2019-2020 Grants Program funded and administered by 
Decriminalize Sex Work

Grant awards are typically intended to fund work that spans 6 to 12 months after a grant is issued. Near the end of grantees’ grant periods or anytime thereafter, grantees are welcome to apply for another grant as an extension of their existing project or to fund a new project.

Most DSW grant payments are issued in monthly or quarterly increments, depending on the project, unless a grantee presents a strong argument for why some funding should be frontloaded or backloaded.

OBJECTIVE OF GRANTS PROGRAM: To support, with grants of up to $15,000, efforts that will measurably contribute to the decriminalization of prostitution on the local, state, and/or federal levels in the United States.

This grants program does not fund political parties, candidates for public office, statewide ballot initiatives, or policy work in other countries. DSW does not prohibit grant money from being used for lobbying purposes. But for tax-related reasons, DSW prefers to fund projects that are not focused predominantly on lobbying.

GRANTS ADMINISTRATOR: Please send all questions, comments, and proposals to DSW’s grants administrator, Molly Fonseca, at DSW’s street address or here.

APPLICATION, DECISION, AND FUNDING DATES: The first deadline for submitting a grant application is September 1, 2019.  If applicable, DSW might ask followup questions by November 1, 2019. DSW will notify grant applicants of its decisions by December 1, 2019, and DSW will start issuing grants in January 2020. (The deadline for submitting an application for the second round of grants will be sometime in early 2020.)

PRE-APPLICATION PROCESS: Potential applicants may send concise letters of inquiry or grant summaries at any time — but certainly no later than three weeks before the application deadline — to the grants administrator. (These preliminary communications are not required.)

FORMAL APPLICATION: Please submit the application electronically, either as a Word or PDF document. (Please omit cover pages, tables of contents, and divider pages.) Appendices (such as attached documents via email) are acceptable. The first six items below should comprise no more than eight pages.

(1) Applicant’s name and the names of key contact people, along with relevant addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, and web addresses. For nonprofit organizations, this includes board officers and directors.

(2) Precise objective to be achieved with the money sought.

(3) Project or organizational plan (starting and ending dates, budget, actions planned, milestones), including identifying other funders and cooperating organizations.

(4) Clear statement of how, when, and by whom the project’s success will be measured and reported.

(5) Description of the applicant's mission, history, accomplishments, and current activities.

(6) A line-item budget of revenues and expenses for the project under consideration; or, if applying for general operating support, then the organization’s overall budget for the current fiscal year and/or upcoming fiscal year.


(7) An applicant should include formal budgetary documentation — such as Forms 990 submitted to the IRS and/or audited financial statements — for the past two years (if available).

(8) Applicants seeking funds for a project or organization that fall within the ambit of tax-deductible work — which is a plus but not required — should include an IRS letter of recognition of 501(c)(3) tax status for the organization or its fiscal sponsor, if applicable.

(9) Optional attachments, such as news articles or video clips.

[These grant guidelines were last updated in June 2019.]