WSF Tara VanDerveer Fund for the Advancement of Women in Coaching

Inspired by legendary Stanford University women’s basketball coach Tara VanDerveer, this Fund will honor her extraordinary legacy by providing fellowships for aspiring women coaches in all collegiate sports, from basketball and volleyball to water polo and fencing, providing opportunities for women coaches to excel and become leaders.

Teacher. Mentor. Leader. Woman. Coach.
She teaches, coaches and transforms. She helps girls grow into women who want to win, in sport and in life. She inspires them to pass it on. She’s a coach. And inspiring girls and women, is what they do.

In sport and life, girls need to see women in leadership roles.
In the 50 years since Title IX’s passage, the percentage of women in collegiate coaching roles has declined. In the 1970-71 academic year, 90% of all head coaches for women’s college teams were women. In 2021, women held only 41% of these positions in women’s NCAA sports.

WSF is determined to change that. Honoring Tara VanDerveer, this pioneering program provides grants, paid fellowships and mentorships for aspiring women coaches. Emphasizing hands-on training for women coaches in all collegiate sports, from basketball and volleyball to water polo and fencing, it is a salute to the extraordinary compassion, optimism and leadership that its namesake has shown over the years.

The Tara VanDerveer Fund for the Advancement of Women in Coaching is proudly administered by WSF and supported through generous private and public donations.

Grant Deadlines

Applications for the 2024 application period are now closed. Please check back in November 2024 for the 2025 grant cycle schedule.

Anticipated Application Timeline

  • January 3, 2024 – Applications open.
  • March 20, 2024- Deadline to submit applications!
  • April 19, 2024 – First round review is completed, and all applicants notified.
  • April 29 – May 13, 2024 – Second round review, schools that advance may be asked for a phone interview.
  • May 31, 2024 – Schools notified of status and grant agreements sent out.

*This timeline is subject to change.

Grant Eligibility

  • Institutions of higher education with varsity athletic programs that are located within the 50 United States, District of Columbia and U.S. Territories, including tribal colleges and universities
  • All NCAA, NAIA, NJCAA and other athletic association member institutions are encouraged to apply.
  • Institutions may apply with a specific candidate for the WSF VanDerveer Fellowship in mind but an individual may not apply here to gain a WSF VanDerveer Fellowship for herself. (e.g. individuals must be sponsored by a university or college which would submit the application.)

Grant Criteria

A judging committee will evaluate each application based on the information provided in the application including the following criteria:

  • Profile of the institution’s proposed mentor coach and perceived mentorship experience of the WSF VanDerveer Fellow
  • Proposed job description for the WSF VanDerveer Fellow
  • Institution’s plan and process for selecting a WSF VanDerveer Fellow
  • Institution’s commitment to provide additional support to the WSF VanDerveer Fellow, above and beyond WSF grant money
  • The institution’s demonstrated commitment to diversity and inclusion for its athletics department, and faculty and student-body overall

Grant Expectations for Institutions

Institutions that are selected for funding will be responsible for hiring an individual to fill their WSF VanDerveer Fellow opening. Applicants should explore relevant regulations and laws which apply to their institution and ensure that the submitted application meets all necessary requirements.

While women are underrepresented within the coaching ranks, BIPOC women are even further underrepresented. WSF believes this grant funding has the ability to grow the coaching pipeline and invest in the professional development of entry-level coaches who may not typically be given such an investment in their career. WSF strongly encourages institutions receiving grants to be intentional in their search for diverse candidates to fill the WSF VanDerveer Fellow opening.

Grant Requirements

Awarded institutions must agree to the following:

  • To use the grant for its intended purpose. (e.g. to create or increase the salary/stipend of a WSF VanDerveer Fellow, room and board, and professional development opportunities)
  • To create a fellowship position for an aspiring woman coach.
  • To allow the selected fellow to attend at least 3 professional development opportunities (one being the Women’s Sports Foundation’s annual Sports Advocacy Network meeting and Annual Salute to Women in Sports awards gala).
  • To include recognition of this grant and the Women’s Sports Foundation in all publicity surrounding this Fellowship position.
  • To be available for interview(s) on behalf of the Women’s Sports Foundation based on advanced notice and availability.
  • To provide two progress reports, one midway through the fellowship and one at the conclusion. If you do not satisfy these reporting requirements you will not be eligible to reapply for this or any other WSF grant in the future.

Grant Expectations for Professional Development

In order to fulfill the grant requirements, a VanDerveer Fellow is expected to attend at least two professional development opportunities (e.g. relevant coaching association conference, women’s coaching networking events). The WSF VanDerveer Fellow will have $2,500 to spend on professional development. This amount is over and above the $15,000 grant.

Additionally, WSF VanDerveer Fellows will be expected to attend the Women’s Sports Foundation’s Annual Salute in October. Travel and lodging for this event will be paid and organized by WSF and is not expected to come out of the $2,500 professional development budget.

Grant Award

Institutions will be awarded $15,000 to be used in support of their Fellow; an additional $2,500 will be provided specifically for professional development opportunities for the WSF VanDerveer Fellow.

It is up to the awarded institution to determine how they would like to distribute funds to the Fellow (e.g. via installments or one lump sum). Institutions may choose to increase a WSF VanDerveer Fellow stipend or salary by adding money from their institutional budget.

Grant Allocation

Funds are given directly to the college or university to provide stipends to their WSF VanDerveer Fellows as well as to cover costs of housing, training, mentoring, and professional opportunities.

How to Apply

During the program application period, an authorized representative must visit Foundant GLM, the Women’s Sports Foundation’s grant-management system, and follow the directions to register a new user profile or update an existing profile. Limit one (1) profile per person/email address. Once your profile is registered, you will be able to save and submit your application on the website.

Please read carefully through the full eligibility requirements, college guidelines and program criteria before starting a Foundant account and applying. Applicants will be judged on what information is available or provided at the time of application submission.

Notification of Application Acceptance

You will receive an e-mail at the e-mail address provided in your profile when your application has been received.

Any application that is late, incomplete or requesting funds for an event or purchase of equipment that will occur before the applicant would receive the grant money will not be accepted.

Other conditions under which an application will not be accepted:

  • Applications that are e-mailed or faxed
  • Applications for programs that require compulsory religious participation
  • Applications requesting funding towards the purchase of land, construction of buildings, event sponsorships, and/or the purchase/care of animals
  • Applications requesting retroactive funding

2022 Recipients

California Lutheran UniversitySoccer
The College of St. ScholasticaNordic Ski
D’Youville UniversityStrength & Conditioning
Fordham UniversityCross Country/Track & Field
Grinnell CollegeVolleyball
Monmouth UniversitySoccer
Pomona-Pitzer CollegesBasketball
Smith CollegeVolleyball
Tufts UniversityBasketball
University of California, BerkeleyBasketball

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If after reading these guidelines carefully you still have questions, please contact Morgan Powell: 516.307.3971 or