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Investment Readiness Program Grants

The Canadian Women’s Foundation will be accepting proposals for the third and last funding cycle of the Investment Readiness Program from Monday, September 14, 2020 to Friday, October 2, 2020 at 11:59pm PST. Apply now! The online application can be accessed here.

In total, we will fund approximately 40 grants across the 3 cycles of this 2-year funding program with each grant funded up to a maximum of $50,000.

Background On The Investment Readiness Program

As one of the partners in the Investment Readiness Program announced by the Federal Government in June 2019, the Canadian Women’s Foundation will receive $3 million over two years to help social purpose organizations become investment ready to access the new Social Finance Fund, set to launch in 2020.

The Foundation believes that promoting entrepreneurship and innovation, as well as the growth of micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises helps women develop greater economic prosperity. With more knowledge and experience in the use of social finance mechanisms and tools, the women’s sector will be better able to support these enterprises.

Through the Investment Readiness Program funding, the Foundation aims to boost women’s sector participation in social innovation and social finance. This is especially important for organizations that serve women who face multiple barriers and are underrepresented in this field.

For more information on the Investment Readiness Program, please visit the website. Watch this webinar for further information about the program and application process. 

Program goals

The Foundation will support and encourage the growth and readiness of women-serving organizations to join the social innovation and social finance ecosystem. This may include support to social purpose organizations that currently do not consider themselves part of that ecosystem. The Foundation seeks to prioritize funding to organizations that reach women who face multiple barriers, in communities where the needs are greatest.

Through the Investment Readiness Funding, we aim to:

  • Increase the number and variety of groups engaged in the social finance ecosystem
  • Build awareness
  • Enhance capacity
  • Increase accessibility to expert advice and information
  • Contribute to learning on what works
  • Apply a gender lens throughout using GBA+

Application Process

Organizations can apply for funding to access services/supports that will help advance a Social Purpose/Social Innovation/Business Initiative that they are developing, embedding, or scaling.

The third and last call for proposals is a two-stage online process. Interested organizations are invited to submit a brief Letter Of Intent (LOI) by answering online questions, including a summary of their social purpose project, how the budget will be spent and any partnerships with other organizations. LOI applicants selected for the second stage will be notified on October 19, 2020 and invited to submit a full application by November 6, 2020 at 11:59pm PST.

Please note that we will only accept one application per organization in this grant stream. You can apply for IRP funding through other readiness partners, such as the Community Foundations of Canada, but if successful, only one IRP grant can be allocated to your social purpose project.

If the Canadian Women’s Foundation has funded a project previously, you may reapply, and receive funding for services related to the same project by demonstrating how this funding will advance your investment readiness.

If you have applied and not been successful, you may reapply, and we strongly recommend that you connect with a staff member at the Foundation to discuss your project before submitting an application. 

Application Decision Timeline 2020-2021

  • October 2,2020: LOI due
  • October 2, 2020 to October 19, 2020: Review of applications & shortlisting proposals for stage 2 of the application (by Staff and Advisory Committee)
  • October 19, 2020: Unsuccessful proposals are notified and proposals selected for stage 2 are notified
  • October 19,2020 – November 6, 2020: Proposals selected for stage 2 submit full proposals
  • January 2021: Advisory Committee meeting to review shortlist and make final recommendations to the Board of Directors for approval
  • February 2021: Board Approval of final grants selected
  • February 2021: Unsuccessful and successful investees notified
  • March 2021: Agreements signed

Please note that while the Investment Readiness Program pilot ends on March 31, 2021, investees can continue their project activities until December 1, 2021.

For organizations that are experiencing internet connectivity issues or based in remote, rural or isolated regions, please email us at for a Word version of the application. 

If you have any questions about your application, please check the grants criteria, the specific application guidance document, and the FAQ section listed in the box on the right (or below if you’re using a mobile device).

If you have further questions, please contact us:
Phone: 416-365-1444
Fax: 416-365-1745
Toll-free: 1-866-293-4483
TY: 416-365-1732

Sagal Dualeh (ext. 221)
Director, Investment Readiness

Sally Dimachki (ext. 261)
Manager, Investment Readiness

Phaedra Maicantis (ext. 263)
Grants Administrator

The Investment Readiness Program is funded by the Government of Canada’s Social Innovation/Social Finance Strategy.

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