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The Value of Our Grants

The Charity recognises that it is the responsibility of all grant giving charities that they should assess the value of their grant making activity to the recipient. This is especially important when grants are awarded to individuals rather than to an established organisation whose activities can normally be adequately monitored. FfWG decided from the outset that it would not interview its short-listed candidates, preferring to use the financial savings so derived to increase the number of grants it could award to postgraduate women students in need.

Since FfWG began its grant making activity in 1993, £2.5million has been awarded in grants to individual postgraduate women registered for study or research in Great Britain. The immediate value of each grant in helping the postgraduate achieve her goal is based on a written report from the grant holder at the end of her academic year’s work. An appreciative covering letter sometimes gives an indication of the true value of the grant to the recipient, firstly in meeting their need, secondly helping to encourage additional funding from other sources and thirdly more often than not giving a much needed morale boost during a period of distress or self-doubt.

The long term efficacy of FfWG’s grants may only be judged retrospectively. To this end, a detailed review of the first five years (1993 – 1998) was undertaken to find out whether or not the grant making process of FfWG had identified those who, when helped, had completed their research and gone on to a successful career within or outside academia.

The feedback from past grant holders, which personalised what is essentially a paper exercise for the Grants Committee, was heartwarming. The results of this survey were most encouraging. With very few exceptions, all those who were awarded grants successfully completed their postgraduate degrees. A very high percentage of those within the period of the survey chose to remain in academia with some reaching senior academic levels, including a few who have already attained professorial status.

It is not the aim of FfWG to support applicants whom it hopes will continue in academia but to fulfil its objects to promote: ‘The advancement of education and the promotion of higher education and wider learning of women graduates.’

FfWG is pleased therefore to find among its past grant holders those who have found success outside academia as teachers, lawyers, bankers, businesswomen, information technologists, journalists, translators, curators, artists and musicians.

FfWG cannot claim any recognition for the successful careers of its past grant holders. It does, however, take enormous satisfaction from the encouragement its modest grants gave to these students when some additional financial help was needed.

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