The Canadian Women's Foundation received $19.6 million to give as grants for women's and other organizations offering gender-based violence support. These grants were given from the federal government to help organizations deal with the surge in reported gender-based violence incidents during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Canadian Women's Foundation is Canada's public foundation for diverse women and girls. According to their website, the foundation funds programs across Canada that aim to support and help women and girls move out of poverty and violence and gain confidence in leadership.
Organizations can apply online for grants beginning from $10,000 up to $200,000. Organizations applying have to share why they need this money and how the grant will help them address the upswing in gender-based violence during the pandemic.
Andrea Gunraj, vice-president of public engagement at the Canadian Women's Foundation, said because of the pandemic, they have seen an increased risk of gender-based violence.
“This includes intimate partner abuse and sexual assault because that has really increased in terms of the risk,” Gunraj said. “This particular fund is just trying to address that risk by making sure that programs and services out there are addressing gender based violence, both in a preventative way, and an intervention way by having the funds to just continue working.”
Gunraj said the grants are specifically focused towards providing gender-based service support for women's organizations. Gunraj added that the foundation is encouraging applicants that support equity seeking groups such as First Nations, Metis, Inuit, black women and women with disabilities.
“We know that these are groups that experience higher rates of violence, and have less places to go for support,” Gunraj said. “We're really looking to encourage organizations that support these communities to apply. The fund is just an opportunity and support to those organizations in the emergency situation that we're in right now to make sure they continue providing services that can deal with the upswing of need that they've seen over the pandemic.”
The application deadline is Feb.15, but Gunraj said they are going to be distributing funds as soon as organizations submit their applications.
“If the applications come in and the money runs out by that point in time, obviously that deadline won't apply,” Gunraj said. “So we're asking people to please apply sooner than later to make sure that they get their needs articulated in the application.”
The foundation does not expect organizations to pay the grant back. The amount of the grant will depend on various factors such as the people's needs, the complexity in the communities and whether the applicants are receiving other funds.
Gunraj also stressed the importance that organizations in northern and rural communities apply for grants due to organizations having to deal with a large population over a large geographic area, which leads to higher risk of violence.
“We look to invest in the grassroots sector doing this work across the country in all regions and territories and provinces,” Gunraj said. “And we also look to build a movement and a thought leadership to change the way things work. So they're better for women, girls, and gender diverse people, and that it promotes gender equality in Canada.”
To apply or check eligibility criteria, visit https://canadianwomen.org/.