Valentine Foundation

Visionary Leadership Fund

The Visionary Leadership Fund is a separate endowment managed by the Valentine Foundation. Created in 2005, this endowment provides a dedicated source of funding for leadership development for women executives and aspiring leaders in organizations that improve the lives of women and girls in the Greater Philadelphia region. The Fund for Visionary Leadership enhances these organizations and creates positive social change by making valuable leadership training accessible to those working in the non-profit sector with the goals of:

  • Supporting the Effectiveness of Current Women Leaders
  • Developing the Next Generation of Women Leaders
  • Fostering a Community of Women Leaders

Vision Statement

The Valentine Foundation envisions a society in which all women, girls, and non-binary individuals thrive. Since its founding, the Valentine Foundation has supported organizations and programs for women and girls, impacting such issues as gender equity, adolescent development, career options, family planning, child care, and domestic abuse. The Fund for Visionary Leadership enhances these organizations and creates positive social change by making valuable leadership training accessible to those working in the non-profit sector.

We encourage submissions from women executive and aspiring leaders from groups that have historically been under-represented in leadership roles. Our grantmaking goal is to close the gender, racial, ethnic, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, and other equity gaps in non-profit leadership. We do this by actively funding the leadership development of as many current women executive and aspiring leaders from groups that have historically been under-represented in leadership roles as possible, within our means and mission.

Our definition of “women and girls” includes anyone who is cis-gender or trans woman/girl, or non-binary. The groups we focus on who have historically been under-represented in leadership roles include, but are not limited to, those who are Black, Indigenous, People of Color, LGBTQ+, and/or People with Disabilities.

Engagement Statement

Our goal is to develop a trusting working relationship with our Applicants, Nominated Individuals, and Organizations. To this end, we have indicated the reasons behind many of the application questions.

We also want to be actively engaged in understanding the development requests of our applicants. We want the Nominated Individuals to receive the support they need, both from your organization and from the Valentine Foundation Visionary Leadership Fund. For this reason, during the application review period, we may reach out to you to learn more about the intent of the proposed Leadership Development Initiative and the structures in place to enable those participating in the initiative to be successful. If your grant request is approved, we will continue to engage with you and the Nominated Individual(s) during the grant cycle.

Applications Section Statement

There are two parts to this application: The first part is for the Applicant to complete; the second part is for the Nominated Individual(s) to complete. Generally, the “Applicant” is the person representing the organization. They are responsible for providing a budget and the reason for submitting the grant. The “Nominated Individual(s)” are the individuals who will be attending or participating in the proposed leadership initiative. Though the two parts of the application are separate, we strongly encourage your Applicant and Nominated Individual(s) to discuss your responses with each other.

In some cases, especially for small organizations, the same individual might be both the Applicant and the Nominated Individual. This is fine and we welcome grant applications from small non-profit organizations.

PDF of the three Statements above: 2024 Valentine Leadership Statements

Please note: Both the Applicant section and the Nominated Individual(s) sections must be completed by the grant application deadline for your application to be considered complete.

January 31, 2024 – Deadline for the Applicant to complete their section of the application and to notify the Nominated Individual(s) to complete their section.
February 13, 2024 – Final Grant Application Deadline. Both the Nominated Individual(s) section and the Applicant’s section of the application must be completed by this date.

Please be aware that your application cannot be considered if these deadlines are not met.

Complete information about Visionary Leadership Fund grant applications, including schedules, eligibility requirements, and scheduled information sessions, can be found at the link below.

Grant Applications

Characteristics of Visionary Leadership

The Valentine Fund for Visionary Leadership is committed to advancing, encouraging, and developing visionary leadership skills in both aspiring and executive-level women nonprofit leaders. The Fund understands visionary leadership, apart from management and executive authority, to include the following characteristics:

  • Demonstration of innovation and entrepreneurial vision: (Takes initiative, is not risk averse, seeks new solutions, partnerships, tries alternative approaches)
  • Credibility: (Demonstrates knowledge of issues from the standpoint of content and policy. Demonstrates capacity for strategic synthesis of knowledge and practice).
  • Demonstration of the capacity to influence others with or without the formal authority or title.
  • Demonstration of the capacity to respect followers, promote their voices, and protect their interests.
  • Exhibition of generosity: Shares knowledge, power, and resources in the interest of an aim.
  • Demonstration of life decisions and actions consistent with a set of core values and ethics.
  • Demonstration of effectiveness. Achievements, even if modest, that reflect intelligence, creativity, vision, advocacy, and a healthy balance of outrage and optimism.
  • Ability to think expansively about long term challenges
  • Exhibits healthy work/life balance: Includes self-awareness, self-care, self-assessment, trauma-informed care
  • Seeks new solutions

Leadership Development Initiatives

The Visionary Leadership Fund has provided grants for leadership development for a variety of initiatives. We want organizations to identify the initiatives that will be most effective in supporting and developing their current and aspiring leaders, given the life cycle of their organization. Read more about Leadership Development Initiatives funded by the Valentine Foundation Visionary Leadership Fund at the link below.

Leadership Development Initiatives

Leadership Fund Committee

  • Robin Eisenberg, Chair
  • Vanessa Lowe, Trustee Laison
  • Agata Butler
  • Cheryl Carson
  • Jessica Corey
  • Lindsay Kijewski
  • Leslie Lieberman
  • Jessica Mertz
  • Stephanie McWhite


Download annual Visionary Leadership Fund newsletters. (PDF)