A Year of Feminist Evolution

What exactly is the “Design and Build” Phase?

Rome wasn’t built in a day, but if feminists were building it—it might have taken two. Since you last heard from us, we have been busy designing and building the Equality Fund with the support of collective members and supportive allies and networks. We are building structures and programs to turn our ambitious vision into reality. We are calling this important work our “Design and Build” phase.

We are working on several fronts at the same time:

Building the Equality Fund organization

 The Equality Fund is a totally new model, a multi-sector approach to supporting gender equality—led by women’s funds, investment mavens, and some of the world’s bravest feminist philanthropists. Knowing that no sector alone can achieve gender equality, the Equality Fund was born out of a collective partnership between 11 organizations who came together to respond to the Government of Canada’s call for their Partnership for Gender Equality. Now, we are turning that collective proposal into an organization with several major programs all under one virtual roof: grantmaking, philanthropy, and investment. (And yes, all feminist!)

We began our bold building journey with establishing an organizational home. Since The MATCH International Women’s Fund incubated and led the Equality Fund concept and proposal, the Board decided to evolve The MATCH Fund into the Equality Fund organization. Now that the Equality Fund exists as an organization—with The MATCH Fund’s 40+ years of experience in feminist grantmaking as Canada’s only women’s fund under our belt—we are building our philanthropy and investment programs to completely reimagine the landscape of those sectors. For those who have supported The MATCH Fund, this is so much more than a name change…it’s an evolution to a new organization with the same values at a much larger scale.

Securing and celebrating new funding 

This November, our key partner PAWHR (Philanthropists Advancing Women’s Human Rights) and the Ford Foundation co-hosted a celebratory launch for the Equality Fund in New York.

At a beautiful event, Nicky McIntyre announced that the Foundation for a Just Society and its sister fund FJS Foundation International would support the EF with a combined grant of 3.5 million USD. Nicolette Naylor from Ford Foundation announced a grant to the EF for 2 million USD.

The party was a gorgeous celebration with women’s funds, PAWHR members, philanthropists, investors (all feminists!) and even featured the amazing talents of Mumu Fresh. This event was our first outside of Canada and was followed by another introduction to the Equality Fund in London.

I truly believe that the Equality Fund is a massive opportunity… to create a new model, one that could really be a systems change, an innovation and a shift away from tired models that we know no longer work. To build something together that is big, sustainable and feminist.

Nicky McEntyre, CEO, Foundation for a Just Society

Beginning consultations

Building the Equality Fund would not be possible without the insights and support of our incredible networks and allies. As part of our commitment to ensure feminist accountability, we are collaborating with the Association for Women’s Rights in International Development (AWID) to hold a series of consultations with feminist organizers and key partners around the world.

These consultations will weave our accountability to feminist movements into every fibre of the Equality Fund’s design and cover topics including grantmaking strategy, philanthropic and feminist resource mobilization strategies, investment mechanisms and feminist oversight, and feminist accountability.

The consultations have begun and will continue over the coming months—including both online discussions, surveys, and small, in-person convenings to gather input and recommendations for creating all three aspects of the Equality Fund.

Establishing our partnership with the Government of Canada 

The announcement of the Partnership for Gender Equality in June 2019 was only the beginning of our partnership with the Government of Canada. We have been working alongside Global Affairs Canada to establish the structure, agreement, and form of our ongoing working relationship, including negotiating and signing a contribution agreement.

With this important work behind us, we can now turn our attention to building the expertise, systems, and strategies to propel the Equality Fund into becoming the largest women’s fund in history. It’s time to roll up our sleeves and get to work building the world we want to live in—a world where women’s rights are well-funded for generations to come.

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