Youth Innovations Scale Grant

Scale your successful project with a proven model. Youth Innovations Scale grants support youth-led grassroots groups and youth-adult partnerships who want to expand their reach or enhance their impact on young people.

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 youth-led grassroots group or a youth-adult partnership with over two years of experience delivering a community project? Apply for a Youth Innovations Scale grant to enhance your existing project for a deeper impact on youth or to expand your project to reach more youth.

A project that you want to enhance or expand should:  

  • Consist of a program model that responds to the needs of the youth 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 youth are attributed to your program model. 
  • Be sustainable through ongoing engagement and collaboration with youth and community, as a result of your proven success. 
  • Align with and advance one of the Youth Innovations Priority Outcomes

 

Important Dates and Deadlines

Expression of Interest deadline August 24, 2022, 5 PM ET (Closed)
Notification of status of EOI Approximately 7 weeks after EOI deadline
Grant Application deadline (Only successful candidates will be invited to submit a grant application.) October 25, 2022, 5 PM ET (Closed)
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 your beneficiaries are in YOF’s primary beneficiaries. Potential Organizational Mentors (OMs) should also review the information in this section. 

Group eligibility

The YOF supports projects led by youth and youth-adult partnerships who share identities, experiences with, and face the same systemic barriers as the people who will benefit. This “by and for” principle is a requirement in all YOF funding streams.

We prioritize projects led by and for Indigenous (First Nation, Métis, Inuit) youth and Black youth. Read our definition of a Black- or Indigenous-led grassroots group.

Eligible groups

Your group may be eligible if it meets our definitions of a youth-led group or youth-adult partnership below, and:

  • Has three or more core members
  • Is based in Ontario, and programming benefits youth in Ontario 
  • If a group is incorporated as a not-for-profit; board members and day-to-day management continues to meet youth-led and youth adult-partnership definitions  
  • Exists independent of a larger organization. This means the group has autonomy to choose their Organizational Mentor, design the project, identify group members, and plan for the future.  
  • Core team members have a history and experience doing work together. This experience can include 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 youth-led and youth adult-partnership definitions
  • Agrees to work with an Organizational Mentor (OM)

Ineligible groups

The following are not eligible to apply:

  • Groups specifically designed to serve young people through committees or clubs of institutions, including municipalities, universities, schools, and hospitals
  • Adult-initiated groups 
  • Groups/projects based at an existing organization (not-for-profit or for profit)
  • Groups composed of all team members ages 30 years or older (all-adult teams)
  • Groups with charitable status  
  • For-profit businesses 
  • Individuals

Project eligibility

Your project may be eligible if it:

  • Includes all required information
  • Strongly aligns with your chosen Youth Innovations stream Priority Outcome
  • The project model has been delivered for two or more years and there is a demonstrated track record of strong and positive impact to youth engaged
  • 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 young people 12-25, and/or 12-29 for youth living with special needs and/or disabilities

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 your group enhance or expand your own successful project. Two types of models qualify for a Scale grant. Choose the one that most closely aligns with your group’s project.

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

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 youth you are currently working with 
  • Your group’s core team of three or more members have 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 youth you serve. Throughout the delivery of your project, you have developed a program model with positive results, and you can sustain the program as a result of your group’s track record and continued engagement with youth and the community. Now your group wants to reach more young people and expand the impact of your project. 

Expanding an existing successful project should also include aiming to increase the number of young people who can access your program. For example, you could add more locations or hours to expand program delivery and increase access for youth 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 youth you are currently working with 
  • Your group’s core team of three or more members have history and experience doing work together. This experience can include delivering the core program model or other activities

Choose your Priority Outcome

Youth Innovations Priority Outcomes reflect the changes YOF is investing in. All approved projects must advance one of these outcomes through project activities. While many of the outcomes focus on key priority populations or experiences, we continue to prioritize Indigenous and Black youth. The one Priority Outcome your group chooses must align with the impact you have already had on one of YOF’s priority 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 youth beneficiaries 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 YOF Priority Outcome your project will achieve.

  • Creating safe spaces for Indigenous and/or Black youth to build strong community and cultural connections
  • Addressing racism and its impacts on youth in urban, rural, and/or Northern communities
  • Supporting Indigenous, Black, and/or newcomer youth to enter the labour market and transition to sustainable career pathways
  • Supporting youth who are not connected to education programs, employment programs, and training programs (i.e. NEET) to exit poverty and social assistance
  • Empowering girls and young women to lead, including women’s economic empowerment initiatives
  • Providing mentorship opportunities for youth in and leaving care and/or youth involved in the justice system

Choose your Primary Beneficiaries

As you complete your application, align your scale project with the primary beneficiaries named in your chosen YOF Priority Outcome. We recognize that your primary beneficiaries may hold other identities and experiences that are critical to the design and delivery of your project. In your application, please identify both the primary beneficiaries as well as those intersecting identities and experiences that are most relevant to what you are doing and why. Be intentional and specific in your decision-making at this stage.

  • Indigenous youth (First Nation, Métis, or Inuit)
  • Black youth  
  • Racialized youth  
  • Newcomer youth  
  • Francophone youth  
  • Two-spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (2SLGBTQ+) youth  
  • Youth living with disabilities or special needs between the ages of 12 to 29  
  • Youth living in rural, remote and/or Northern communities  
  • Youth in conflict or at risk of being in conflict with the law  
  • Youth in care or leaving care  
  • Youth in low-income situations or from low-income families  
  • Youth who are homeless or at risk of being homeless  
  • Youth at-risk of dropping out or have dropped out

Definitions

What is a youth-led group?

A youth-led group is a group that:

  • Has a majority of individuals aged 29 or under at the governance or decision-making level
  • Has youth, 12 to 29, managing the project (from planning, to implementation and evaluation)
  • Serves youth as its primary mandate

What is a youth-adult partnership?

A youth-adult partnership is a group that has young people as its primary audience and where youth and adults share power. This looks like:

  • Shared responsibility for decision-making about the project and the group
  • Shared responsibility for planning and delivery of activities and the budget
  • Shared responsibility for planning for the future of the project and the group

What is a grassroots group?

The work of a grassroots youth-led group or youth-adult partnership is community-led and community-inspired. Core group members share identities and lived experiences with the young 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: minimum of $4,000 to maximum of $6,000 per year
  • Capital infrastructure expenses (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 YI EOI Scale Questions and Scorecard for more details.
  • At the EOI stage, the Project Plan and Budget will be reviewed 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, a YOF Program Manager will reach out to share feedback on the Project Plan and Budget before the Grant Application deadline
  • The Project and Budget will only be assessed at the grant application stage of the application process
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