$5.3 million coming to Lower Mainland organizations that help women

Mar 30 2019, 2:50 am

Fourteen organizations across the Lower Mainland are set to receive a combined total of $5.3 million in funding to “ensure women’s and Indigenous organizations can continue providing essential supports to women and their families.”

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It’s part of the 2018 Budget pledge of $100-million over five years to support a viable and sustainable women’s movement across Canada.

The announcement was made in Vancouver this week by Maryam Monsef, Canada’s Minister of International Development and Minister for Women and Gender Equality.

Monsef announced the funding at the YWCA Metro Vancouver.

“I consider myself a YWCA baby,” Monsef told Daily Hive during a sit-down interview afterwards.  “They took my family and I in when we first moved to Peterborough (Ont.); there was a YWCA there that supported us.”

She then started volunteering for them, was soon a member of their board, “then I was their VP, then I got elected,” she said. “I’ve seen from my own experience what these organizations do in terms of saving lives and transforming them.”

Through her time in office, as well as through travelling the country and meeting with a variety of these types of organizations, Monsef said she’s “learned a lot” about them.

“They know the shortcuts, they have the solutions, they have networks on the ground, they actually are on the front lines, so they have a really good idea of what works and what doesn’t,” she said. “They also have this magical ability to stretch every dollar to its absolute maximum potential.”

Monsef said that in 2015, she and people like her working in various women’s organizations were hindered “because the federal government investments in these types of efforts was contingent upon their advocacy or lack thereof.”

Essentially, this meant “there were strings attached to these dollars; ‘we’ll give you money as long as you don’t advocate on behalf of the people you represent.'”

Monsef said this approach to funding these types of organizations didn’t make any sense.

“That’s their job and a lot of voices haven’t been heard for a long time,” she furthered. “Up until now, they’ve been given things like 12-month or 24-month project-based dollars.”

And while these dollars are important, she said, “it’s left these organizations across the country scrambling to fit into projects and apply for a bunch of dollars that they don’t even necessarily always get either – because funding has been omitted– instead of focusing on the work that they need to do.”

As such, she explained, “the whole point of this funding was to respond to what I heard across the country.”

Monsef noted the funding “is the single largest investment of its kind in women’s organizations in Canada’s history.”

The organizations set to receive this federal funding include:

  • Coalition of Child Care Advocates of BC;
  • Ending Violence Association of BC.;
  • Ending Violence Association of Canada;
  • Justice for Girls Outreach Society;
  • Métis Provincial Council of British Columbia;
  • Minerva Foundation for BC Women;
  • North Shore Women’s Centre Society;
  • Society for Canadian Women in Science and Technology;
  • ShEvalesco Female Empowerment Association;
  • Supporting Women’s Alternative Network Society;
  • West Coast LEAF Association;
  • WISH Drop-in Centre Society;
  • Women Transforming Cities International Society; and
  • Young Women’s Christian Association of Vancouver.

With the funding announcement, Monsef said the expectation is that “the seeds we’re planting today and the work that we enable them to do, we’re going to reap the rewards of these dollars for generations to come.”

Eric ZimmerEric Zimmer

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