Changemaker November 2023
Dear friends and supporters,
That’s the state of intimate partner violence in Canada, according to a growing list of municipalities and leaders. Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, joined the list of regions that declared this violence an epidemic after the horrific mass shooting in October that claimed the lives of a woman and three young children.
These declarations can act as a powerful step toward confronting and ending gender-based violence in this country.
An epidemic like this can’t be dismissed as a “women’s issue”. All of us – individuals, communities, workplaces, governments – have a role to play in ending intimate partner violence.
Thanks to your support, Canadian Women’s Foundation funding went toward the groundbreaking Renfrew County Inquest that recommended the epidemic designation. This inquest examined the 2015 triple murder of Carol Culleton, Anastasia Kuzyk, and Nathalie Warmerdam in and around Renfrew County, Ontario.
Our hope is that recognizing the epidemic scope of intimate partner violence will help to marshal the funding, expertise, strategies, and services entailed in eradicating it. Taking this step can also de-stigmatize violence and send a critical message to survivors: You are not alone and it is not your fault.
An epidemic like this can’t be dismissed as a “women’s issue”. All of us – individuals, communities, workplaces, governments – have a role to play in ending intimate partner violence, and I’m so grateful for your continued commitment to supporting survivors and systemic change.
As we approach the holidays, I urge you to think about women, girls, and gender-diverse people facing gender-based violence right now, and consider what you can do to support them.
President and CEO
Canadian Women’s Foundation
This Holiday Season, Help End Gender-Based Violence
Nearly half of women in Canada (44%) have reported experiencing some form of psychological, physical, or sexual violence. And rates of abuse have increased over the past few years.
Today, a woman or girl is killed by violence every 48 hours.
You can help turn the tide by supporting community services throughout Canada. They provide critical services including:
• Emergency shelter
• Housing support
• Help to rebuild lives after abuse
• Sexual assault and exploitation crisis support
• Child witness to violence programs
• Healthy relationship education for teens
Double your impact! If you donate between now and December 31, 2023, GreenShield will match every dollar you donate up to $30,000 to help women and gender-diverse people rebuild their lives after experiencing violence. Every dollar counts!
GREENSHIELD CARES ABOUT WOMEN’S MENTAL HEALTH
GreenShield is offering Canadian Women’s Foundation supporters two free hours of talk therapy. To learn more and sign up, visit greenshieldcares.ca
As a not-for-profit social enterprise, GreenShield reinvests its profits and redeploys its health services through GreenShield Cares. Its Women’s Mental Health Program is the only one of its kind offering free, culturally safe therapy and mental health services to anyone 18+ living in Canada who identifies as a woman.
How Your Workplace Can Take Action Against Gender-Based Violence
Did you know that more than 80 per cent of gender-based violence survivors disclose their situation to co-workers? This means that staff groups, HR representatives, and workplace leaders can play an important role. When you sign up to become a Signal for Help Responder at Work, employees in your workplace will learn:
• How to recognize that a coworker might be dealing with abuse
• What to say or do to support a coworker who discloses abuse
• Where to refer survivors in your workplace to helpful and reliable support services at work or in their community
Learn more about the free workplace resources, tools and training.
Grantee Partner Spotlight: Rêve-Action program, Maison d’Haïti, Montreal
“The most rewarding part of my work is the fact that we have the opportunity to save lives.”
Guerda Amazan, Deputy Executive Director of Maison d’Haïti in Montreal, has worked with many women facing gender-based violence and abuse. Even when their safety is at risk, so many barriers stand in the way of leaving: isolation and culture shock; financial and immigration difficulties related to being newcomers or refugees; lack of space in shelters; as well as shame, judgment and fear of being separated from their children in a new country. “It’s extremely complex and the challenges are enormous,” Guerda says.
Thanks to your generosity, the Foundation supports Rêve-Action, a program of Maison d’Haïti focused on taking action against domestic violence, created by and for women. Guerda helps participants, sometimes just by listening. That support and the program’s group activities help them realize they are not alone, that they have a voice, and they do have options. Then she and her team work with participants to develop an action plan. Guerda is inspired by the incredible resilience of survivors – some of whom were severely abused and exploited by men who sponsored them to come to Canada.
“It is an immense privilege to come face to face with someone who is suffering in their body, mind, and soul, but has decided to come to us, and say ‘I trust you, I want to talk to you.’ ” As she listens to their stories and watches them take steps in their own action plan, she sees their resolve and sense of self-worth grow stronger.
She wishes more people understood that gender-based violence isn’t part of our DNA; that it’s a social construct that must be deconstructed, not just accepted. It’s rooted in inequalities that we have the power to change. “In 2023, women shouldn’t still be fighting for our rightful place in society – it should be automatic.”
$3.1 million gift focuses on empowering Northern Indigenous communities
Definity Insurance Foundation recently announced a transformative investment of $3.1 million in the Canadian Women’s Foundation’s Northern Strategy, guided by Indigenous women in the Yukon, Northwest Territories, Nunavut, Nunavik, and Nunatsiavut.
This is the largest philanthropic donation we have ever received for gender equality efforts in northern provinces and territories. It will foster entrepreneurship and self-employment initiatives that empower women in the North to create brighter economic futures.
