The Canadian-led Equality Fund, in partnership with the Canadian government, has announced that it has mobilized C$100 million ($74.4 million) in initial investments to advance gender equality.
A first-of-its-kind funder collaborative that will combine feminist grantmaking, multi-sector philanthropy, and a new gender-lens investment arm, the Equality Fund aims to leverage capital provided by philanthropists, impact investors, and government to break down historic barriers to investment in advancing equality. Members of the collaborative include the MATCH International Women's Fund, the African Women's Development Fund, Calvert Impact Capital, the Canadian Women's Foundation, Community Foundations of Canada, Philanthropy for Advancing Women's Human Rights, the Royal Bank of Canada, the Toronto Foundation, World University Service of Canada, Oxfam Canada, and Yaletown Partners.
The fund plans to mobilize a minimum of C$1 billion over the next fifteen years, with a grantmaking approach based on three core themes — shifting power, building peace, and protecting the planet — in support of women's organizations and movements in Canada and around the world. The fund's investment strategy will leverage social finance as a tool to scale and transform systems for gender equality and also will support capacity building by providing access to best-in-class resources, training, and guidance.
"This is a historic moment in the fight for equality around the world," said Jessica Houssian, Equality Fund co-founder and senior advisor to Women Moving Millions. "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."
"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," said African Women's Development Fund CEO Theo Sowa. "Canada and the world can do more to shift power in this way."