Ontario Helping Children and Youth Overcome Barriers
Provincial funding for grassroots organizations helping connect more young people to supports in their community
May 12, 2023
Children, Community and Social Services
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TORONTO — The Ontario government is investing more than $13.5 million through the Youth Opportunities Fund to support 38 youth-focused grassroots projects across the province that will help children, youth and families develop new skills, overcome social and economic barriers, and navigate services in their community. This includes investing more than $7.7 million in 20 projects in the Greater Toronto Area.
“Local volunteers, community leaders, and grassroots organizations are the driving force behind strong and thriving communities,” said Michael Parsa, Minister of Children, Community, and Social Services. “The Youth Opportunities Fund helps local community organizations break down social and economic barriers and create better outcomes for children, youth, and families. I’m excited to see the positive changes these recipients will bring to their local communities.”
The Youth Opportunities Fund is a grant program administered by the Ontario Trillium Foundation. This year’s Youth Opportunities Fund grant recipients will operate programs that:
- support youth to stay engaged in school, advance their skills and transition to employment
- empower girls and young women to be leaders
- help children, youth and their families address racism
- provide mentorship and employment-related supports, such as job shadowing and employment mentorship opportunities
- help youth and families navigate and access programs and resources in their community that strengthen family well-being as well as community and cultural connections.
Some examples of the projects receiving funding this year include:
- Christie Refugee Welcome Centre and their partners will help unaccompanied or separated Black and racialized youth navigating the immigration system in the Essex, Kent, Lambton, Niagara, and Toronto regions to access the support they need along the way. Christie Refugee Welcome Centre received a grant of $237,700 over two years.
- Maternal Mind Matters will help Muslim parents, guardians, and caregivers in Milton to access culturally appropriate mental wellbeing supports. Maternal Mind Matters received a grant of $254,500 over three years.
- Niizh Mandiook Hide Camp will create a place where Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQIAA+ youth in Essex, Kent, Lambton, Grand River, and York-Simcoe can strengthen their connections to Indigenous identity and culture through traditional skills and teachings. Niizh Mandiook Hide Camp received a grant of $375,000 over three years.
“Ontario’s youth are the next generation of leaders and changemakers who will help shape the future of the province,” said Michael Ford, Minister of Citizenship and Multiculturalism. “Our government’s investment in the Youth Opportunities Fund will help youth from all walks of life overcome barriers, empower them to reach their full potential and help build strong, inclusive and thriving communities where everyone has opportunities to succeed.”
“This year, the Ontario Trillium Foundation is pleased to partner with the government of Ontario to invest $13.5 million through the Youth Opportunities Fund to support 38 critical grassroots projects,” said Katharine Bambrick, CEO of the Ontario Trillium Foundation. “This funding helps local projects led by youth and families who share the same lived experiences of those benefitting from the work to improve the social and economic wellbeing of our community members. Thank you to the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services for the continued support as we build healthy and vibrant communities.”
- The 2023 Youth Opportunities Fund grants will provide a total of $13,550,300 in funding to 38 community organizations across Ontario.
- Applications for the 2024 Youth Opportunities Fund grants will open in Spring 2023.
- The Youth Opportunities Fund provides funding through three streams:
- The Youth Innovations Stream provides young people facing social and economic barriers with the resources they need to design and deliver solutions to issues that matter to them.
- The Family Innovations Stream invests in grassroots groups delivering culturally-anchored projects that empower and support parents, guardians, and caregivers.
- The System Innovations Stream supports organizations working to research how specific systems work and implement strategies that lead to system-wide changes.
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