The Government of Canada is investing over $1.6 million in six women’s organizations in Ontario, including the Community YWCA of Muskoka and the Couchiching Jubilee House in Orillia, according to an announcement from Maryam Monsef, minister of International Development, minister for Women and Gender Equality, and MP for Peterborough-Kawartha, on April 25.
The organizations are six of over 250 women’s organizations and Indigenous organizations receiving funding under the government’s Capacity-building Fund. The investment stems from the 2018 budget announcement of $100 million over five years to support a viable and sustainable women’s movement across Canada. Community YWCA of Muskoka is receiving $199,021 for a green energy project, which requires the creation and staffing of a development team to direct the pilot and possibly develop additional energy projects. The Couchiching Jubilee House (CJH) will receive $228,190 for a new funding plan to help ensure their services for women in Orillia are not interrupted due to financial shortcomings. The other four Ontario organizations receiving funding are Huronia Transition Homes, Luke’s Place Support and Resource Centre for Women and Children, Elizabeth Fry Society of Peterborough and Women’s Resources of Kawartha Lakes.
“With this historic investment, we recognize the women and women’s organizations breaking through barriers and we express our gratitude to those who have been doing this work for decades on little more than a shoestring budget,” Monsef said. “The women’s movement across Canada has been asking for a reliable, predictable and accessible source of funds to ensure the sustainability of their work. Our government listened.”
The investment in the YWCA of Muskoka will increase collaboration between the organization, the community and its members, while developing sustainable community resources, according to the announcement. The funding will be shared among project initiatives aimed at building capacity and expertise for leadership, conservation and sustainable funding to ensure the YWCA can continue to serve the women and girls of the region for years to come.
“Our future is in sustainability – organizations like ours work and grow with the community every day to improve women’s lives and advance gender equality,” said YWCA of Muskoka Executive Director Hannah Lin. “The need for stable funding to achieve our goals is being met by this new investment from the federal government. It’s so important to have a funding partner that understands and fulfills our need for long-term planning: this will ensure the services we provide will always be there for the women we help and for the community to enjoy.”
For CJH, the investment means that at least three additional and sustainable funding sources will be in place with an expected increase in donations of 20 per cent. The funding will go toward strengthening the existing infrastructure, professional networking, building a planned giving program and establishing a social enterprise model. It will also allow for ongoing research and a review of practices to align the new organizational capacity with the growing needs of the community.
“Our challenge has never been lack of passion for helping women and children but funding the work that we do. A stable stream of operational funding is crucial to continuing to deliver programs and services that our community desperately needs,” said CJH Development Coordinator Courtney Willis. “We are pleased to see that the Government of Canada understands and supports this challenge, and has responded to our needs by investing in our organization over the long-term. Over the next few years, we will develop internal sustainable funding models to ensure our services are always available to the women and children who need our help.”
For more information about the funding in Ontario, click here.