COVID-19: How Your Support Helps Women and Girls During the Pandemic

Investment Readiness Program Grants

The Canadian Women’s Foundation is no longer accepting proposals for cycle 2 of the Investment Readiness Program. Applications for cycle 3 will open in September 2020.

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 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.

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 grants to access services/supports that will help advance a Social Purpose/Social Innovation/Business Initiative that they are developing, embedding, or scaling.

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

This call for proposals is a single-stage process. Interested organizations are invited to submit an application using the online form, including a list of activities, budget and letters of support. Applications for cycle 2 will open on February 24, 2020 and close on April 9, 2020 at 11:59 pm PST – Pacific Standard Time.

Applications for cycle 3 will open in September 2020

Please note that we will only accept one application per organization in this grant stream.  

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 recommend that you connect with a staff member at the Foundation to discuss this before making the application.

Application Decision Timeline 2020

  • April 9, 2020: Applications due
  • April 13 – May 24, 2020: Review of applications & shortlisting proposals (by Staff and Advisory Committee)
  • May 25, 2020: Advisory Selection Committee meeting to review shortlist and make final recommendations to the board for approval
  • June 25, 2020: Board Approval of final grants selected
  • July 2020: Successful grantees notified
  • July 2020: Outstanding applicants notified


If you have any questions about your application, please check the grants criteria, the specific 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 any further questions, please e-mail or telephone:
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 program

Sally Dimachki (ext. 261)
Manager, Investment Readiness program

Rifka Khalilieh (ext. 223)
Community Initiatives Administrator

Phaedra Maicantis (ext. 263)
Grants Administrator