Monty Heald National Women’s Fund

Thank you for coming to this page to make a donation to the Monty Heald Fund in support of Rugby Canada’s Women’s XV program.

With the help of generous donors like you, the Fund’s first campaign was a great success. Together we set a standard that has meant that not a single player is asked to reach into her pocket to offset team expenses. With your support, our players have been able to concentrate on their training and preparations on the road to the RWC.

Now we look to the 2021 and the RWC in New Zealand. Elite player development in the UK, France and New Zealand is heavily impacted through the semi professional women’s leagues in those countries and will result in an international field of play more advanced than ever before. Thank you for your support in ensuring we are not left behind. Remember, 100% of your donation goes to the National Women’s XV program. Like rugby players across the country, donors to the MHF come in all shapes and sizes. All contributions are welcome and every donation is very much appreciated. Your donation delivers a powerful message of support to the players.

Many thanks for your support!

Amanda Thornborough

More about Monty Heald
More about the Monty Heald National Women’s Fund objectives and administration



MISSION:  To eliminate the “PAY TO PLAY” experience presently felt by participants in the National Senior Women’s XV Rugby Team, leave a legacy fund for future teams where possible, and provide funding for the National Age Group Women’s Rugby Teams.

OBJECTIVE:  The objective for the 2021 RWC is to raise $200,000.

BACKGROUND:   In April 2015, when the Senior Management from the National Teams program identified a significant shortfall in funding for the Senior Women’s XV National team, it seemed inevitable that to participate in the 2017 Women’s Rugby World Cup campaign, players would be asked, again, to personally fundraise or pay from their own resources.

Reflecting on that situation, two members of the Rugby Canada Past Presidents Committee (Monty Heald and Barry Giffen) began discussions with key members of the National Women’s team management and alumni to address the likely shortfall anticipated in preparing for the 2017 Woman’s World Cup.  After detailed discussions with Meaghan Howatt – Manager of the Women’s National Team program, Steph White – a national team alumni as well as former member of the Board of Rugby Canada, Pat Aldous – Chairman of the Board of Rugby Canada, and Dawn Dauphnee, then the Players Representative on the Board of Rugby Canada, a plan of action was drawn up.  It was clear that current Priorities at Rugby Canada were such that sufficient additional funding for the National Women’s XV Team was unlikely.   Therefore, new sources of funding must be found from within the Canadian Rugby community.

With this in mind, consultation with Mike Holmes, Chairman of the Board for the Canadian Rugby Foundation and Mark Wyatt, Vice President Canadian Rugby Foundation led to the belief that the best solution was to start an independent Fund with the umbrella services provided by the Canadian Rugby Foundation.  This Fund was intended to ‘supplement’ Rugby Canada funding to ensure that the players selected to the National Senior Women’s XV Team will not be required to ‘pay to play’.

A Memorandum of Understanding was drawn up  between the RC Foundation and a preliminary committee of interested and committed volunteers willing to take on the challenge of raising funds to eliminate the “pay to play” reality experienced by past National Senior Women XV teams.

The Monty Heald National Women’s XV Team Fund

As a result, a fundraising team for the National Women’s team was established in January 2015.  Extraordinary efforts raised $350,000 which supplemented Rugby Canada’s funding of the National Women’s XV Team and ensured that no player in the lead up to the 2017 WRWC was required to pay to be on the team.   This impact of this remarkable feat is deeply felt by every member of the 2017 squad.  Here is an example, “The generosity of the MHF has been life changing.  Supporting the NSWT program, not only provides opportunity to be the best in the world to represent our country, but also sends the message that you believe in us and our dreams.  We take this support into preparations and onto the fields.  You help you us forward and share in our success.  We truly couldn’t do it without you!  Thank you! 

The MHF continues to be need to support the program.  Unlike most Funds within the Canadian Rugby Foundation which have a long term legacy component, this Fund will distribute the funds to the Women’s National team on an ‘as required’ basis.   A committee of interested volunteers administers the Fund, ensuring that all the policies and guidelines of the Canadian Rugby Foundation are also followed.

Naming the Fund – The Monty Heald National Women’s Fund

The organizers of the Fund have taken this opportunity to recognize and honour Monty Heald for his many contributions to Rugby in our country.  Monty was made a Life Member of Rugby Canada in 2013.  He was a tremendous ambassador for our sport, representing the Canadian rugby community at local, provincial, national and international levels.  No challenge  was too big, and  he  was one of two Past  Presidents, the  other being Barry  Giffen, who formed a sub-committee of the Rugby Canada Past Presidents Committee to address the  “Pay to  Play” situation experienced by  the  National Senior  Women’s XV team.  They decided that  we must work together  within  our  community  to eliminate the requirement for members of the  National  Women’s XV having to  ‘pay  to  play’. Sadly, Monty succumbed to health problems and passed away in July, 2015.  We hope that by  recognizing him as a key  leader of this Fund, it will ensure  members of the  rugby community  in  Canada remember the  contributions  he  made, and motivate  others to follow  in  his  footsteps.

CURRENT SITUATION:  Rugby Canada management looks now to preparations for the 2021 Women’s Rugby World Cup.  A program and a budget will be established that they believe will allow the National Senior Women’s XV team to build towards that event and to reach the final.  Although Rugby Canada and its members had identified the elimination of ‘Pay to Play’ as a priority for 2017,  Rugby Canada’s circumstances have changed so that reliance on the MHF will continue.

