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Programs We Fund

Since 1991, the Foundation has funded programs that work to change the lives of women and girls in more than 1,900 communities across Canada. You can view our most recent grantee programs below, searching by province and program type. Learn more about our approach to moving women and girls out of violence, out of poverty, into confidence, and leadership.

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Women’s Shelters Canada

Shelter Savers

Women’s Shelters Canada (WSC) aims to leverage the collective buying power represented by the $120 million in spending by shelters through Shelter Savers – a group-buying program that benefits 500+ individual women’s shelters across Canada – to help secure deeper discounts for individual shelters, and provide undesignated dollars to support the work of WSC. Shelter Savers is looking to explore the potential to adapt the successful Co-Op Cost Cutters model, which has been profitably run by the Co-operative Housing Federation of Toronto for over 20 years. The Co-op Cost Cutters program provides members with deep discounts on purchases on a wide variety of items from banking services and accounting software, to business supplies and website development, to fire protection systems, plumbing services and water heaters, paint, and building materials. The program covers both things that are frequently purchased as well as big-ticket but less frequently purchased items.

Grant amount: $50,000

Location: National
Program Focus: Social Enterprise
Grant Streams: Investment Readiness

Turtle Island Institute & Tides Canada Initiative

Turtle Island Institute

Turtle Island Institute (TII) is an Indigenous social innovation collaborative—a think and do tank—enabling transformative change. TII seeks to establish a national community of practice of Indigenous innovators within the social innovation ecosystem in Canada and establish the first ever Indigenous Action Lab in Niagara Falls, Ontario. TII envisions this space as complementing existing programming at the sacred thundering waters (Niagara Falls). From this space, TII will deliver customized leadership and social innovation programming for Indigenous women and changemakers. The Institute focuses on training, coaching, and otherwise supporting social innovators tackle systemic and colonial barriers. Through TII’s deep engagement with social innovation organizations across Canada, it has become clear that the sector is largely inaccessible to Indigenous women and changemakers. Specifically, the superficial engagement of Indigenous wisdom within social innovation programs, and pedagogies has resulted in the marginalization of Indigenous practitioners and change-makers from the Canadian social innovation ecosystem. TII was originally incubated at the Waterloo Institute for Social Innovation and Resilience and in 2019, moved its programmatic work to Tides Canada.

Grant amount: $50,000

Location: Ontario
Program Focus: Social Enterprise
Grant Streams: Investment Readiness

DisAbled Women’s Network (DAWN) & Canadian Research Institute for the Advancement of Women (CRIAW)

VOX: A Human Rights Consortium

DAWN envisions the creation of a social enterprise comprised of a consortium of experts from rights-based and policy organizations who provide a range of services to the federal public service, unions and industries that are under federal jurisdiction and federal human rights legislation. Canada has recently passed the Accessible Canada Act (ACA) which aims to reduce barriers to Canadians with disabilities. There is increasing recognition of the need for complex and nuanced responses to social inclusion that go beyond any single aspect of identity and that any approach to inclusion must consider all factors which lead to exclusion and marginalization. There is an immediate need to educate and train the federal public service and the implicated private sector on how to apply an intersectional analysis to outward-facing policies, programs and services, as well as how to manage the recruitment and retention of employees with disabilities to meet their obligations under the ACA.

Grant amount: $50,000

Location: Quebec
Program Focus: Social Enterprise
Grant Streams: Investment Readiness

10 Carden Shared Space (10C) & City of Guelph

Nourish Women’s Enterprise Fund

The Nourish Women’s Enterprise Fund will work at the grassroots level in tandem with Nourish by 10C, a kitchen that helps to support women from diverse socio-economic backgrounds in Guelph and Wellington County to develop local food ventures designed to create social outcomes and economic opportunities. The Nourish Women’s Enterprise Fund will provide customized one-to-one project support, kitchen and community facilities and micro-investments to support women in their social/food sector enterprises. 10C believes that this grassroots applied support will be foundational in helping women design, seed, and grow socially sustainable projects, and will provide a strong base to warrant further investment. The Nourish Women’s Enterprise Fund, will empower women to make use of small loans, create social credit through repayment and extend the benefits of their enterprises into community.

Grant amount: $50,000

Location: Ontario
Program Focus: Social Enterprise
Grant Streams: Investment Readiness

Across Languages Translation and Interpretation Service (AL)

InterSight: Community Interpreters Providing Access to Services Via Video As If All Women Are English Speakers

With a dual purpose for social impact, AL plans to expand existing remote interpretation programming by engaging community partners to better serve refugee/newcomer clients. AL has piloted over-the-phone interpretation services through RIO- Remote Interpretation Ontario- with two other non-profit organizations. This pilot was valuable and has convinced AL to build a stronger community plan with a focus on increasing sustainability, anchoring AL’s value proposition, and expanding it to include InterSight, a video option, as a socially responsible alternative in the sector. InterSight would offer immigrant women a level playing field with regards to accessing violence against women services. By providing face-to-face (remote) interpretation services, any woman facing language barriers could walk in, call in, or contact online one of the community partners and communicate clearly and comprehensively as if they are English speakers. Communication is so much more than the spoken word and the visual queues that are lost with telephone interpretation will be safeguarded for women who often find themselves in crisis and seek immediate help and support. InterSight is a service that is intended to save lives

Grant amount: $50,000

Location: Ontario
Program Focus: Social Enterprise
Grant Streams: Investment Readiness

YWCA Halifax

Level UP: Building for Community and Preparing for Growth

This project will prepare YWCA Halifax for investment readiness by preparing a compelling investment case through consultations with architects, consultants, engineers and diverse communities and staff to develop a 2,000 sq. ft. expansion of the YWCA’s centre in Spryfield. This proposed construction project will create more community spaces, meeting rooms, and offices and therefore better position YWCA Halifax to meet the needs of women and girls in the community as well as continue their growth trajectory.  Since 2015, YWCA Halifax has grown 73%, meaning more staff, more programs, and the need for more space. In addition to leveraging social investments and prospective donor dollars for this project, once completed, the expansion will also bring programs that are operating in market-leased offices back into YWCA’s main location. By using current market rents against loans, Level Up has a high likelihood of success.

