The Canadian Women’s Foundation started as a simple conversation between two friends who were looking to build an organization for gender equality. Back in 1986, there was no nation-wide organization to encourage gender equality. Nancy Ruth and Susan Woods, founders of the Canadian Women’s Foundation, were adamant to change that. There had to be a way to encourage women to target charitable organizations to donate towards women entrepreneurs so that they can promote gender equality. After a lot of brainstorming and networking events, the Canadian Women’s Foundation was officially launched in 1991. In its first year, $40,000 in grants were awarded to women’s organizations. Since it opened its doors almost three decades ago, the organization has managed to raise over $80 million, funded programs in over 1,500 communities and supported women’s shelters across Canada.
The Canadian Women’s Foundation is focussed on helping girls and women in the areas that they most need it. They understand that women face several critical challenges on a daily basis, which is why the organization is determined to focus on areas where they can help and make a long-lasting impression. The Canadian Women’s Foundation wants to ensure that the areas in which they will invest will be effective and have a positive outcome. The foundation funds programs in the following issue areas:
- Empower Girls
- Inclusive Leadership
Although there are several organizations that are designed to help women, what’s different about the Canadian Women’s Foundation is that each of the programs that the foundation offers are created and designed by the women who need them. Each woman faces different challenges depending on their culture, geographical location, race, citizenship and more. Therefore, the foundation prioritizes programs to address each of those challenges and customizes them for the specific need of each different community.
On top of having specific programs to suit the different needs of women across the country, the Canadian Women’s Foundation also joins other organizations and sector experts to networking events where they discuss these issues and provide services as well as working together to find long-term solutions. By contributing to government strategies and policy-making decisions on issues such as violence, anti-trafficking, teen healthy relationships, leadership, and economic development, the organization is not only encouraging gender equality but actively finding solutions on issues that have been affecting women for generations. The Canadian Women’s Foundation along with its partners believes in a Canada where women and men are given the same opportunities and the critical challenges that women have been facing for generations are no longer an existing issue. Together, they work hard on building solutions to make a better Canada.