry sectors, or parts of the workforce ecosystem. We are happy to work with you to ensure that organizations that fit your foundation’s grantmaking priorities get the word about the opportunity to apply.  Beyond this, if you would like to contribute but need to earmark funds toward specific priorities or regions, please reach out to us at info@workforce-matters.org to discuss options for participation.

Will the fund include learning opportunities for funders?

Yes! We are supporting a process and outcomes evaluation as part of the fund and will share the results with the Workforce Matters network.  Contributors will also have the opportunity to learn in “real time” through the application and grantmaking process, if they wish to, and we will hold regular advisory committee meetings to share learnings and keep funders apprised of the work.

What is the fund’s conflict of interest policy?

Funders and stakeholders who are part of the selection process must disclose any affiliations that may pose a potential conflict of interest.  Those with potential conflicts may still participate but will not be included in discussions or decisions about applicant organizations with which they have a significant affiliation.

For Applicants

How do I apply for funding?

Workforce Matters will send out an announcement through our newsletter, social media channels, and website when the RFP process is open.  Workforce Matters will hold a webinar for interested applicants after the RFP is released and will post the RFP on our website.

Do I have to be a member of Workforce Matters to apply?

No.  Applicants do not have to be members of Workforce Matters to apply.

Do I have to be nominated by a funder or Workforce Matters member to apply?

No. The Fund for Workforce Equity will have an open application process.

Am I eligible to apply if I previously received funding through Workforce Matters and Associated Black Charities’ Advancing Racial Equity in Workforce Development initiative?

Yes.  Organizations that previously received funding through the Advancing Racial Equity in Workforce Development initiative are welcome to apply.

Are there any requirements for applicants in terms of previous work or organizational capacity in racial equity?

Yes.  Applicant organizations will be expected to have a demonstrated commitment to utilizing a racial equity lens in their work and to have completed racial equity training at the 101 level.  Direct service organizations should also be serving a significant proportion of workers and learners of color.

What is the fund’s conflict of interest policy?

Funders and stakeholders who are part of the selection process must disclose any affiliations that may pose a potential conflict of interest.  Those with potential conflicts may still participate but will not be included in discussions or decisions about applicant organizations with which they have a significant affiliation.

What is the deadline to apply?

We anticipate that the RFP will open in Spring 2022, with a submission date during the summer, with grants awarded in Fall 2022.

How much funding will be available?

We anticipate making grants of up to $50,000 per organization. The total number of grants awarded will depend on our fundraising.

Can I apply for more than one year of funding?

Yes.  If your project will take longer than one year to implement, you may apply for more than one year of funding, but the total grant award will not exceed $50,000/organization in this first round of funding.

Last updated January 10, 2022.

This FAQ is provided for informational purposes only. Terms subject to change.