Community foundations have long committed to growing belonging and addressing inequality at the local level, and an increasing number of community foundations have specifically focused on reducing barriers to gender equality. Some have grants and scholarships that address inequalities between genders, and others have raised awareness about these inequalities through local thought leadership. Great examples including the 2018 Vital Topics reports by the Edmonton Community Foundation and Section 6 of the 2019 Vital Signs Report by the Prince George Community Foundation. 

In 2019, Community Foundations of Canada joined the Equality Fund and the Government of Canada on a multi-year collaboration to advance gender equality, known as the Pilot Fund for Gender Equality.

In early 2020, as a first step in this learning process, CFC collaborated with 26 community foundations to pilot this funding model and support early projects that advance gender equality locally and across Canada.

Through the Pilot Fund for Gender Equality, 112 projects were supported in 40 communities, highlighting a diversity of efforts and impact areas. Together, these projects reflect the pillars of #Peace, #Power, and #Planet, and share a commitment to shifting the power into the hands of women, girls, and trans* people with diverse lived experiences. 

CFC is working with participating community foundations and recipient organizations to capture learnings that will help inform future funding opportunities. More information about these learnings, as well as upcoming initiatives, will be available later in 2020. 

Here are some of the remarkable projects that advance gender equality through efforts committed to #Peace, #Power, and #Planet:

  • Hearing Her: Trafficked and exploited girls as policy and program leaders by YWCA Halifax (Halifax, NS) – This project will be a capacity building, collaborative, multi-sector training event for agencies working with women, girls and trans people who have been commercially sexually exploited (trafficked). The goals are to enhance collaboration, build community capacity and ensure law enforcement, and all agencies working with youth victims of sexual exploitation and human trafficking are engaging in ways which don’t re-victimize them, or place them at greater risk of harm as they are help-seeking. 
  • Cafés rencontres by Fondation La rue des femmes (Montréal, QC) – This project will involve a series of coffee-meetings that will create space for homeless women who are survivors of gender-based violence. The informal meetings will offer them opportunities to build connections, to understand the impact of violence and PTSD on their life, to rebuild their relational health, and regain confidence and autonomy. 
  • Support, Education, Empowerment, Developing Strategies (SEED)  for Trans, Gender Queer and Non-Binary Survivors by the Kawartha Sexual Assault Centre (Peterborough, ON) – SEED is a new six-week educational series for survivors that will focus on healing from sexual violence. The program is a psychoeducational series of workshops to help prepare survivors of sexual violence for counselling readiness. 
  • Fighting Cybermisogyny Through Law Reform by the Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund (Toronto, ON) – LEAF’s cybermisogyny project will bring together leading experts in technology-facilitated violence against women (TFVAWG) from across the country to propose a feminist law reform response to the growing issue of cybermisogyny. Through research and collaboration with experts, the project will explore the current laws and regulations that apply to technology companies, and ways that those laws and regulations could be used to limit TFVAWG and hold technology companies accountable.  LEAF will use this project to develop an equality-based legal framework for its law reform work and strategic litigation on issues involving cybermisogyny.
  • Healing our Hearts by the Elizabeth Fry Society (Calgary, Alberta) – A film project that is guided by Elders and Knowledge Keepers, which will allow the families of Murdered and Missing Women and Girls to tell their stories. Through film, the project will work to support understanding and restore power and place as indicated in the Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women – Final Report. 
  • Gender Inclusivity in the Workplace: A Practical Guide by the Centre for Race and Culture (Edmonton, AB) – This project aims to design and develop a practical guide for gender inclusivity in the workplace. Using an intersectional approach, the guide will provide knowledge and practical tools and strategies to help frontline service providers, teams and leaders in the non-profit sector. Topics will include gender equity and gender inclusivity; ways to apply a gender lens to policy, programming and service delivery; and practical ideas for challenging gender-based discrimination, sexism, and homo/trans-phobia at work.
  • Women Deserve to be Heard, Inside and Out by the Ooknakane Friendship Centre (Penticton and Oliver, BC) – This pilot project responds to a gap in services for women being held on remand at the Okanagan Correctional Centre, where there are currently no services specifically dedicated to women. This project will ensure that women in the Correctional Centre can work with a mental health worker and an Elder to receive support, pre-treatment, and counselling. The women will also receive support in navigating the system, and better understanding their situation and the services  available to them. The program itself will be led by a woman who has personal experience in the criminal justice system, who will be able to provide first-hand guidance and non-judgmental support.
  • Pitquhirnikkut Ilihautiniq / Kitikmeot Heritage Society (Cambridge Bay, NU) – The project will see Inuinnait women engage in woman-to-woman knowledge transfer to learn the process of making atigikala (dress covers) in order to have a garment to wear for special events and occasions. This project will create opportunities for women to connect, to share traditional knowledge, to feel empowered, and to make space for Inuit cultural expression. 

The full list of projects will be shared at a later date. Keep an eye on this page for future updates!

For more information about CFC’s collaborative efforts to advance gender equality, contact

The Pilot Fund for Gender Equality is part of a collaboration between Community Foundations of Canada and the Equality Fund, with support from the Government of Canada.