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The Girls' Fund - The Canadian Women's Foundation

The Canadian Women’s Foundation is Canada’s public foundation for women and girls. The Foundation empowers women and girls in Canada to move out of violence, out of poverty and into confidence.  

Since 2006 the Foundation has been funding girls programs through the Girls’ Fund. In the initial pilot phase the Foundation awarded six program grants and two network grants for three years, to develop resiliency among girls aged 9 to 13. Based on the positive results from the pilot phase, the Girls’ Fund continued into Phase 2 and was able to expand and award 12 program grants and two network grants, for girls aged 9 to 13. The results from the evaluation were again very positive and the Girls’ Fund was able to expand once again. In this third phase of the Girls’ Fund (2012-2016), the Foundation is investing almost $8 million in 28 programs, operating in 56 communities across Canada. The grantee organizations differ with respect to their foci including: science, technology, engineering and math (STEM); physical activity and nutrition; leadership and empowerment; media; and those that focus on Aboriginal/Inuit culture.  

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Karen Hayward has been involved in the evaluation of the Girls' Fund since the pilot phase and Judit Alcalde became involved in the second phase. Together they have co-led the evaluation which has involved managing and implementing the evaluation of programs for girls aged 9 to 13 across the country (28 programs in the last funding cycle). The evaluation involves a mixed qualitative and quantitative framework to assess the process and outcomes of the programs. Together with the research team that also includes Pytor Hodgson and Lynzii Taibossigai from Three Things Consulting, and Dr. Colleen Loomis from Wilfrid Laurier University, Judit and Karen have worked with the Girls’ Fund grantee organizations to develop age and culturally appropriate tools to collect information from girls, their parents, mentors, staff and program alumnae. The evaluation’s mixed qualitative and quantitative methodology has included individual and group interviews, online and paper surveys, and art-based data collection tools. They have trained staff and research assistants from the grantee organizations on the development of program logic models and the data collections process (e.g. interviewing skills). They have also been involved, extensive data analysis and knowledge translation including overall reports for the Foundation, individual agency reports, as well as presentations to the grantees, donors and the Girls Fund Committee.