Funding Opportunity
For Women's Physical Education and Movement

The goal of this fund is to help the University of Wisconsin-Madison develop a margin of excellence in women’s physical education by creating a campus resource dedicated to the pursuit of women’s lifelong learning skills in the areas of physical education, including knowledge and appreciation of women’s movement and the female body in culture. 

A generous bequest from Patrick Henry, honoring his wife, Virginia Horne Henry, has made this program possible.  Virginia Horne Henry received her undergraduate and graduate degrees at the UW-Madison.  After graduation, she taught swimming, tumbling, and physical education at the UW.  She also taught at Wellesley College and the University of Illinois.  She was the author of “Stunts and Tumbling for Girls: A Text for High Schools and Colleges.” In her book, she described the objectives and values of Women’s Physical Education to be the process of gaining knowledge and understanding of the human body and its range of motion, the appreciation of the human body, the development of such qualities as creativity, courage, self-confidence, and perseverance, and “an appreciation for the recreational values of physical accomplishments”.

Administered through the School of Education, the Fund is used to support an annual competition for activities related to women’s physical education, movement, health and the female body in culture. 


The Virginia Horne Henry Fund provides money for an annual competition for a number of activities related to women’s physical education, movement, health and the female body in culture, including:

  • Research support for projects specifically addressing women’s physical education, movement and/or the female body in culture. Graduate student support and/or study expenses not available through other funding sources may be covered. Faculty salary support is generally only available to new investigators.
  • Initiatives by recreational sports clubs to increase involvement and physical activity among women (e.g. women specific recruitment efforts, purchase of equipment sized to women, etc.)
  • Special programs/Visiting scholars (e.g. workshops that involve women or girls in dance or physical activity; performances involving students; outreach activities that represent the Wisconsin Idea)
  • New course development that supports women’s involvement in physical activity, movement, health or the female body in culture.


Funding may be requested for one-time events, such as a guest scholar’s visit to campus, or as temporary or seed money for various projects.  Funds are not intended to support ongoing programming or operational expenses.


Projects may be proposed for a period of one year, with the possibility of a one year extension.  No amount of money is too small to request.  Last year there were twenty-five awards. Research grants are often in the range of $10,000-$40,000. Student Club awards generally range $1000-$5000. Funds will be available for use as of May 1, 2019, provided animal and human subject approvals have been finalized.


At the end of the funding cycle, award recipients are asked to submit a brief report of their accomplishments.


Awards will be granted on the merits of the project and the close connection to the fundamental principles of Virginia Horne Henry’s work.  Only those projects that have a clear relationship to the values that inspired her work will be funded. Specifically, the Committee considers:

  • Relevance to women and their involvement in physical education, movement, health and the female body in culture
  • Potential impact of the project on women’s health and well-being
  • Number of women students involved


Faculty, staff and student organizations at UW-Madison are eligible. Student organizations should have a faculty or staff advisor submit the proposal on the group's behalf.

Graduate students have two options for seeking an award:
  1.  VHH Distinguished Graduate Fellowship (1-2 awarded per year)
  2.  Research Project submitted by the student's faculty mentor

Application Process: Application procedures vary according to the type of funding being requested. Be sure to select the appropriate application form. Completed applications must be submitted electronically and received by: February 1, 2019, by 4:30pm

Awards will be announced by April 15, 2019.

Project Start and End Dates: Funds will be available as of May 1, 2019 (if all clearances are in place). Any funds remaining after August 31, 2020 will be reclaimed by the committee to make available to future recipients.

For additional information, please contact Ruth Benedict, Committee Chair, Professor, Department of Kinesiology at 890-0160, or

Grant Application forms

Funded Grant​ Spotlights 

David Bell, PhD, ATC

"The Virginia Horne Henry Grant Competition has been instrumental in my research. We have used the funding to investigate a variety of issues related to women's physical activity including movement patterns that make them more likely to tear an ACL compared to men and detecting risk factors for injury such as sport specialization and training load."

Mariah Lefeber

3may2016"Over the course of the past year, the support from the Virginia Horne Henry Special Projects Fund has been invaluable to the growth and development of our community dance program. This fund continues to be a major supporter of the important work we are doing equipping college dance majors and sharing the gift of dance with local under served girls ages 5-14. "We are so very thankful for the support from the Virginia Horne Henry Fund, and for the chance it gave us to empower undergraduate dance majors and spread the gift of dance to over 100 local, low-income youth."
Water Polo Club

Waterpolo"This past year, the Women’s Water Polo Club received funds from the Virginia Horne Henry Grant to travel to various water polo tournaments in the Midwest, and to rent practice pool space. Along with funding practices, these additional funds allowed the club to stay in safer areas, and travel in safer vehicles during tournaments.Water polo is a newly emerging sport in the state of Wisconsin. The funds provided by the VHH grant have allowed the club to promote an interest in Water Polo to the women of UW-Madison. Additionally, these funds helped Women’s Water Polo gain vast amounts of experience through tournaments in places such as the University of Michigan, Ohio State University, Purdue University, Indiana University, and Western Michigan University. This experience was vital in helping our players develop as athletes and leaders in the community. In the end, the funds provided by the Virginia Horne Henry grant have greatly contributed to the development and success of Women’s Water Polo at UW-Madison. We are incredibly grateful to be involved in a sport that allows us to pursue our passions while representing UW-Madison as active and empowered women."

Hockey Club

"The club hockey teams used our VHH grant money to help pay for our ice time at the shell. This helps our club by reducing the large cost of renting ice time and allows us more practice time during the week and more home games at the shell! This also reduces the cost of member dues and makes hockey more accessible for college students to play!"

Volleyball club

"In 2018, we were grateful to receive a gift from VHH to help us fund our travel to the NCVF Collegiate Club National Championship in Saint Louis, Mo. This annual tournament is long-awaited by every player and serves as the culmination of our season. Having the opportunity to showcase our talent among other strong female athletes while representing the University of Wisconsin–Madison is truly an honor — one that would have otherwise been financially impractical without the generosity of the VHH foundation."


VHH Home Page