The Youth Innovations Stream invests in the work of grassroots groups that are youth-led or youth-adult partnerships by funding projects that test an idea or grow a successful project. Through this stream, YOF provides young people facing systemic barriers with the resources they need to design and deliver inspiring solutions to issues that matter to them.
What are the changes YOF is investing in?
The Youth Innovations Stream invests in the work of young leaders who are generating solutions to the most pressing issues facing young people today. Check out the six Priority Outcomes that drive YOF Youth Innovations projects across Ontario.
- Empowering girls and young women to lead, including women’s economic empowerment initiatives
- Supporting Indigenous, Black, and/or newcomer youth to enter the labour market and transition to sustainable career pathways
- Providing mentorship opportunities for youth in and leaving care and/or youth involved in the justice system
- Addressing racism and its impacts on youth in urban, rural and/or Northern communities
- Supporting youth who are not connected to education programs, employment programs, and training programs (i.e. NEET) to exit poverty and social assistance
- Creating safe spaces for Indigenous and/or Black youth to build strong community and cultural connections
TAKE NOTE! All projects funded through the Youth Innovations Stream must advance one of the six Priority Outcomes.
Who’s leading the change?
YOF believes in the value of grassroots youth leadership in developing solutions and delivering projects that positively impact communities across Ontario. YOF believes that shared identities and experiences are essential to effective grassroots work that responds to and recognizes the assets, needs, strengths, skills and experiences of youth facing systemic barriers.
Youth Innovations projects benefit young people aged 12 to 25. While each Priority Outcome specifies a primary beneficiary population, YOF recognizes the broad diversity that exists within each of these communities. YOF understands that a person’s identity has many dimensions. As different parts of one’s identity come together in everyday life, oppressions can intersect and barriers can grow.
YOF is committed to investing in projects led by and for young people who face systemic barriers to their economic and social wellbeing, including:
- Indigenous youth (i.e., First Nations, Métis and/or Inuit)
- Black/Afro-diasporic/Afro-Caribbean and/or Afro-Latinx youth
- Racialized (other than Black) youth
- Newcomer youth
- Francophone youth
- Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, two-spirit, queer (LGBTTQ+) youth
- Youth living with disabilities or special needs between the ages of 12 to 29
- Youth living in rural or remote communities
- Youth vulnerable of becoming or are in conflict with the law
- Youth in care or leaving care
- Youth in low-income situations or from low-income families
- Youth at-risk of dropping out or have dropped out
Here are some examples of projects that are aligned to a Priority Outcome and serve young people listed in YOF’s priority populations:
- A group has selected the outcome that focuses on providing mentorship opportunities for youth in care for their project. In addition to the beneficiaries sharing an experience of living in care, the majority of the project participants are Indigenous and/or racialized. Most members in the core group are themselves Indigenous and have also lived in care.
- A group has selected the outcome that focuses on empowering girls and young women to lead, including women’s economic empowerment initiatives. The core group members are five young Black women who are all enrolled in post-secondary science programs. Together they have created a project that celebrates the leadership and innovation of Black women and aims to support participants to explore career pathways in science and technology.
- A group has selected the outcome that focuses on supporting youth who are not connected to education programs, employment programs or training programs. While the youth being served have this experience in common, they are also living with disabilities and in low-income situations. The core group members, who are also living with different disabilities, have secured steady employment and are now excited to support others on a similar journey.
There are two types of grants within the Youth Innovations Stream. Each grant has a specific purpose and invests in different kinds of work. Read more so you can choose the right grant for your project.
|Granting Focus||Allows grassroots groups to research, strategize or test new ideas that will advance a YOF Priority Outcome.||Enables grassroots groups to grow an existing project that has demonstrated success in achieving a YOF Priority Outcome.|
|Profile of Applicants||
Newly formed and more established grassroots groups.
With newer groups, we will be interested in learning about individual members and the experiences they are bringing to the group and the proposed project.
Groups that have already delivered core project activities over a two-year period. This means the group is experienced at working together and has tested all core activities ensuring a solid foundation to scale the project.
You should also be able to demonstrate the success of the model you are looking to scale.
|Types of Projects||
|Amount||up to $85,000 per year||up to $125,000 per year|
|Term||1 to 3 years||3 to 4 years|
TAKE NOTE! The YOF Youth Innovations Stream does not fund any capital projects (including renovations, repairs and/or new buildings). For these types of initiatives, see the Ontario Trillium Foundation Investment Strategy.
Check out some YOF grantees leading change in their communities.
The Youth Innovations Stream invests in projects led by grassroots groups that respond to issues in new and inspiring ways.
Grassroots work is about community-led and community-inspired work. Shared identities and lived experiences between core group members who are leading the project and the young people who will benefit is critical to the Youth Opportunities Fund (YOF) understanding of ‘grassroots’.
Groups eligible to apply to the Youth Innovations Stream:
- Are led by youth, age 12-29 years who share identities and experiences with those they will engage in project activities.
- Operate as a youth-led group or a youth-adult partnership, where members share identities and experiences with those they will engage in project activities.
- Exist independent of a larger organization.
- Are based in Ontario.
- Have three or more core members.
- Are either an unincorporated group or an incorporated nonprofit organization with independently managed revenues no higher than $50,000 in either of the last two years. Registered charities are not eligible to apply to the YOF Youth Innovations Stream.
Not sure if you’re eligible? Reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
TAKE NOTE! If approved for funding, Youth Innovations groups must work with an organizational mentor (OM). An OM is an incorporated nonprofit organization, charity, or First Nation that meets Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) eligibility criteria and will provide the groups with financial accountability, as well as administrative and mentoring support. This means that if your EOI is shortlisted, your group must submit a signed OM Agreement as part of your completed Grant Application. Your project cannot receive funding until OTF determines that your OM is eligible. If your Grant Application is funded, your OM will sign and uphold the grant contract with OTF. At any point in the process, ask your OM to reach out to us and we can guide them on next steps!
Sign up for pre-application supports via the OTF Calendar
Login or create a user profile in our application system
Complete the online EOI by 5 p.m. ET on November 6, 2019
NOTE: All groups will receive news on the status of their EOI in December 2019. Some EOIs will be shortlisted. Those groups will be invited to submit a Grant Application.
Shortlisted groups: Confirm your OM and complete the OM Agreement
The proposed OM registers with OTF
Complete the online Grant Application by 5 p.m. ET on January 22, 2020
NOTE: If your Grant Application is funded, your OM will sign and uphold the grant contract with OTF. All applicants will receive news on the status of their Grant Application in April 2020.