Supporting Youth Opportunities in the GTA

Youth Opportunities Fund to Help Youth Grow and Thrive

TORONTO, Nov. 28, 2013 /CNW/ - The Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) has launched a new program to help community organizations improve outcomes for youth facing multiple barriers to economic and social and well-being in the Greater Toronto Area*.

Funded by the Ontario government, the new Youth Opportunities Fund (YOF) will provide grants and capacity building supports to grassroots, youth-led and community-based organizations.

The program will engage and benefit young people ages 12 to 25 who are First Nations, Inuit or Métis, racialized, recent immigrants, LGBTTQ, and/or youth with special needs.

The program will also strengthen supports to benefit 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, or are at-risk of, dropping out of school


"Our government is investing in people by helping to build the capacity of local youth groups and by supporting youth leadership in the not-for-profit sector. We are pleased to work with the Ontario Trillium Foundation to build on initiatives that are already underway in the GTA and invest in ideas and projects that provide opportunities for youth to reach their full potential."
Teresa Piruzza, Minister of Children and Youth Services

"With 30 years of grant-making experience, the Foundation is uniquely positioned to administer the Youth Opportunities Fund. It is an exciting opportunity to strengthen mechanisms and relationships that support the ongoing work of youth-led, grassroots groups today, and in the future.  Community work is strongest when young people are at the table and are informing the decisions and the work at hand."
—     Ruby Lam, Chair, YOF Grant Review Committee, Ontario Trillium Foundation

"As a member of the Premier's Council on Youth Opportunities, I have found it to be a powerful experience to be engaged in the development process of the YOF, and see how the Council's input has contributed to the programs design."
—     Pytor Hodgson, Member of the Premier's Council on Youth Opportunities and CEO of 3Things Consulting


  • The YOF is a $5 million a year program, funded by the Ontario government and administered by the Ontario Trillium Foundation

  • The YOF is comprised of two funding streams:
    • The Strategic Collaborations Stream will invest in collaboratives of youth serving groups that seek to build on proven initiatives and enhance the quality and responsiveness of service delivery for youth.
    • The Grassroots Innovation Stream will invest in both Promising Initiatives that have  demonstrated an early track record, and Promising Ideas, which will create space for young leaders and/or groups of youth to access funds, build their skills, grow their networks and strengthen their communities.
  • The Gordon & Ruth Gooder Charitable Foundation is contributing $500,000 to the Grassroots Innovation Stream. This is the first time the Ontario Trillium Foundation has embarked on a funding partnership with a private foundation.

  • The YOF is an initiative of Ontario's Youth Action Plan which in turn is grounded in the research and recommendations of the report on the Review of the Roots of Youth Violence.

  • The YOF is guided by the priority outcomes for youth identified in Stepping Up: A Strategic Framework to Help Ontario's Youth Succeed.

  • The YOF is based on a model of positive youth development outlined in Stepping Stones: A Resource on Youth Development.

  • The OTF is mapping existing services and programs for youth facing multiple barriers. This asset mapping will help OTF and its program partners
    • Identify existing connections across organizations, services and groups
    • Connect the YOF with potential high impact groups that can participate in the program's high-engagement model that provides active support to applicants moving through the pre-application process
    • Identify groups and initiatives for potential OTF investments under the program
  • The OTF has invested over $15M in youth-led and youth serving grants in the GTA, including $3M in youth-led initiatives since 2011.


The Youth Opportunities Fund invests in ideas and projects led by or focused on youth who face multiple barriers. The program will support projects aligned with the Ontario's strategic framework for youth, Stepping Up: A Strategic Framework to Help Ontario's Youth Succeed.

A leading grant maker in Canada, the Ontario Trillium Foundation strengthens the capacity of the voluntary sector through investments in community-based initiatives. An agency of the Ontario government, OTF builds healthy and vibrant communities.

Read the Youth Opportunities Fund backgrounder and program guidelines
Stepping Stones: A Resource on Youth Development
Stepping Up: A Strategic Framework to Help Ontario's Youth Succeed
See who is on the YOF Grant Review Committee
Learn more about the Ontario Trillium Foundation
Follow CEO Andrea Cohen Barrack on Twitter

*GTA = City of Toronto, Peel, Halton, Durham and York Regions

SOURCE: Ontario Trillium Foundation

For further information:

Alexis Mantell - 416 963 7918


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