New Grants Support Youth Opportunities in Ontario
Youth Opportunities Fund to Help Youth Grow and Thrive
Youth facing multiple barriers across Ontario will benefit from $7,751,500 in funding from the Youth Opportunities Fund (YOF). A total of 31 grants to youth-led grassroots groups and community-based organizations were announced today in Brampton by the Minister of Children and Youth Services, Hon. Tracy MacCharles. She was joined by representatives from the Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) along with LAB B, and Power to Girls Foundation, two of the YOF grant recipients.
These initiatives will engage young people ages 12 to 25 and will benefit youth from various communities including First Nations, Inuit or Métis, racialized, recent immigrants, LGBTTQ, and/or youth with special needs. The program will also strengthen support for young people who:
- Are at-risk of becoming and/or are in conflict with the law
- Have experience in child welfare services
- Are in low-income situations or from low-income families
- Have dropped out of, or are at-risk of dropping out of, school
After the success of its work in the Greater Toronto Area, YOF expanded its reach to serve youth across Ontario since June 2015. The 31 organizations are the first group of grantees to benefit from the program’s expansion.
Three examples of YOF grantees:
T-Miut c/o Tungasuvvingat Inuit
$210,000 over 36 months to create a space for Inuit youth in Toronto to meet, gather, and learn about the Inuk identity. T-Miut will develop a language curriculum, teach traditional skills such as beading games, sewing, singing, and drumming, and provide cultural teachings. Funds will be used to hire project coordinators, rent space, conduct outreach, and deliver programming.
Legalswipe c/o Ontario Justice Education Network
$137,200 over 24 months to offer legal education workshops and further develop a software application that is designed to help Aboriginal, racialized and newcomer youth and youth living in rural and remote communities learn about their legal rights during interactions with law enforcement. Funds will be used for staffing and workshop supplies.
Fort Albany Youth Council c/o with Fort Albany First Nation
$210,000 over 36 months to provide empowerment workshops, life skills training, camp retreats, and overall support for youth in Fort Albany First Nation. This initiative aims to increase the self-esteem and confidence of young people in the community. Funds will be used for staffing, training, and workshops.
“We are exceptionally proud of the impact our Youth Opportunities Fund has had in helping youth in communities across Ontario reach their full potential. This fund is a great example of partnerships with local grassroots groups who know and understand the needs of their communities and who know best how to achieve great success.”
– Tracy MacCharles, Minister of Children and Youth Services
“This year’s announcement is special because we had a chance expand our reach across the province. Special thanks to our Grant Review Committee who always go above and beyond when assessing these applications. These projects are going to make a big difference in the lives of Ontario’s youth. We are thrilled for the grantees and look forward to the fruition of their hard work and commitment.”
– Janet Yale, Chair, Board Chair, Ontario Trillium Foundation
"Our youth have the potential to do great things especially when given opportunity and guidance. OTF is proud to support initiatives that will help Ontario youth discover their talent and passion, develop skills that will open the door of many possibilities to fulfil their future aspirations. Congratulations to all grantees.”
– Andrea Cohen Barrack, CEO, Ontario Trillium Foundation
- YOF is an initiative of Ontario’s Youth Action Plan and is based on a model of positive youth development outlined in Stepping Stones: A Resource on Youth Development.
- The YOF has two funding streams:
- Strategic Collaborations Stream supports collaboratives that are working to enhance the quality and responsiveness of services for young people facing multiple barriers.
- Grassroots Innovation Stream creates opportunities for leadership and innovation by providing youth-led grassroots groups the space to implement their bold ideas for how to shape and strengthen their communities
- The Youth Opportunities Fund’s granting data is now part of OTF’s Open Data initiative. The published data includes all approved grants for the period between 2013-2016
The Youth Opportunities Fund invests in ideas and projects led by or focused on youth who face multiple barriers. The program supports projects aligned with the Ontario’s strategic framework for youth, Stepping Up: A Strategic Framework to Help Ontario’s Youth Succeed.
The leading grantmaking foundation in Canada, the Ontario Trillium Foundation strengthens the capacity of the voluntary sector through investments in community-based initiatives. An agency of the Government of Ontario, OTF builds healthy and vibrant communities: