The current political environment sentences women-centred initiatives to an interminable, brain-numbing round of application for short-term, narrowly-defined grants. Over the last ten years, the Canadian Women's Foundation has been inventing an alternative. Its collaborative, multi-year approach to financing creates a learning community among the donors, the grant recipients, and, with time, the whole community sector.
"It's an old story. Short-term, project-based funding hampers anyone & anything that strives to provide holistic, integrated services to meet women's gender-specific needs over the long term. Our challenge at the CWF was, as it is now, to find a way to do things differently. We knew that change takes longer, and that to be effective, CED by and for women needs more time and more support than a modest annual grant. As a public foundation without an endowment, we raise our entire operating budget each year, including the funds earmarked for grants. So we could not responsibly commit to multi-year grants on our own - we needed others to join with us."