Grant Guidelines

Launched in 1991 to address a critical need for philanthropy focused on women, the Canadian Women’s Foundation is one of the largest women’s foundations in the world. With the support of donors, the Foundation has raised more than $100 million and funded over 1,950 programs across the country. These programs focus on addressing the root causes of the most critical issues and helping women, girls, Two Spirit, trans, and non-binary people who face the greatest barriers.

The Canadian Women’s Foundation aims to be inclusive of diverse people across gender and sexuality spectrums. We focus our efforts on supporting those who face the most barriers and have least access to relevant services. This includes people who identify as women, girls, Two Spirit, genderqueer, non-binary, and 2SLGBTQI+.

With the support of our generous donors and corporate partners, the Foundation offers grants of up to five years, so that organizations can retain the best staff, evaluate their work regularly, and maximize outcomes for participants.

We prioritize programs that are:

  • designed for women, girls, and Two Spirit, trans, and non-binary people who face multiple barriers
  • developed in collaboration with the participants they serve
  • grounded in a strong gender-based analysis
We accept applications from incorporated, non-profit organizations that have a valid charitable number from Canada Revenue Agency, or First Nations Bands designated as qualified donees and by Canada Revenue Agency. To check that your charitable number is in good standing, visit Canada Revenue Agency or call 1-800-267-2384.

Please note that we do not fund:

  • individuals
  • federal, provincial or municipal government agencies and school boards (they can be involved in a project but the grant will be made to a charitable organization directly)
  • profit-based organizations
  • fundraising events
  • projects outside of Canada
  • projects not solely or primarily focused on those who identify as women, girlstrans, Two-Spirit, and non-binary peoples  
  • deficit or emergency funding
  • conferences, films or videos
  • capital campaigns or expenditures such as furniture or computers
  • research
  • self-defense training (if it is the only component of a violence prevention project)


These 12-month grants support programs working with women, girls, Two Spirit, trans, and non-binary peoples across all of the Foundation’s pillar areas, including Economic Development, Violence Prevention, Empowering Girls and Leadership.


Organizations can apply for three types of violence prevention grants:

  1. Teen healthy relationship grants: These 4-year grants support school- and community-based programs that work with young people of all genders, aged 10-19, on learning about dating violence, gender stereotypes, sexual harassment, and how to create safe and healthy relationships.
  2. Anti-trafficking grants: These 5-year grants support programs for women, girls, Two-Spirit, trans, and non-binary peoples who have been coerced into sexual and/or labour exploitation. These programs build on women’s strengths, supporting them in accessing safety and rebuilding their lives. We also support organizations that are working to coordinate services and deepen their understanding of trafficking in local communities.
  3. Rebuilding Lives grants: These 3-year grants support programs for women, girls, Two-Spirit, trans, and non-binary peoples to rebuild their lives after experiencing violence, including housing supports, sexual assault and harassment supports, counselling, child witness to violence programs, court/legal supports.
  4. New in 2020: Safer + Stronger Grants: The Canadian Women’s Foundation has received funding from the Department for Women and Gender Equality to support women’s organizations and other organizations offering significant gender-based violence supports and services to women to:
    • Prepare surge capacity to deal with an anticipated influx seeking support as a result of increased gender-based violence during the COVID-19 pandemic
    • Support their ability to help address, prevent and reduce gender-based violence during the COVID-19 pandemic.


These 5-year grants support programs for women, Two-Spirit, trans, and non-binary peoples who are living on low incomes to learn a skilled trade, start a business, or gain work experience, with the goal of achieving a sustainable livelihood.


These 4-year grants support programs for girls, Two-Spirit, trans, and non-binary peoples, age 9 to 13 to build confidence, critical-thinking skills, resilience, and a sense of belonging. We also support mentorship programs and strengthen the capacity of organizations that work with girls.


These grants assist organizations to support and encourage their growth and participation in the social innovation and social finance ecosystem. The grant program will focus on preparing the ground for new projects to address women’s needs in Canada in various sectors, working with diverse and underserved communities.


The Michele Landsberg Community Award recognizes an organization that is doing exceptional work empowering girls and young women to find their voice and raise awareness about gender equality issues in Canada through media. The award is named after Michele Landsberg, an award-winning Canadian journalist, author, social activist and feminist to acknowledge the tremendous impact that Michele has had as an advocate and role model for all women and girls in Canada.

The Foundation regularly evaluates program progress and results, which helps to guide future granting decisions and contribute to stronger programming overall.

When the application process opens in each granting area, specific guidelines are posted below.

You can also sign up to receive Canadian Women’s Foundation grant application announcements.

Grant proposals are accepted only during scheduled application periods; we do not accept unsolicited proposals outside of this time.

Looking for ways to improve your current approaches or programming? We encourage you to consult our sector resources and webinars.

General Application Timing: Links to specific granting criteria will be posted below when the application process opens.

Safer + Stronger Grants: The grant application process is open from December 17, 2020 to February 15, 2021.

Annual Grants: These grants were last awarded in 2020. This granting program will be relaunched with a new name — Community Needs Grants — in the coming year.

Anti-trafficking Grants: These 5-year grants were last awarded in 2016 and will run to 2021. This granting program is expected to be re-launched under a new name in 2022.

Economic Development Grants: These 5-year grants were last awarded in 2018 and will run to 2023. The application process is expected to open in 2023 or 2024.

Girls’ Fund: These 4-year grants were last awarded in 2020 and will run to 2024. The next application process is expected to open in 2023 or 2024.

Investment Readiness Program: The application process is now closed for all three cycles of this pilot program.

Rebuilding Lives grants: These 3-year grants were last awarded in 2020. The next application process is expected to open in Fall 2022.

Teen Healthy Relationship grants: These 4-year grants were last awarded in 2020. The next application process is expected to open in 2023 or 2024.

Grant Announcements

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