Designed by women, for women, the Equality Fund brings together philanthropists, investors and government to deliver unparalleled resources supporting gender equality outcomes in Canada and around the world
OTTAWA, June 2, 2019 /CNW/ - Today, 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.
"Women's rights are challenged the world over. With the Equality Fund, Canadians are shifting the power to women's rights organizations and supporting women pushing back against the push back. Behind this effort is Canada's best in philanthropy, feminist leadership, banking and investment, and international development. Canada is now the leading donor for women's rights and gender equality globally," said the Honourable Maryam Monsef, Minister of International Development and Minister for Women and Gender Equality.
"This is a historic moment in the fight for equality around the world: Together with global partners, Canada and Canadians have an opportunity to create a lasting legacy to catalyze new investments and partnerships in support of gender equality," said Jessica Houssian, Senior Advisor to Women Moving Millions and Equality Fund co-founder.
"Money is a very specific type of power, and we believe that one of the most powerful things we can do is move significant money into the hands of women leaders driving change in their communities. Canada and the world can do more to shift power in this way," said Theo Sowa, CEO of The African Women's Development Fund.
"With women's funds, community foundations, large philanthropic institutions, high net worth philanthropists, a leading Canadian bank, an impact fund manager and venture capital aligned, it is unprecedented to have this diversity of willing partners working to reach the ambitious goal of generating new assets to tackle gender inequality - for once and for all," said The MATCH Fund President & CEO and Equality Fund co-founder, Jess Tomlin.
"The global conversation about women is clear: invest in women and the ripple effect can be felt everywhere. That is just as true whether that woman is in Scarborough, Iqaluit or Nairobi. We must connect the dots global to local, and community foundations deeply understand this fact," said Sharon Avery, President & CEO of Toronto Foundation.
"As a movement and a sector, we have come to recognize that no single organization or donor is going to solve the world's most complex problems. Only by working together, can we achieve our bold aspirations," said Andrea Dicks, CFC's Chief Operating Officer.
"Calvert Impact Capital is committed to scaling the practice of investing with a gender-lens. The opportunity to work with a diverse group of like-minded partners to leverage significant amounts of funds from across capital spectrum is exciting. Together, we have the potential to create an outsized impact and demonstrate the power of gender equity." Jennifer Pryce, President & CEO, Calvert Impact Capital
"This is an opportunity to tackle systemic inequality once and for all. The solutions we need are both local and global, and Canada has much to learn and gain from The Equality Fund collaboration. The women's movement in Canada will be stronger and more resilient as a result," said Paulette Senior, President and CEO, Canadian Women's Foundation.
"RBC is a purpose-driven organization, and how we act is just as important as what we achieve. We are so proud to be bringing our expertise in sustainable finance and our passion for social good to the Equality Fund, driving social impact and bringing our purpose of helping clients thrive and communities prosper to life," said Valerie Chort, Vice President, Corporate Citizenship, RBC.
"The Equality Fund is innovative in how it will leverage impact investing to drive positive change by shifting power and yielding profits," said Sophie Gupta, Yaletown Principal and Equality Fund co-founder. "We will use social finance as a tool to deploy investment capital to scale systems transformations for gender equality while generating financial returns for investors."
"We are proud of the partners who have gathered as part of this collective. We believe that, by bringing together a group of organizations in this way, we not only support true strides towards gender equality, we build capacity within the sector for stronger collaboration in the future," said Keely Tongate, PAWHR Co-Director.
"WUSC is proud to partner on this ambitious, Canadian-led initiative to build social change and advance gender equality at scale," said Chris Eaton, Executive Director, WUSC. "We are excited about the ways in which this innovative fund can support young women in the global South to create a more inclusive, equitable, and sustainable future.
"Oxfam Canada is thrilled to be joining this historic initiative," said Julie Delahanty, Executive Director of Oxfam Canada. "Evidence shows that the most consistent factor driving change on gender equality is feminist activism and the strength of local women's organizations, yet women's organizations around the world are chronically underfunded. The Equality Fund will leverage unprecedented resources to support the life-saving and ground-breaking work of these organizations."
SOURCE Equality Fund
For further information: or interviews with Equality Fund leadership, please contact Ann Elisabeth Samson at (647) 880-8237 or [email protected] For more information or to donate, www.equalityfund.ca