Family Innovations Scale Grant

Supporting families to thrive starts here. Family Innovations Scale grants support parent-, guardian- or caregiver-led grassroots groups to expand their reach and enhance their impact on parents, guardians and caregivers.

Term length

Minimum 3 years, Maximum 4 years

Amount awarded (per year)

Minimum N/A

Maximum $125,000

Looking to enhance or expand an existing project?

Are you a grassroots group led by parents, guardians, and caregivers with over two years of experience delivering a community project? Apply for a Family Innovations Scale grant to enhance your existing project for a deeper impact on parents, guardians, and caregivers or to expand your project to reach more parents, guardians, and caregivers.

A project that you want to enhance or expand should:   

  • Consist of a program model that responds to the needs of the parents, guardians and caregivers identified as your primary beneficiaries  
  • Have core program activities that have been successfully delivered for at least two years 
  • Demonstrate that the positive impact experienced by parents, guardians and caregivers are attributed to your program model 
  • Be sustainable through ongoing engagement and collaboration with parents, guardians and caregivers and community, as a result of your proven success  
  • Align with and advance one of the Family Innovations Priority Outcomes 

Important Dates and Deadlines

Expression of Interest available July 4, 2022
Expression of Interest deadline August 24, 2022, 5 PM ET
Notification of status of EOI Approximately 7 weeks after EOI deadline
Grant Application deadline October 25, 2022, 5 PM ET
Notification of Grant Application Approximately 5-6 weeks after Grant Application deadline
Organization Mentor Application Open year round
Organizational Mentor Registration deadline December 21, 2022, 5 PM ET
OM-Grassroots Group Collaborative Agreement deadline December 21, 2022, 5 PM ET
Start date for all Grants March 1, 2023

Plan your application

A Scale grant can support your group to make more of an impact in your community by adding to or expanding the reach of a community project you have been delivering for over two years. To give your application the best chance of being successful, please read the information on this page carefully. It will help you make sure that your group, project, and the people you want to support align with Youth Opportunities Fund (YOF) funding priorities.

Take time to consider these key questions:

Eligibility

Discover if your group is eligible for funding, and make sure the people who will benefit are in YOF's priority beneficiaries. Potential Organizational Mentors (OMs) should also review the information in this section.

Group eligibility

YOF supports projects led by parents, guardians, and caregivers who share identities, experiences, and face the same systemic barriers as those who will benefit from the project.  This “by and for” principle is a requirement in all YOF funding streams.

We prioritize projects led by and for Indigenous and Black parents, guardians, and caregivers. Read our definition of Black- or Indigenous-led grassroots groups.

Eligible groups

Your group may be eligible if it:

  • Is led by parents, guardians, and caregivers who share identities and experiences with those they will engage in project activities 
  • Has three or more core group members 
  • Exists independent of a larger organization 
  • Is based in Ontario, and programming benefits parents, guardians and caregivers living in Ontario 
  • Core team members have a history and experience doing work together. This experience can included delivering core program model or other activities. 
  • Is an:
    • Unincorporated group or
    • Incorporated not-for-profit with independently managed revenues no higher than $50,000 in either of the last two years. Board members and day-to-day management must also meet the by and for requirements, and identify with parents, guardians and caregivers
  • Agrees to work with an Organizational Mentor (OM)

Ineligible groups

The following are not eligible to apply:

  • Groups specifically designed to serve parents, guardians, and caregivers through committees or clubs of institutions, including municipalities, universities, schools, and hospitals
  • Groups looking to design programming for children
  • Groups/projects based at an existing organization (not-for-profit or for profit)
  • Groups with charitable status  
  • For-profit businesses
  • Individuals 

Project eligibility

Your project may be eligible if it:

  • Submitted a complete application
  • Strongly aligns with your chosen YOF Priority Outcome
  • Project model has been implemented for two or more years, and there are strong benefits to parents, guardians and caregivers you’re engaging
  • Complies with OTF policies. Our policy requirements define eligibility for OTF funding and outline exclusions. Funds are granted to eligible applicants delivering eligible project activities that directly align with YOF Priority Outcomes.
  • Benefits parents, guardians, and caregivers

Application process

YOF's application process involves various steps for groups and organizational mentors.

