Innovative New Canadian Initiative Will Mobilize Unprecedented Funds towards Gender Equality

OTTAWA, ON-The Canadian-led Equality Fund stepped forward to accelerate outcomes for women by breaking down historic barriers to investment and supporting gender equality globally. The ground-breaking collaboration combines international feminist grant-making, multi-sector philanthropy and a new innovative investment arm, the impact of which will transform and sustain funding for women's organizations and movements well beyond 2030.  The Equality Fund has mobilized initial investments of $100 million to partner with the $300 million multi-year funding award from the Government of Canada announced today.

This model is the first of its kind. Designed to move beyond traditional charity funding, the Equality Fund will unleash and leverage capital from diverse sources while a bold philanthropic strategy will activate unparalleled Canadian and international resources, including support from individual donors. The vision is uniquely Canadian since it merges two common values: to support women at home in our own communities and the desire to make a difference in the larger world. By weaving strong domestic organizations into the model from the outset, the consortium creates a legacy of Canadian leadership.

The Equality Fund collective is made up of The MATCH International Women's Fund (The MATCH Fund), along with ten partners – the African Women's Development Fund (AWDF), Calvert Impact Capital, the Canadian Women's Foundation (CWF), Community Foundations of Canada (CFC), Philanthropy for Advancing Women's Human Rights (PAWHR), Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), Toronto Foundation, World University Service of Canada WUSC), Oxfam Canada and Yaletown Partners. Members all share common values yet offer unique organizational strengths.

  • The MATCH International Women's Fund provides cutting-edge feminist grant-making experience, as well as Canadian philanthropy expertise to lead the design and build of the Equality Fund in collaboration with its partners.

  • The African Women's Development Fund brings southern leadership to the Equality Fund and is a key partner shaping grant-making and philanthropic strategies.

  • Calvert Impact Capital has nearly 25 years' experience investing private debt into impact opportunities around the globe with a gender lens.

  • The Canadian Women's Foundation offers deep expertise on women's rights in Canada and will support the design and execution of the Canadian strategy.

  • Community Foundations of Canada brings an extensive, place-based network of philanthropists and communities that are already deeply engaged in and working towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including gender equality (goal 5).

  • Philanthropy Advancing Women's Rights (PAWHR) provides thought leadership, strategic advice and mentorship for grant-making, investment and strategic philanthropy.

  • Toronto Foundation brings significant financial management and investment experience to the Equality Fund and will serve as its fiduciary sponsor and partner.

  • RBC adds scale, as one of the world's largest banks based on market capitalization, and expertise in responsible investing and sustainable finance, providing advice and counsel on how to structure and manage the Equality Fund.

  • Yaletown Partners lends their technical expertise and sectoral thought leadership.

  • WUSC and Oxfam Canada bring decades of international development experience, as well as a demonstrated track record and strong systems for channeling resources and building programs in the Global South. WUSC will support the Equality Fund as it builds its financial and operational systems.

With the partnership announced today, the Equality Fund will activate a minimum of $1B over the next fifteen years. In addition to launching a sustainable and transformative investment model, the grant-making approach will be based on three core themes – shifting power, building peace, protecting the planet – and support women's movements and organizations in Canada and around the world.