Grant amount: $50,000

Location: Nova Scotia
Program Focus: Social Enterprise
Grant Streams: Investment Readiness

First Light – The St. John’s Native Friendship Centre Association

Indigenous Training Module Enhancement Project

First Light has had an exponential increase in the number of requests from social workers, legal aid, and other public servants in the justice field, and plans to design modules that include local examples and statistics that will have the greatest impact on their work. This investment will provide the opportunity to develop four new modules to enhance the current Cultural Diversity Training package. These topics will include intergenerational trauma, systemic violence, Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, and family structures and parenting. A gender lens will be applied to new modules, and the outcomes should indicate that participants in the training will have an improved understanding of how the topics outlined above impact Indigenous women and girls differently. Additionally, participants will indicate that they understand how their new knowledge can be applied to their work so that they can better support Indigenous Women and Girls.

Grant amount: $50,000

Location: Newfoundland & Labrador
Program Focus: Social Enterprise
Grant Streams: Investment Readiness

Informed Opinions

Agency – The Informed Opinions Training Centre

Informed Opinions (IO) aims to amplify women’s voices to achieve gender balance in media by 2025. IO makes it easier for journalists to find female sources and deliver strategic communications and media engagement workshops that support women in speaking up. Canadian news media chronically underrepresented women’s voices and perspectives, which increased only 4% in terms of the sources quoted or interviewed in the past quarter century and currently sit at 27%. This has profound implications for what issues are prioritized and whose experiences and insights inform policies and spending. In seeking to bridge this gender gap and address the unmet demand, IO plans to scale its existing social enterprise and fee-for-service training by increasing academic and corporate client activity. Generating additional financial resources will enable IO to train more marginalized and under-resourced women and expand in-houses tools such as the innovative Gender Gap Tracker, a research tool which provides real-time measurement of women’s voices in Canadian media.

Grant amount: $40,000

Location: National
Program Focus: Social Enterprise
Grant Streams: Investment Readiness

Shelter Movers

Social Purpose Storage Facility

Shelter Movers intends to purchase and operate a retail storage facility, whose purpose will be to a) generate revenue for Shelter Movers’ work and mission through retail storage rentals, b) provide skills development and meaningful employment opportunities for women survivors of abuse, and c) provide free storage space for use by women and children fleeing abuse. The development of a social enterprise for this storage business model will based on empirical commercial real estate research and analysis of prospective properties. Conclusions from this research and modelling will be critical to assessing the viability of a social purpose storage business operated on the day-to-day by women survivors of abuse.

Grant amount: $50,000

Location: National
Program Focus: Social Enterprise
Grant Streams: Investment Readiness

Elizabeth Fry Society Kamloops and District

Women’s Employment and Empowerment Program

The purpose of this initiative is to create a food-based social enterprise for women facing barriers to employment in the Kamploops and District area. At this early stage of investment readiness, Elizabeth Fry plans to conduct a social enterprise feasibility study and business development planning. This planning process will identify a viable business opportunity to pursue in the next phase of the initiative with a well-grounded approach for success.

Grant amount: $50,000

Location: British Columbia
Program Focus: Social Enterprise
Grant Streams: Investment Readiness

Abby & Vancity Community Foundation

Abby Ride Hailing

Abby plans to pilot and test a ride hailing service for women and acknowledges that women currently occupy a mere fraction of the taxi-driving workforce, and it honours women’s deservedness of flexible work while they balance other obligations and commitments. Abby’s Ride Hailing program plans to elevate the credentials of drivers by exposing them to Justice, Equity, Diversity & Inclusion training; reified through hands-on experience when hitting the roads as safety ambassadors for fellow women. For riders, Abby plans to help soothe the anxiety of navigating a world where one in three women will report an experience of sexual assault. Abby expects to provide riders with a welcoming, safe space where they can let their guard down and move through the streets of Vancouver freely. Abby will also present riders with the empowering choice to engage in local, ethical ride hailing that contributes to women drivers’ financial autonomy.

Grant amount: $50,000

Location: British Columbia
Program Focus: Social Enterprise
Grant Streams: Investment Readiness

Women in Need Society (WINS) of Calgary

WINS Zero Waste Plan

Women in Need Society (WINS) plans to expand its current social enterprise to include a junk removal service to broaden its donor base and sustainable operating income. WINS currently has 3 trucks that could be available for this type of enterprise but needs assistance to build feasibility study and business model to make this concept a reality. WINS is essential in the network of care to alleviate poverty, improve employability and foster self-sufficiency for thousands of women and their families every year. WINS works in partnership with 80+ agencies to ensure low income women have access to free clothing, household items and furnishings to make their house a home.

Grant amount: $50,000

Location: Alberta
Program Focus: Social Enterprise
Grant Streams: Investment Readiness