LEAP launches The Equity Opportunity to advance women's economic wellbeing

19 August 2022 Consulting.ca 2 min. read

Pecaut Centre for Social Impact (LEAP), a Toronto-based charity focusing on non-profit sector management consulting, has opened the application period for its new initiative “The Equity Opportunity: Advancing Women’s Economic Well-Being.” The new program aims to build a more equitable and resilient future for women from equity-deserving communities by funding and supporting related social ventures.

The pandemic amplified existing inequities for women, especially in racialized communities. The pandemic had a pronounced negative impact on sectors and jobs (e.g. hospitality and retail, part-time) likelier to be held by women. Resultant inflation has also further squeezed low-income people (likeliest to be racialized women) who devote more of their overall paycheque to spiraling categories like food, rent, and transportation.

According to a recent report from LEAP – “Advancing Women’s Economic Well-Being” – enabling economic independence for women is one of the highest value investments a society can make. The report defines wellbeing as the ability to meet basic needs including housing, food, and transportation.

LEAP launches The Equity Opportunity to advance women's economic wellbeing

“We believe that a return to the pre-pandemic status quo is not enough,” said Joan Dea, board chair of LEAP and chair of The Equity Opportunity. “As business leaders, we have the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of women in Canada by breaking the long-standing barriers that prevent them from achieving full participation in the economy. We are excited to embark on this journey to change the lives of women in Canada.”

The Equity Opportunity program will select up to 10 high-impact social ventures and over the course of five years will provide them with funding, strategic and operational support, coaching, and pro bono professional services from LEAP’s sector partners. The charity’s partners include Boston Consulting Group, EY, McCarthy Tétrault, Hill+Knowlton Strategies Canada, Marts & Lundy, and Google.org.

Based on LEAP’s track record, the organization expects to grow each social venture between 4x and 10x.

The Equity Opportunity has received financial support from companies including BMO Financial Group, Manulife, RBC Foundation, Scotiabank, and TD Bank Group. Fundraising for the program is ongoing.

“By leveraging the power of collaboration inherent in our venture philanthropy approach, we will build a web of support for the social ventures to help them scale their impact,” said Dr. Lorna Read, managing director, LEAP.

The program will prioritize social ventures working with women in equity-deserving groups – including racialized, Indigenous, immigrants, low-income, disabled, lone parents, and LGBT+.

Applications are being accepted on LEAP’s website until September 6.