How We Fund

At its core, transformative grantmaking is about much more than shifting resources—it is about shifting power. But for too long, funders have actually harmed movements by reinforcing old power dynamics, keeping money and control at the top, creating competition for short-term, heavily-restricted funding, and assuming expertise and vision come from outside movements, rather than from within.

At the Equality Fund, we know that lasting change happens at the intersection of what we fund and how we fund. We are working hard to build new and better philanthropic practices that are rooted in feminist values and support and nurture feminist change.

And we’re not alone. We gain inspiration from so many others in the feminist funding ecosystem who are building powerful new visions for philanthropy. At the global level, our sister women’s funds in the Prospera, the international network of women’s funds share good practices and lessons in feminist grantmaking. We are also inspired by the work of the Astraea Foundation for Lesbian Justice and their pathbreaking work on feminist funding principles, as well as Philanthropy Advancing Women’s Human Rights (PAWHR), who mentor us and act as bold champions for women’s rights and feminist funding across philanthropy.

 

Here in Canada, we are proud to partner with the Canadian Women’s Foundation (CWF) and Community Foundations of Canada (CFC), including one of its members, the Toronto Foundation. Together, we have released Principles for Feminist Funding, a document that outlines our vision of feminist donor partners working to undo patriarchal and colonial structures and build new relationships and movements. It also sets out the type of funding that we aim to provide to our grantee partners: core, flexible, and predictable support that respects their time and well-being.

Finally, we recognize that funding is just one of the ways that we can help to shift lasting power to our grantee partners. We also work together to strengthen shared capacity and knowledge, advance joint advocacy efforts, and build new relationships and alliances across our growing movements. Standing side-by-side with movement leaders, united in solidarity and shared purpose, we are co-creating a lasting infrastructure for transformative change.

 

EF partner CRTD.A gathered together writing on a large paper

Accountability to global feminist movements

Across all of this work, consultation with feminist organizations and movements—and accountability to their agendas and priorities—is key. In May 2020, we concluded a global consultation process in partnership with the Association of Women’s Rights in Development (AWID), gathering the input of more than 1,000 activists and organizers from over 65 countries.

We heard important recommendations from feminist leaders and activists that are informing our grantmaking approaches—such as the need for clear and accessible application processes; the importance of tailored levels of funding to accommodate a diverse range of organizations; and the value of involving movements and communities in decision-making. The Equality Fund is committed to transparency, active listening, and learning as we continue to build our grantmaking processes in the years ahead.

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