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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 $90 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, girls, Two-Spirit, trans, and non-binary peoples 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 women, girls, Two-Spirit, trans, and non-binary peoples. 

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, Two-Spirit, trans, and non-binary peoples who face multiple barriers 
  • Developed in collaboration with the participants they serve 
  • Grounded in a strong gender-based analysis 

There are three steps to beginning our granting process:

  • Learn Who Can Apply

    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)
  • Learn What We Fund

    CANADIAN WOMEN’S FOUNDATION ANNUAL GRANTS  

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

    VIOLENCE PREVENTION
    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. 

    ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
    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. 

    GIRLS’ FUND
    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. 

    INVESTMENT READINESS PROGRAM
    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. 

    MICHELE LANDSBERG COMMUNITY AWARD
    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. 

  • When To Apply

    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. 

    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. 

    Annual Grants: The application process for 2019-2020 closed on February 4, 2019. The next application process is expected to open in January 2020. 

    Anti-trafficking Grants: These 5-year grants were last awarded in 2016 and will run to 2021. The application process is expected to open in 2021 or 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 2016, and will run until 2020. The application process is expected to open in  October 2019. 

    *NEW* Investment Readiness Program: There will be 3 calls for proposals for these grants. The first grant application process is now open, with an  application deadline of October 18, 2019. The next application processes are expected to open in February 2020, and September 2020. 

    *NEW* Rebuilding Lives grants: The application process is expected to open in November 2019 for these 3-year grants. 

    Teen Healthy Relationship grants: These 4-year grants were last awarded in 2013 and ran until 2017. The application process is expected to open  in September 2019.