New Rapid Response Emergency Grants Supporting Services for Diverse Women and Girls

For immediate release: Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Toronto, ON – Everyone in Canada has been affected by the COVID-19 crisis, but its impacts on women, girls, and Two Spirit, trans, and non-binary people in Canada have been unique.

Providers offering violence intervention and prevention services, poverty reduction support, programs for girls, and other targeted programs are essential to mitigate the gendered impacts of the pandemic. However, the spread of the coronavirus has led to service interruptions, diversions, and closures. Eighty per cent of 120 service providers in Canada surveyed by the Canadian Women’s Foundation are concerned about their capacity to deliver services. 

The Government of Canada has provided emergency funds to shelters and sexual assault centres. But service demands on all gender-based programs throughout the country continue to grow. In response, the Canadian Women’s Foundation launched the nationwide “Tireless Together Fund” to mobilize community generosity toward diverse women and girls. So far, over $350,000 has been raised. 

The first round of $10,000 rapid response grants has been distributed to meet the urgent needs of small, grassroots organizations at high risk of shutting down due to increased financial pressure, lost revenue, and limited reserves. These organizations have annual operating budgets of under $1.5 million and have not yet received emergency funding from the federal government. With further enabling generosity of donors, the Foundation aims to support even more programs in the future.

Julia Grady is Executive Director of 10C, an organization based in Guelph, Ontario that has received a rapid response grant. “This will help our organization mitigate substantial enterprise losses and most importantly, gives us COURAGE to continue and support the work and social change action led by women,” she says. “This single action of the Canadian Women’s Foundation shows that while gender-based analysis of the pandemic is telling us that women bear the brunt of the systemic challenges, our work is important and valued.” 

In Canada, the pandemic led to early job loss, and women represented almost two thirds of it. While men’s jobs have since recovered somewhat, women’s jobs haven’t recovered to the same degree. This is added to women’s skyrocketing caregiving and household demands. Alarmingly, rates of gender-based violence like intimate partner abuse and sexual assault may also be on the rise due to isolation measures. The mental health consequences of all these realities have been stark: according to Statistics Canada, women report more stress, anxiety, worry about the possibility of violence at home, and difficulty sleeping than men. Gender-diverse people report even poorer mental health than those who identify as women or men. 

“From a surge in victimization and economic insecurity to overwhelming caregiving demands and high risks of viral contraction in frontline healthcare and service sectors, diverse women face the brunt of this public health crisis,” says Beth Malcolm, Vice-President of Community Initiatives at Canadian Women’s Foundation.

“The generosity people all over Canada have shown by giving to the Tireless Together Fund shows that they truly care about the gendered impact of the pandemic and want to do something to build a better future for everyone.”


Kate Hawkins, Manager of PR and Online Engagement, Canadian Women’s Foundation, 416-365-1444 ext. 240

The Canadian Women’s Foundation is a national leader in the movement for gender equality in Canada. Through funding, research, advocacy, and knowledge sharing, the Foundation works to achieve systemic change that includes all women. By supporting community programs, the Foundation empowers women and girls to move themselves out of violence, out of poverty, and into confidence and leadership.

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 1,900 programs across the country. These programs focus on addressing the root causes of the most critical issues, and helping women and girls 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, trans, genderqueer, non-binary, and 2SLGBTQI+.

To learn more, visit, sign up for the e-newsletter, and read the blog. Follow the Foundation on FacebookInstagramTwitter or LinkedIn.

Editor’s Note: When referring to the Canadian Women’s Foundation, please use the full name. Please do not abbreviate or use acronyms.