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Women 4 Change

Donate or renew your Women 4 Change contribution here.


What is Women 4 Change?

Women 4 Change was established in 2012 by a group of local women who came together with HCF in a mission to inspire and enable the women of Hamilton to become leaders in philanthropy, while improving the lives of women and girls in our community through collective giving.

The founders of Women 4 Change envisioned an initiative where contributors would work collaboratively to achieve transformational change. They established a field-of-interest fund at Hamilton Community Foundation, to which each person contributes annually, as the for making annual grants to local organizations will be made. Women 4 Change contributors meet throughout the year for educational sessions and site visits to see the impact they are making in the lives of women and girls.

How will we make a difference?

Women 4 Change has a dual focus: philanthropic leadership among Hamilton’s women and improving the lives of women and girls in this community. This is central to how we make grants and how the contributors are engaged throughout the year. By joining together in these efforts, we can create greater impact and make a difference.

Early research undertaken by Women 4 Change in 2018 shows that women and girls in Hamilton face gender-specific issues and concerns that impede them from thriving. From this research, we have included some notable facts below:

  • There is a significant disparity in full-time employment in Hamilton, with only 39% of women holding full-time jobs compared to 64% of men.
  • Women are underrepresented in leadership positions across Hamilton at the highest levels of local public sector institutions, as well as in the corporate sector.
  • In Hamilton, around 12% of seniors aged 65 years and older live in poverty conditions. For older women, poverty rates increase substantially by age, and those aged 75 years and over have the highest rate in the city.

Women 4 Change has commissioned subsequent studies that are used to deepen the group’s understanding of key issues and needs in the community, as well as best and potential approaches. They focused on:

Along with these research, The Canadian Mental Health Association produced a report that may also be of interest.

Building on this knowledge, in October 2021, W4C made a grant of $40,000 to the YWCA and a partnership of more than 10 community organizations to support a pilot program for women’s safe consumption. The program aims to provide a safety net to reduce the number of overdoses and fatalities among women in Hamilton, which have escalated to alarming levels since 2020. Safe consumption spaces, such as the YWCA Hamilton’s Safer Drug Space, offer vital health-care resources for improving the health and well-being of women. In these spaces, women who use drugs and are experiencing homelessness can have access to safe supplies and needles that reduce the risk of contracting infectious diseases from injecting drugs, and a safe space to stay while they are under the influence, which reduces their own and the community’s risk.

The funds provided by W4C will be used for staffing, peer support and administration costs related to implementing and monitoring the pilot.. HCF staff will stay in contact with the YWCA Hamilton (and the collaborative) to learn how its work is evolving over the next six months.


Women 4 Change’s granting strategy focuses efforts on key transition points in the lives of women: late childhood and adolescence, the transition to economic independence, motherhood and family life, and aging well. To date, W4C has granted over $368,445 to 36 projects.

Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board Foundation
Girls ONLY Program – $10,000.00
2018 cont’d
Industry Education Council of Hamilton
Computer/coding workshops for women – $9,986.00
Fit Active Beautiful (FAB) Foundation
Expansion of FAB Riverdale Site -$5,000.00
Healing Arts and Recovery with Peer Support
Supporting grant and tenant engagement – $15,000.00
Liberty for Youth
Bright Choices for Girls Program – $5,000.00
Welcome Inn Community Centre Training program
New Horizons Thrift Store – $10,000.00
Queen Victoria School
Girls Only Program & Girls Only Camp – $5,500.00
McMaster Trip – $3,247.00
Youth and Philanthropy Initiative Canada
W4C Youth Engagement Award – $5,000.00
YMCA Newcomer Youth Centre – $5,000.00
St. Joseph Immigrant Women’s Centre
Back to School Moms – $3,000.00
YWCA Hamilton
Good Beginnings – $15,000.00
Hamilton East Kiwanis Boys’ and Girls’ Club
Enhancements for girls’ programming – $35,000.00
Welcome Inn Community Centre Training program
New Horizons Thrift Store – $10,000.00
Fit Active Beautiful (FAB) Foundation
Riverdale expansion – $5,000.00
Youth and Philanthropy Initiative Canada
Youth Engagement Awards – $10,000.00
Hamilton East Kiwanis Boys’ and Girls’ Club
Enhancement’s for girls programming – $35,000.00
Healing Arts and Recovery with Peer Support
Supporting grant and tenant engagement – $15,000.00
Industry Education Council of Hamilton
Coding boot camp for women – $10,000.00
Immigrants Working Centre
Access to employment certification – $5,000.00
Legal Holistic Pilot Project c/o Social Planning Research Council
Supporting grant – $2,000.00
The Baby Depot

Supporting grant – $10,000.00
YWCA Hamilton
Good Beginnings – $5,000.00
Elizabeth Fry Society
Safety planning – $10,000.00
Hamilton Council on Aging
Senior Women4Change Learning Series – $8,000.00
Industry Education Council of Hamilton
Small Business Foundations – $ 9,660.00
Hamilton East Kiwanis Boys’ and Girls’ Club
GirlsZONE – $29,280.00
Mission Services of Hamilton
Willow’s Place – $10,000.00
Shalem Mental Health Network
Seniors program – $9,572.00
YWCA Hamilton
Good Beginnings – $9,600.00
YWCA Hamilton
Bones Plus – $8,000.00
YWCA Hamilton
Safer Drug Space – $40,000

How can I get involved?

Supporters of Women 4 Change are asked to make an annual donation of $1,500 ($500 for contributors 40 and under). Donations are split to provide:

  • 67% for a granting pool, which is spread over a three-year period;
  • 23% to build a permanent endowment fund; and
  • 10% to cover administration of the giving circle

Grants will be made to organizations whose goals match those of the Women 4 Change fund at Hamilton Community Foundation. There will be an annual program of education and other events that all contributors will be invited to attend. Additional opportunities for involvement may be presented to contributors from time to time as appropriate.

Here’s what some of our current contributors are saying about Women 4 Change:

“Being a mother of two girls, it has always been important to me to empower girls to believe in their potential despite the odds and barriers. The W4C vision resonates with my societal goals for girls and women in our community.”

“Women 4 Change has brought together a group of people who all have experiences and knowledge to share. Women 4 Change means taking a thoughtful and intentional approach to how I contribute my support.”

“Women 4 Change has helped me to understand the issues and challenges for women and girls in our community and more importantly, the programs and initiatives, validated by research, which can impact them.”

“It means making change, investing in people and ideas that change lives; cultivating a culture of giving, and becoming part of a network that inspires others to find creative solutions.”

“Philanthropy is not about money, but rather the joy of seeing how collective impact as a whole can enhance our community.”

To learn more about W4C, please email Lissette Nunez-Gomez or call 905.523.5600 x246.