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Investment Readiness Program Grants

Grants to Canada Nonprofits and First Nations Bands to
Help Women Develop Greater Economic Prosperity

Agency Type:

Foundation / Corporation

Funding Source:

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Canadian Women’s Foundation

Conf. Date:


Deadline Date:

04/09/20 11:59 PM PST


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Grants to Canada nonprofit organizations and First Nations Bands to help women develop greater economic prosperity. The Foundation seeks to prioritize funding to organizations that reach women who face multiple barriers, in communities where the needs are greatest. The Foundation aims to help social purpose organizations become investment ready to access the new Social Finance Fund, set to launch in 2020.

The Foundation believes that promoting entrepreneurship and innovation, as well as the growth of micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises helps women develop greater economic prosperity. With more knowledge and experience in the use of social finance mechanisms and tools, the women’s sector will be better able to support these enterprises.

Through the Investment Readiness Program funding, the Foundation 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.

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+

Organizations can apply for grants to access services/supports that will help advance a Social Purpose/Social Innovation/Business Initiative that they are developing, embedding, or scaling.

What is funded:

  • 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.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 187017

Number of Grants:

The Foundation will fund approximately 40 grants across the 3 cycles of this 2-year funding program.

Estimated Size of Grant:

Up to $50,000

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

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 your organization does not have charitable status or is not a qualified donee, applications can be considered 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.

Canadian Women’s Foundation does not fund:
- Individuals
- Federal, provincial or municipal government agencies and school boards (they can be involved but the grant will be made directly to the community organization)
- Profit-based organizations
- Fundraising events
- Conferences
- Projects outside of Canada
- Projects not solely or primarily focused on women, girls, trans, two-spirit, and nonbinary peoples
- Deficit or emergency funding
- Films or videos (unless this is part of a larger project)
- Capital expenditures
- Self-defense training (if it is the only component of the project)

Pre-proposal Conference:

View the Recently Recorded Webinars:

1. Demystifying Investment Readiness – Leveraging Social Finance & Investment Readiness Application Details
- Hosted in partnership with Innoweave, learn more about leveraging social finance, and gather detailed insights on the application and selection process for grants:

2. Introduction to the Investment Readiness Program, Social Finance and the Application Process
- Learn more about the Investment Readiness Program, social finance, social innovation, and the application and selection process. This webinar is in English:

Pre-Application Information:

*NEW* The deadline to apply has been extended from April 3, 2020 to April 9, 2020 11:59 PST Pacific Standard Time.

Application Decision Timeline 2020:
April 9, 2020: Applications due
April 13 – May 24, 2020: Review of applications & shortlisting proposals (by Staff and Advisory Committee)
May 25, 2020: Advisory Selection Committee meeting to review shortlist and make final recommendations to the board for approval
June 25, 2020: Board Approval of final grants selected
July 2020: Successful grantees notified
July 2020: Outstanding applicants notified

Please note that only one application per organization is accepted in this grant stream. Applications for cycle 3 will open in September 2020.

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Apply online:

Phone: 416-365-1444, Fax: 416-365-1745
Toll free: 1-866-293-4483, TY: 416-365-1732

For questions related to eligibility requirements, technical issues, troubleshooting, and/or the
online application process in the portal, please contact:

Phaedra Maicantis (Grants Administrator) ext. 263

Rifka Khalilieh (Grants Administrator) ext. 223

For substantive questions related to the proposed project, please contact:
Sagal Dualeh (Director, Investment Readiness) ext. 221

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

Canada: Alberta   British Columbia   Manitoba   New Brunswick   Newfoundland and Labrador   Northwest Territories   Nova Scotia   Nunavut   Ontario   Prince Edward Island   Quebec   Saskatchewan   Yukon

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