Each year across Canada, students in grades 9 and 10 at participating schools take part in the Youth and Philanthropy Initiative (YPI). This program models the idea of “community development achieved through youth engagement”, empowers students to learn about social issues within their community, and gives them the opportunity to educate others and make a difference. They are encouraged to consider the fundamentals of philanthropy and make their own decisions about where funding, in the form of a $5,000 grant, would best serve their own community.

Teams of students begin by researching social issues that impact their local community and choosing a cause that resonates with them as well as a charity that addresses that cause. They spend time researching the charity and arrange visits to the organization to learn more and gather materials. They then put their research and experiences together to create a presentation in order to share what they’ve learned with their classmates. The top presentations move on to their school’s YPI Finals with a youth-led panel of judges.

Each participating school is given a $5,000 grant to present to the top presentation, which is then donated to the charity presented by the winning team. Since its launch in 2002, YPI has directed over $17 million in grants to charities across Canada, the United Kingdom, and New York City.

In 2019-2020, Children’s Aid Foundation of Canada hosted 16 teams from both public and independent schools across the Greater Toronto Area at the Foundation office to help with their research as they decided on a grantee for their YPI presentation. When students visit, our Community Engagement team spends time teaching them about our mission to improve the lives of children and youth in and from the child welfare system, the need to support this population, and what we are doing to strengthen families, support kids in care, and empower youth as they transition out of child welfare. Students are also provided with valuable materials to help with their presentations.

Last year, one of our dedicated YPI teams won the grant for their school. We couldn’t be more grateful for the time and efforts put in by these students to Stand Up for Kids in their community, and are excited to meet this year’s teams!

For more information or to book a YPI session at the Foundation, contact Emily at emilye@cafdn.org

About The Author

The Children's Aid Foundation of Canada funds programs to help Canada's most vulnerable children and youth, those who have experienced or are at risk of abuse and neglect, overcome the obstacles in life that prevent them from reaching their full potential. We are committed to giving ongoing support to those who need it most.

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