At right: Girls in the Akpaliapik program of Ilitaqsiniq build confidence and cultural connection through a variety of activities. It’s one of the programs funded through the Foundation’s Northern Strategy.
Donor Spotlight: Laurie Hunt
Laurie Hunt feels it’s important to actively support gender justice because of the inequality she sees in her everyday life – on the street, in workplaces, and in families. She’s concerned about safeguarding progress for the future, and conscious that climate change will have gendered impacts for future generations.
“When I learned about the priorities outlined in the Foundation’s strategic plan, I was impressed … I am confident that the money I give will be used wisely and effectively.”
Donor Spotlight: Paul Barber Foundation
“Gender equality is learned and reinforced through the actions, or inactions, of society. How we help solve the issue is both simple and complex, but we all need to work towards ﬁnding solutions.” – Paul Barber Foundation
The Paul Barber Foundation (PBF) supports transformational programs that foster inclusion and diversity. PBF began supporting the Canadian Women’s Foundation in 2022, with a particular focus on teen healthy relationships programming.
“Helping girls navigate their formative teenage years is critical. Understanding at an early age that every girl deserves respect and equitable treatment is important to reaching their potential.”
Donor Spotlight: Dr. Kristin Blakely
“I support the advancement of gender justice because I believe in a better world and decades of research tells us that gender equality has real, measurable benefits, including increased peace and less conflict; improved and more prosperous economies; better business performance; happier families and relationships as well as increased stability and well-being in children’s lives.”
Dr. Kristin Blakely is a public sociologist committed to advancing gender equality through education, advocacy, board work, and philanthropy. She teaches in the sociology department at Glendon College of York University and previously taught courses on gender, diversity, and leadership at the University of Toronto’s School of Continuing Studies.
Kristin has been a Foundation supporter and volunteer since 2016. She has served as both a board member and board chair and continues to lead the Foundation’s Teen Healthy Relationships Advisory Committee. We are deeply grateful for her inspiring generosity of spirit and are proud to welcome Kristin into the Ann Southam Feminist Legacy Circle (see below).
“I believe in the Foundation’s work to support teen healthy relationships programs,” Kristin says. These programs engage young people of all genders in topics including dating violence, gender stereotypes, sexual harassment and assault, and help them build skills for safe and equitable relationships. “I appreciate this proactive strategy for ending gender-based violence, as well as how the Foundation funds these programs for four years. Multi-year funding is a key feature of feminist grantmaking and can help grassroots organizations to thrive.”
As a parent, Kristin also hopes to pass the joy of volunteering and philanthropy on to her sons. “By practicing generosity, we can be more fulfilled and happier, while contributing to a world that is safer, more equitable, and more sustainable.”
Ann Southam Feminist Legacy Circle
Our dear friend Ann was a prominent feminist composer, trailblazer, and long-time Foundation donor and volunteer. The Ann Southam Feminist Legacy Circle invites you to leave a truly lasting legacy and help make the dream of gender equality in Canada a reality.
If you are thinking about leaving a gift in your will, contact: Laura Owen, Senior Director, Philanthropic and Planned Giving at email@example.com or 1-866-293-4483 ext. 254.
Corporate Partner Spotlight: Guardian Partners and Guardian Capital Advisors
What is feminist philanthropy? How does investing in gender equality translate into impact on people’s lives and long-term social change? These were some of the questions discussed at a Guardian Women event, hosted in October by Guardian Partners Inc. and Guardian Capital Advisors LP, featuring Paulette Senior and moderated by the Canadian Women’s Foundation Board Member, Kimberly Hu, CFA, Vice President, Investment Counsellor at Guardian Partners Inc.
Gaming Stream-a-Thon Raises $5,500
TGS Esports and top women video gamers recently collaborated to raise awareness and donations for the Foundation. Almost 6,000 viewers tuned into the live 18-hour gaming session featuring players from TSM Esports All-Women’s Pro Apex Legends team. “As a company, we believe in the importance of social equality and the need to empower women, and underserved communities, for a brighter future,” said Aubrey Lovery, Senior Director of Marketing, TGS Esports.
At The Walrus Talks Gender-Based Violence, co-hosted by the Foundation, six expert speakers addressed urgent questions and myths about this topic, as well as strategies for prevention. The evening featured:
- Pamela Cross, Advocacy Director, Luke’s Place
- Anuradha Dugal, Vice President, Community Initiatives, Canadian Women’s Foundation
- Shree Paradkar, Columnist, Internal Ombud, Toronto Star
- Fay Slift and Fluffy Soufflé, Storytellers; Stars, The Fabulous Show with Fay and Fluffy
- Angela Sterritt, national bestselling author, Unbroken
- Jake Stika, Executive Director and Co-founder, Next Gen Men
Watch the recording
At the International Economic Forum of the Americas in Toronto, Paulette Senior, President and CEO of the Foundation, interviewed the Honorable Anita Anand, President of the Treasury Board (watch), and spoke on a panel about putting intersectionality into practise at work (watch).
Get informed: Listen to our Alright, Now What? Podcast
Catch up on our recent series about digital hate, harassment and violence: