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.
OPERATION OF THE FUND:
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.
ADMINISTRATION OF THE 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.