Key dates and Expression of Interest (EOI) submission
Create a user profile
  • Start your application by logging in or creating a new user profile in our application portal
  • If you are creating a new user profile, please enter the name of your group’s primary contact with their email address. We will email this person a user ID, temporary password, and instructions on how to access the online Expression of Interest (EOI).
Notification of shortlisting and grant application submission
  • We will tell you the status of your EOI around 4-6 weeks after the EOI deadline
  • Begin to research potential Organizational Mentors (OM)
  • If your group is shortlisted, you will be invited to submit a grant application
Notification of grant application status
  • Your group will receive news on the status of your grant application around 6-7 weeks after the grant application deadline
  • If your application has been recommended for funding by the YOF Grant Review Committee (GRC), we will ask you to submit information about your OM. This includes:
OM application and assessment (OMs only)
  • Review relevant deadlines for the OM application
  • Is your organization new to OTF? If yes, Register online once the OM application is live
  • Is your organization already registered with the OTF? Once the OM application is live, you will Log in to apply online. Look for Applications (YOF) in the top right corner. Click to access OM Application
  • The YOF team will verify your organization’s eligibility (review OTF policies)
  • If your organization is not eligible, we will ask you to notify the relevant groups and project leaders impacted by this decision, and the YOF team will provide supports to find a new potential OM.
Recommendation and selection
  • The volunteer YOF Grant Review Committee (GRC) will finalize funding recommendations following the submission of OM information
  • OTF’s Board of Directors approve these recommendations
Notification of funding approval
After approval
  • Start date: The start date is no earlier than March 1, 2023
  • Reporting & monitoring: In addition to scheduled touch points, grantees track activities, spending, and learning to complete the annual progress report and a final report.
  • Capacity building: Learn and connect with other YOF grantees by participating in YOF led events and making the most of capacity building funds available in your project budget.
  • Evaluation: Grantees must work with a YOF external evaluation partner to evaluate progress towards the chosen YOF Priority Outcome.
  • Completion: After OTF staff approve a final report, the grant hold-back funds, which is the final payment for the project, are released and the grant is closed.
  • Grantee compliance: A random sample of grants are subject to a grantee compliance audit. Grant files can be audited for compliance at any point during the grant's life, or after the grant has been closed.

Choose your project type

Scale grants can help you improve or expand your own successful project, where you’ve delivered core activities for over two years. Two types of projects qualify for a Scale grant. Choose the one that most closely aligns with your project.

Your group has already been successfully delivering core activities through this project for at least two years and has had a positive impact on the parents, guardians and caregivers you serve. Throughout the delivery of your project, you have developed a program model with positive results. Additionally, you can sustain the program as a result of your group’s track record and continued engagement with parents, guardians, caregiver, and community. Now, your group wants to make the project even better to increase its impact.  

This project type also includes adding new program components, such as modifying and/or making refinements to your existing model.   

Choose this project type if: 

  • This is a project your group currently delivers and/or has delivered for at least two years 
  • Your group has strong evidence of the project's success and impact that aligns with one of the Priority Outcomes associated with this grant  
  • Your group can demonstrate how you can enhance your core project and deepen the impact for the parents, guardians and caregivers you are currently working with  
  • Your group’s core team of three or more members has history and experience doing work together. This experience can include delivering the core program model or other activities 

Your group has already been successfully delivering core activities through this project for at least two years and has had a positive impact on the parents, guardians and caregivers you serve. Throughout the delivery of your project, you have developed a program model with positive results. In addition, you can sustain the program as a result of your group’s track record and continued engagement with parents, guardians, caregiver, and with the community. Now, your group wants to make the project even better to increase its impact.  

Expanding an existing successful project should also include aiming to increase the number of parents, guardians and caregivers who can access your program. For example, you could add more locations or hours to expand program delivery and increase access for your beneficiaries.  

Choose this project type if: 

  • This is a project your group currently delivers and/or has delivered  
  • Your group has strong evidence of the project's success and impact that aligns with one of the Priority Outcomes associated with this grant 
  • Your group can demonstrate how you can expand the reach of the project and achieve your chosen Priority Outcome to serve the same parents, guardians and caregivers you are currently working with  
  • Your group’s core team of three or more members has history and experience doing work together. This experience can include delivering the core program model or other activities 

Choose your Priority Outcome

Family Innovations Priority Outcomes reflect the changes YOF is investing in. While many of the outcomes focus on key priority populations or experiences, we continue to prioritize Indigenous and Black parents, guardians and caregivers as part of our ongoing commitment to address systemic barriers to economic and social wellbeing. The one Priority Outcome your group chooses must align with the impact you have already had on one of YOF’s primary beneficiaries. Your project should build on that impact in your Scale grant.

