Community Foundations of Canada (CFC) and RBC are excited to announce that 210 youth-led initiatives in small and mid-sized communities across Canada have been funded through the RBC Future Launch Community Challenge. Through a historic $5M donation from the RBC Foundation in support of youth leadership and empowerment, the challenge aims to help youth make a difference in their communities while developing the skills they need to prepare for the future of work. 

“Young people are keenly aware of the pressing issues in their communities and are passionate about creating positive change,” said Andrew Chunilall, CFC CEO. He added. “The RBC Future Launch Community Challenge grants offer an opportunity for youth to exercise their leadership skills while also putting their knowledge and experience to work – creating the positive impact they want to see in their communities. It’s inspiring to see their projects come to life.”

Youth were able to apply for grants of up to $15,000 to fund youth-led projects addressing local needs in small and medium-sized communities across the country. Successful applications outlined how each project would support a local priority and help shift power into the hands of local youth. Funding was distributed through participating local community foundations.

“I applied through the Quesnel Community Foundation in B.C. to address the needs of wellness, inclusion, and belonging of people with diverse identities,” says Kassondra Schwab, youth project leader.  “The $15,000 grant will allow the Quesnel Pride Society to create a safe space for LGBTQ2S+ youth. This is the beginning of something beautiful and I look forward to creating a legacy in Quesnel!”

Across Canada, nearly 500 youth are taking on leadership roles through these project to address issues that matter to their communities. Additionally, over 50,000 youth are expected to participate in the projects and nearly 100,000 more community volunteers will be lending their support. 

The projects cover a wide range of topics, from education and health to food security, inclusion and reconciliation. Over 37% of the projects are led by Indigenous people, and 50% of all projects will primarily benefit Indigenous people. Eighty-two per cent of projects address health and well-being, and 55% address environmental issues or climate action. 

Building on the enthusiasm for community-building shown by youth applicants, CFC will be launching a free online workshop series next month. “Youth Powering Community” is designed to help young people develop and hone the skills needed to make change in their communities.  The online series will culminate with a Youth Summit in Banff, Alberta. Interested youth are invited to follow CFC’s website and social media accounts for information on how to participate in the workshop series and how to apply to attend the summit later this year.

“RBC believes strongly in the power, vision, and potential of youth – and the influence they can have in their communities,” said Mark Beckles, Senior Director of Youth Strategy & Innovation at RBC. “That’s why we are excited to be partnering with CFC to help young people make a difference across Canada while building the 21st-century skills they need to prepare for the future of work. RBC has a long history of making a difference in the lives of our clients and communities, we are setting a strong foundation for our future while working with today’s young leaders. We also want to set a strong foundation for the next 150.”

The RBC Future Launch Community Challenge is supported by the RBC Foundation as part of RBC’s 150th birthday celebration, a milestone anniversary that took place on June 22, 2019. The challenge is part of RBC Future Launch – a 10-year, $500 million initiative helping youth prepare for the future of work – RBC’s largest commitment to a social issue to date.