Change The World

Slaight Family Donates $15 Million To Support Women And Girls

via PIH Canada

Founded in 2008 by broadcaster Allan Slaight, the Slaight Family Foundation is a shining example of Canadian kindness. The foundation is a philanthropic organization that donates millions in no-strings-attached money to non-profit organizations in Canada and around the world.

In 2013, the foundation started a multi-year initiative to highlight different humanitarian causes in Canada and abroad. Each year, a specific sector is chosen by the foundation to receive a multi-million dollar donation. The donation is spread out among multiple non-profit organizations that champion each year’s cause.

The foundation kicked off this initiative in 2013 with donations to five Toronto hospitals supporting priority health care issues. Over the next seven years, the Slaight Family Foundation has donated $95 million to over 75 organizations in Canada and abroad helping to advance healthcare research, improving the lives of at risk youth, supporting the creation of new Canadian works of art, providing bursaries to students in need of financial aid, promoting healthy development for Canadian children and youth, supporting Indigenous issues, and providing basic necessities to people in developing countries. In 2019, the foundation partnered with the Allan Slaight Seniors’ Fund at the United Way Toronto and donated $30 million to an initiative helping to keep seniors in their homes.

For 2020, the Slaight Family Foundation is championing the rights of impoverished women and girls in developing countries. The #SlaightWomenAndGirls initiative was launched on March 8th to mark International Women’s Day. In total, the initiative will donate $1 million each to 15 international organizations that support and champion women and girls living in poverty for a $15 million dollar total.

School girls in blue dresses
via Crossroads International

Organizations that will benefit from the donation included the Canadian Red Cross, Save the Children, World Vision, UNICEF Canada, and Crossroads International. These organizations encompass a wide range of issues affecting women and girls but are largely focused on improving women’s and girls’ access to healthcare, education, and legal aid in fragile, poverty-stricken, or conflict-affected areas around the world. These organizations work to eliminate human rights abuses, child marriages, recruitment of child soldiers and sex trafficking, as well as providing legal support, feminine hygiene management for girls with genital mutilation, and improved access to education and HIV/AIDS prevention services.

“The aim of this gift is to improve conditions for women and girls living in difficult circumstances, who represent some of the world’s most vulnerable populations,” says Gary Slaight, CEO of Slaight Communications. “The projects we are funding will leverage the expertise of these vital organizations to protect women and girls in the most fragile countries from direct harm, rebuild the lives of those who have been unjustly affected by conflict, deprivation, and disease, and give them the tools and support they need to survive and thrive.”

Via: War Child Canada

Other organizations supported by the donation include The Romeo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative which works to reduce child soldier recruitment and conflict-based sexual violence and the War Child Program which provides legal aid to victims of gender-based violence in Afghanistan, Uganda, and Iraq. Funding has also been given to a Human Rights Watch program documenting the abuses of male guardianship of women in the Middle East and North Africa.

Many of the organizations supported by the Slaight Family Foundation this year are committed to empowering women and girls, providing opportunities for them to become active in their communities using their unique lived knowledge to improve and support other women living in similar circumstances. A prime example of this is the work being done by AIDS Free World. The organization is working to develop an app for Sub-Saharan Africa that will allow women from local communities with lived experience of sexual violence to answer questions and provide solutions to others living under the threat of sexual violence.

via CARE Canada

The donation also supports organizations that are empowering women to become self-sufficient through entrepreneurship. The donation to Canadian Feed the Children will be used to create a Livelihood & Gender Equality fund in Ethiopia. The fund will focus on supporting girls in finishing their education to help prevent forced migration. The cornerstone of this initiative is the creation of an agribusiness hub that will develop female entrepreneurship allowing women to run their own businesses and provide for themselves and their families. In Somalia, CARE Canada trains women to produce their own feminine hygiene products locally. CARE Canada also teaches women how to improve school sanitation facilities and increase community awareness about feminine hygiene. Crossroads International will use the donation to launch a youth-led awareness campaign in Senegal for sexual and reproductive rights among girls and boys who are at risk for sex trafficking, forced prostitution, child labour, and sexual violence.

The $15 million donation from the Slaight Family Foundation is expected to directly help over 1 million women and girls worldwide. You can find the full details about the specific initiatives supported by the donation here.

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