Youth Catalyst Fund boosts educational and career opportunities for young Canadians

(Ottawa, ON) November 3, 2015 – Community Foundations of Canada’s national 2012 Vital Signs report, #GenerationFlux, underscored the many challenges facing young people as they completed their education and transitioned into the workforce.

Today, as part of a broader strategy being activated across Canada’s 191 community foundations, Community Foundations of Canada’s Youth Catalyst Fund is responding to #GenerationFlux by making more than $1.2M in high-impact grants in communities across the country.

The Youth Catalyst Fund is part of a multi-sector partnership mobilizing private, public and philanthropic contributions from partners such as The TK Foundation and the Teekay Shipping (Canada) Ltd. With today’s launch, phase one of the Fund will support 10 innovative programs that are improving pathways to educational and career success for young people, including youth living with disabilities, and Aboriginal and newcomer youth that face disadvantages and barriers.

“Our Youth Catalyst Fund is responding to what we learned through Vital Signs in the same way that so many other community foundations are mobilizing to support young people in their communities,” says Ian Bird, President of Community Foundations of Canada. “Through this unique partnership, we’re building on the collective work of our movement to deepen our impact in communities, helping youth gain a foothold in the workplace and setting students up for future success.”

“We received hundreds of applications from all parts of the country and Canada’s community foundations were instrumental in amplifying the opportunity and sharing their community knowledge in the process,” says Sally Ng, Board Member with Community Foundations of Canada and Youth Catalyst Fund grants committee member. “These investments will have an immediate impact over the next three years for those facing barriers to educational and career success.”

With support from the Government of Ontario, Deloitte, MaRS Centre for Impact Investing, and The Betsy Martin Fund, the next phase of the Youth Catalyst Fund will make an additional $1M in impact investments in 2016 to social enterprises across Ontario that create employment opportunities for young people facing job barriers.

Community organizations that will leverage support from the Youth Catalyst Fund grant program to have an impact on the education and career paths of young Canadians include:

  • Choices For Youth (St. John’s, NL): to support young people who are homeless or at risk and help them gain skills to transition to longer-term employment and education opportunities.
  • Ability New Brunswick (Fredericton, NB): to increase education and employment for youth with a mobility disability through specialized planning tools and one-on-one support.
  • Agence Ometz (Montreal, QC): to offer job training to low-income youth that will enhance their employability.
  • Parrainage civique les Marronniers | Jarry Deuxième café bistro (Montreal, QC): to offer young people living with intellectual disabilities work experience through their bistro and catering service.
  • John Howard Society of Belleville and District (Belleville, ON): to provide wrap-around care and educational opportunities to high school students facing challenges to stay on track to graduate.
  • La Passerelle-IDÉ (Toronto, ON): to provide a culturally tailored, bilingual certificate program that enhances the employability of Francophone racialized, newcomer youth.
  • SKETCH Working Arts for Street-involved and Homeless Youth (Toronto, ON): to offer young people arts-based educational programming and career building opportunities at SKETCH and through community arts projects.
  • Chinook Regional Foundation for Career Transitions (Lethbridge, AB): to assist high school students and out-of-school youth in making the transition into post-secondary education, training or employment.
  • Aunt Leah’s Independent Lifeskills Society (New Westminster, BC): to create educational opportunities for youth leaving the foster care system and lower living costs through scholarships, bursaries and housing subsidies for foster youth while they attend school.
  • Fresh Roots Urban Farm Society (Vancouver, BC): to engage high school students in a school-based community garden program to build leadership, financial literacy and community involvement. 

About Community Foundations of Canada

Community Foundations of Canada is the national network for Canada’s 191 community foundations, which help Canadians invest in building strong and resilient places to live, work and play. Learn more at

For more information:

David Venn
Director of Communications
Community Foundations of Canada
P: (613) 236-2664 ext. 302


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