The Canadian Women’s Foundation is currently accepting proposals for the Investment Readiness Program that 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.
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, The Foundation aims 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+
Approximately 20 grants of up to $50,000 each will be allocated.
What they Fund
- Programs for women, girls, trans, two-spirit, and non-binary people who face multiple barriers and are underserved, including First Nations, Métis, and Inuit peoples, Black peoples and peoples of colour, those living in rural or northern communities, those who identify as 2SLGBTQI+, living on low-incomes, older peoples, refugee, immigrant or non-status peoples, those with disabilities and/or who are Deaf, and young people.
- Projects in which participants are leaders.
- Projects that consider the realities of participants’ lives e.g. by providing childcare, transportation assistance and advocacy supports.
- Projects that have established partnerships with other local women’s organizations or community-based organizations that have experience working with women, girls, trans, two-spirit, and non-binary peoples.
- Grassroots organizations with small budgets.
- Projects that demonstrate a gender-analysis within the project materials, organizational structure, etc.
- Projects where funds can help leverage other funds.
Eligibility for Grants
- Applicants must be incorporated non-profit organizations and have a valid charitable number from Canada Revenue Agency or a First Nations Band designated as a qualified donee by Canada Revenue Agency.
- If the organization does not have charitable status or is not a qualified donee, the foundation can consider an application in partnership with another organization that is a registered charity with a mandate relevant to the project. The other organization’s volunteer Board of Directors will have fiscal responsibility for the grant and be legally responsible for ensuring that the funds are spent for the charitable purposes intended. They will be required to sign a letter of agreement and work in partnership with the organization delivering the project.
Program Specific Criteria
In assessing the applications for funding, they will be considering the following in addition to the Canadian Women’s Foundation’s general criteria for all grants:
- Social Purpose/Social Innovation/Business Initiative:
- Clarity of Initiative
- Potential feasibility or viability of Initiative
- Community/Customer need
- Fit between identified need and Initiative design
- Evidence of Strong Business Model
- Potential Initiative impact (breadth & depth of impact)
- On social/environmental challenges
- On women and other marginalized groups
- Timing of application
- Impact on broader organization
- Community/Funder Backing
- Demonstrated support & traction for this initiative either through other funding, needs assessment, stated desire/need for this product/service/policy, community consultations, etc.
- Strong organization with a track record
- Strong team open to learning & with a commitment in time & energy
- Openness to participate in monitoring & evaluation of the Investment Readiness Program
- For a new or emerging groups:
- Strong partnerships and community buy-in
- Strong leader with a commitment in time & energy and openness to learn
- Openness to participate in evaluation processes
- Alignment with Investment Readiness Program objectives
- Targeting marginalized populations
In addition, the following criteria that apply to all Canadian Women’s Foundation grants will also be used for assessing applications:
- Relevance of the approach for participants in a local area
- Organization’s philosophy and previous experience with the proposed community
- Program alignment with the stated criteria, and the Foundation’s overall mission and vision
- Clarity and viability of ideas along with a realistic assessment of the initiative’s goals and challenges
- Ongoing effects/impact which will endure beyond the grant
- Organization’s ability to carry out the work and to attract the other funds required if the request to Foundation is for partial support of costs
- Demonstrated experience applying a gender-analysis on the issue and delivering projects from an intersectional feminist approach
- Organization’s openness to learning from other approaches and interest in testing new ideas
- Experience with monitoring and documenting learnings, and willingness to participate in national evaluation activities led by the Canadian Women’s Foundation
- Partnerships with organizations that have prior experience with programs of this type
- The ability to provide, either internally or through confirmed referrals, a wide range of supports and services to ensure that community members are able to fully participate or benefit: childcare, transportation
How to Apply
For more information, please visit https://www.canadianwomen.org/grants-irp19/