TORONTO — The Ontario government is investing more than $13 million to support community- driven and youth-led projects to improve the well-being of children, youth, and families facing economic and social barriers. The funding will flow through the 2020 Youth Opportunities Fund, a province-wide initiative that creates opportunities for young people and empowers and supports parents, guardians and caregivers.
Details were provided today by Premier Doug Ford, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, and Jill Dunlop, Associate Minister of Children and Women's Issues.
"It is our responsibility as government to support our young people and help them find a path to lifelong success," said Premier Ford. "This funding will enable youth across the province to develop the skills they need to be better engaged in school, empower girls and young women to lead, address racism and discrimination, and give young people access to the programs that will help them become the next generation of leaders and community builders."
The 2020 Youth Opportunities Fund will provide financial support to 43 community organizations that will benefit youth aged 12 to 25, and their families. Projects receiving funding this year include:
- Black Moms Connection ― focusing on economic empowerment for Black mothers across the Greater Toronto Area (GTA).
- Immigrants francophones d'Afrique pour l'intégration et le développement (IFAPID)― to support newcomers from Francophone African nations to navigate financial systems in Canada.
- Earthling Art Collective ― to provide development and mentorship opportunities for youth leaving care and the justice system in Thunder Bay.
- Miziwe Biik Aboriginal Employment & Training ― to help Indigenous youth in the GTA access employment and training opportunities in the skilled trades.
"The Youth Opportunities Fund is a way for our government to form partnerships with grassroots projects and community leaders who are creating change. Together, we can build an Ontario that gives everybody an equal chance to succeed," said Todd Smith, Minister of Children, Community and Social Services.
"By believing in our youth and supporting them today, we can help develop the knowledge and skills they need to reach their full potential," said Minister Dunlop. "I truly believe this initiative will go a long way towards developing our next generation of leaders. The projects selected for this year's Youth Opportunities Fund grants are wonderful examples of how community-led initiatives can make a positive difference in young people's lives."
The Youth Opportunities Fund provides funding through the following three granting streams:
- Youth Innovations ― Provides youth facing multiple barriers with the resources they need to design and deliver new and inspiring solutions to issues that matter to them and their communities.
- Family Innovations ― Invests in local, community-driven groups delivering culturally relevant projects that empower and support parents, guardians and caregivers who face barriers and challenges to child and family wellbeing.
- System Innovations ― Supports organizations that are strengthening the quality and responsiveness of systems so that they may work better for young people facing multiple barriers.
"By increasing financial literacy for Black mothers and their families, it can change where they live, how they raise their kids, where they work and more. The impact will have a positive ripple effect for generations to come," said Tanya Hayles, Founder, Black Moms Connection.
"Earthling Art Collective is pleased to receive a Youth Opportunities grant so we can continue to engage youth in a meaningful capacity through one-on-one mentorship and workshop facilitation. We look forward to continuing our mission of establishing a web of young creatives supported by our programming and extensive network of partners and collaborators," said Benjamin Murray, Director, Earthling Art Collective.
- Youth Opportunities Fund grants are administered by the Ontario Trillium Foundation.
- Applications for the 2021 Youth Opportunities Fund grants will open in fall 2020.