Spanx by Sara Blakely Red Backpack Fund

Empowered Women Empower Women

Since its inception, Spanx and The Spanx by Sara Blakely Foundation have been dedicated to elevating and supporting women through entrepreneurship. Knowing the ripple effect that empowering women can have to strengthen communities, the foundation donated $5 million to support female entrepreneurs in the wake of COVID-19 and teamed up with GlobalGiving to establish The Red Backpack Fund. GlobalGiving awarded 1,080 grants of $5,000 each to female entrepreneurs in the U.S. to help alleviate the impact of the crisis. The Red Backpack Fund closed on Dec. 31, 2020 and all funds have been disbursed. At this time, there is no intention to re-open this fund. Thank you for partnering with us to bolster women-run businesses in their hour of need.

How The Red Backpack Fund Works

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Majority women-owned and led businesses and nonprofits in the U.S. are eligible to apply. For full eligibility criteria, see the FAQs.

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Applications will be accepted during pre-set periods from April through September 2020. For exact dates, see the FAQs.

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Every month, GlobalGiving will vet applications + select 200 new Red Backpack Fund grantees until funds run out.

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All grantees will receive $5,000, a “lucky” red backpack and a free all-access pass to 80+ MasterClass, which includes Sara Blakely’s class on entrepreneurship.

The Red Backpack Fund accepted applications from April 6-Sept. 15. All applicants to the Red Backpack Fund were notified of the status of their applications by Oct. 30. For additional questions or more information on emergency assistance resources, please visit our FAQ page.

In addition to the financial gift, each woman will also receive a “lucky” red backpack. Sara started Spanx with her “lucky” red backpack from college. It was with her every step of the way. The lucky red backpack is a symbol of starting small while dreaming big. It’s become the official icon of The Spanx by Sara Blakely Foundation. It’s a wonderful reminder that everything you need to succeed is already on your back.
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My hope is that this gift will help alleviate some of the pressures caused by this horrible pandemic. Twenty years ago, I started Spanx with $5,000 in savings, and I see this as a time to pay it forward. Small business is the backbone of our culture. I know what it’s like to be a small business owner, and I want to provide some relief to these entrepreneurs during this time.

Frequently Asked Questions

Learn more about this funding opportunity in our FAQ.

View Red Backpack Fund FAQ


A Trusted Partner For Good

GlobalGiving is a registered nonprofit with a mission to accelerate community-led change. We have a four-star rating from Charity Navigator and are accredited by the BBB Wise Giving Alliance. As part of our mission, we provide tools, training, and support to help people and businesses make the world a better place. Our team has powered grantmaking initiatives, such as The Red Backpack Fund, since our founding in 2002.

Learn more about our grantmaking services.

Ways To Make The World A Better Place

Spanx and GlobalGiving believe in the incredible power of elevating women and how that can, in turn, make the world a better place. As Sara says, “When a woman is given the chance to fulfill her potential, magic happens.”

Here are a few ways you can get involved:

Give to The Red Backpack Fund Support the GlobalGiving Girl Fund Explore projects focused on women + girls
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