When choosing your YOF Priority Outcome, ask yourself:

  • What key issues and/or challenges do your selected YOF parents, guardians, and caregivers face?
  • Over the past two years, what changes did your group achieve through your core project activities and what changes do you want to sustain as a group?
  • What results does your group hope to achieve through your project? 

As you fill out your application, you should align your answers to the Priority Outcome your project will achieve.

All approved projects must advance one of these outcomes through project activities. The one you choose identifies the impact your project will have.

  • Creating safe spaces for Indigenous and/or Black parents, guardians, and caregivers to strengthen relationships, build strong community and cultural connections, and heal from trauma
  • Supporting parents, guardians, and caregivers to navigate and access resources for economic stability
  • Supporting parents, guardians and caregivers to effectively navigate, access, and influence systems that affect family well-being

Choose your Primary Beneficiaries

Who do you want to benefit from your project activities? The YOF invests in projects led by and for parents, guardians, and caregivers who face systemic barriers to wellbeing. If you see members of your core group and the people you want to engage through your project reflected in the list below, it's likely that your group is eligible.

  • Indigenous (First Nations, Métis, or Inuit) parents, guardians, and caregivers
  • Black parents, guardians, and caregivers
  • Racialized parents, guardians, and caregivers
  • Newcomer parents, guardians, and caregivers
  • Francophone parents, guardians, and caregivers
  • Parents, guardians, and caregivers and/or their children who are two-spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (2SLGBTQ+)
  • Parents, guardians, and caregivers and/or their children living with disabilities or special needs
  • Parents, guardians, and caregivers living in rural, remote and/or Northern communities
  • Parents, guardians, and caregivers and/or their children in conflict or at risk of being in conflict with the law
  • Parents, guardians, and caregivers at risk of contact or in contact with child welfare services
  • Parents, guardians, and caregivers in low income situations
  • Parents, guardians and caregivers who are homeless or at risk of being homeless
  • Parents, guardians, and caregivers whose children are at-risk of dropping out or have dropped out of school

Definitions

What is a parent, guardian and caregiver?

Someone, or one of the people, responsible for the physical, emotional, and economic wellbeing of a child or young person. This includes a legal and decolonized/culturally rooted understanding of guardians and caregivers. A parent, guardian, or caregiver is different from a caring adult or a mentor.

What is a "culturally anchored" project?

A project informed by the context of the lived experiences and culture of the participants and shared experiences of the community. The project should fit with the needs of the community and have a cultural context.

What is a grassroots group?

The work of a grassroots group is community-led and community-inspired. Core group members share identities and lived experiences with the people who will benefit.

Not sure if you are eligible? Reach out to us at yof@otf.ca.

Eligible and ineligible project expenses

  • Staffing (with considerations for Mandatory Employee Required Costs (MERC) of 20%) 
    • As you consider the roles and responsibilities of staff, ensure you include livable wages to support your program delivery
  • Transportation 
  • Honorarium (participants, volunteers) 
  • Support Services (translation, interpretation, child-minding) 
  • Project supplies and materials 
  • Project equipment (rental or purchase) 
  • Food 
  • Communications (website, promotions)
  • Fees (for services delivered by experts, facilitators, professionals) 
  • Contingency (maximum of 10% per year) 

Mandatory Expenses that need to be included in every Scale Request:

  • Administrative Support Costs (OM)- 15% of total budget  
  • Capacity Building: up to $4,000 per year
  • Capital infrastructure projects (renovations to space) 
  • Expenses related to political or religious activities 
  • General or ongoing operating expenses (unrelated to the project) 
  • Bursaries, scholarships, sponsorships or individual requests (including regranting funds to other projects or people)
  • Fundraising campaigns

For a full list of ineligible expenses, review OTF’s Eligibility Policy.

Expression of Interest (EOI) assessment

How are Scale EOIs assessed?

  • Your Scale EOI is assessed based on three areas of the application: Group Eligibility, People, and Strategy. Review the FI Scale EOI Tool for more details.
  • At this stage, the Project Plan and Budget will be reviewed but not assessed by a YOF Program Manager, however if your project is shortlisted it will be reviewed.
  • If your group is invited to submit a grant application, you will receive feedback on the Project Plan and Budget
  • The Project and Budget will only be assessed at the grant application stage of the application process
An outdoor family portrait with two parents and two kids.

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