The MONTY HEALD FUND will undertake to gain sufficient capital to overcome the shortfalls in annual operating capital for our National Women’s XV team in the lead up to the 2021 WRWC.  It is our hope that the major sponsors, including government and the World Rugby will raise their level of funding as Women’s rugby gains more acceptance on the international stage.  That recognition may take four or five years.  Therefore, members of the Canadian rugby community are continuing to support the program and these remarkable women.


It was identified that this FUND differs from most funds established under the Canadian Rugby Foundation.  The traditional fund within the Foundation distributes income generated by the principal in the fund, without reducing that principal.  However, the need to inject operating capital for the next four or five years into the National Senior Women’s Program defines the reasons for the establishment of this FUND.


The administration of the FUND will be carried out by a committee of ten members including a chairperson.  One of these members will be the Player’s Representative for Women’s rugby on the Board of Rugby Canada.  The Committee will have a Technical Advisor who will be the Manager of the Nation Women’s XV Team Program.

Committee members will be selected from the Rugby Canada community and are expected to have had Provincial, or National, or international experience in administration of the game of rugby, specifically Women’s Rugby.

The Manager of the National Women’s team program will bring forward proposals for the distribution of Allocated funds from the Fund for the consideration of the Committee.  The Committee will be charged with ensuring the Allocation is distributed to meet the Objectives of the Fund, and in keeping with the philosophy and rules of the Canadian Rugby Foundation.

The Fund will appoint a Committee member who will report to the Board of the Canadian Rugby Foundation.


2016 Chairman’s Report

Dear Foundation Members,

I am writing to provide a brief report on the 12th year of the Canadian Rugby Foundation ending Dec 31, 2015.


We had a record year in donations with over 700k in donations. Our assets closed out the year at almost 3 million and but for a poor year on the markets we would have exceeded this mark. Our expenses remained low at a total of $28,597 and we should now be comfortably delivering over 100k a year in grants without any impact on capital. Because of the growth in our funds we decided to look for an institutional investment firm. After a diligent process of solicitations of interest and interviews by our investment committee of Jim Kellett chair, John Woodward and Bill Webb, the firm of Leith Wheeler was selected and the process of transfer of our entire portfolio will have been completed at the time of distribution of this report. The investment committee also recommended, and has implemented some changes to our investment policy to permit a greater degree of flexibility with respect to investment choices in accordance with the policies of our new fund managers. I would like to thank Bruce McFarlane and Sarah Dunbar of Odlum Brown for their years of service. Bruce was one of our very first members and always had our interests first and foremost.

Read the full report in .pdf format

Curry Hitchborn Gerald McGavin Coaching Award Winner

There’s no doubting the passion that Curry brings to coaching, he loves rugby and where it’s taken him. He started coaching in 2006 at the high school where he first played rugby as a youth, Handsworth Secondary, not far from the club that would take him to the next level of coaching, Capilano Rugby Club.

He coached the Capilano men’s 3rd Division team and over the next eight years the club’s U16, U17, U18 and U19 teams. He was asked to assist with the men’s Premier side as the forward’s coach in 2012. That was the year they came back from relegation and made it to the Premier final against James Bay. It’s a year Curry remembers very well and you can tell the pride in his voice when he talks about that team. He credits the Capilano Rugby Club and the Vancouver Rugby Union (VRU) with actively supporting him during his early coaching career.

The Vancouver Rugby Union asked him to run their Vancouver North U16 squad which made it to the final and next year he was coach for the BC Blue U16 team. He went on to coach national championship teams for BC in the U16, U17 and U19 levels. He has also worked with the Canada U17 program as a guest coach.

He had a chance to be part of the UBC coaching staff in 2013 when they started their meteoric rise through the men’s elite ranks. UBC won the Division One Provincial title in 2014 earning them promotion to the BC Premier which they immediately won in 2015. Since winning the award he’s added two national U19 championships with BC, a national U16 championship, two Rounsefell Cup titles with UBC – as well as a club U18 championship.

His philosophy during his rugby coaching career has remained the same, care about the people you coach and try to listen more than you talk, pay attention to the process and the results will come.

Monty Heald Fund Update – Summer 2016

Below you will find comments from players on our National Senior Women’s 15, who, for the first time in recent memory, did not have to pay to play for Canada at the recent Super Series. They were subsidized by the Monty Heald National Women’s Fund via the Canadian Rugby Foundation. This fund was established to ensure players would not have to play in lead up to and at the 2017 Women’ Rugby World cup. In conjunction with Rugby Canada and National Women’s team management, budgets were reviewed and targets for the fund were set. The goal is to leave a legacy fund that will go beyond the World Cup. We have a remarkable donor who contributed an initial $50,000 to start the fund. In addition, this same donor offered to match $175,000 if we could organize the community to donate a similar amount. We have raised $102,000 to date and need to raise another $73,000 to meet our target.

Please help us in supporting the talented and dedicated young women whose ambitions are only to bring home the Women’s Rugby World Cup in 2017. Your contributions will mean they can focus on their skills and preparation. Donations are tax deductible and will be matched!

Thank you for your support
Stephanie White
Chairwomen, Monty Heald National Women’s Fund