Wood Buffalo Community Foundation taking part in $40,000 Fund for Gender Equality

·2 min read

The Wood Buffalo Community Foundation (WBCF) is taking part in thge Fund for Gender Equality, which will grant a total of $40,000 to local organizations advancing gender equality throughout 2021 and 2022.

The grant program is in partnership with Community Foundations of Canada (CFC) and the Equality Fund, a national fund for women’s rights organizations. WBCF is one of 25 organizations taking part in the program, which is funded by the federal government.

Gaylene Weidlich, executive director for WBCF, said COVID-19 has shown the need for supporting issues related to women and gender-diverse peoples.

“Usually women are the ones who have a secondary income,” said Weidlich. “They are most likely to lose their job or have to quit because they have to take care of kids or elderly family members.”

Starting Nov. 3, WBCF will begin accepting applications from organizations that have demonstrated a long-term commitment to “empowering women, girls, Two-Spirit and gender-diverse people through their mission, activities or partnerships,” a Monday statement reads.

The grants can be used to back new initiatives, address long-standing community needs or fund COVID-19 recovery programs. They can tackle multiple areas, such as food insecurity, income inequality, racism or domestic violence.

Programs WBCF describes as “self-led,” or led by the same groups they focus on serving, will be prioritized. Applications will be reviewed in December and funding is expected to be issued in January.

According to an annual gender equality report from CFC, Indigenous women currently make 65 cents for every $1 a non-Indigenous man makes. Women with disabilities are making 54 cents for every $1 an able-bodied man makes.

The report was partially funded by the federal Women and Gender Equality Canada (WAGE), which is headed by Women and Gender Equality Minister Maryam Monsef.

By offering supports like the Gender Equality Fund, Weildlich hopes fighting this issue can help hasten this issue. For grassroots organizations like Girls Inc. of Northern Alberta, small grants can help smaller organizations struggling in the current economy.

“When COVID and the flooding hit, bigger and more visible organizations got to be heard sooner than we were,” said Nanase Tonda, executive director for Girls Inc. “We would appreciate if our voice would be featured a little more.”

swilliscraft@postmedia.com

Sarah Williscraft, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Fort McMurray Today