Supporting Youth Economic Opportunities

Youth Social Infrastructure
Relationships and collaboration amplify youth innovation in Ontario

Over the last few years there has been a boom of youth engagement and organizing across Ontario. To help sustain this momentum and ensure that youth organizing continues to be encouraged and supported, even in an era of economic uncertainty and complexity, the Ontario Trillium Foundation is actively sharing knowledge and resources, partnering with other funders and convening leaders from across the province. youth social infrastructure

Youth Social Infrastructure (YSI) emerged through this work and in partnership with Laidlaw Foundation and Tides Canada. YSI exists because we know that meaningful relationships, networks of people and collaboration create and sustain positive change in communities. 
Learn about how YSI got started

Creating Opportunities for Ontario Youth through Social Entrepreneurship and Social Enterprise

Building on the success of previous efforts to create positive economic opportunities for youth, the Future Fund theme for 2012-13 will focus specifically on Support for Youth Social Entrepreneurship in Ontario. OTF will allocate $4M to this theme in the coming year.  

image: future fund wordle

Why Youth Social Entrepreneurship?

Supporting Social Innovation
laidlaw foundation logo
Three examples of youth-centric social innovation supported by funder partnerships

Arti Freeman, Ontario Trillium Foundation Program Manager, collaborated with peers from the Laidlaw and J.W. McConnel Family Foundations on an article published in The Philanthropist exploring ways in which they support social innovation in the youth sector. Read the article

Can funders support emergence?
broken egg

The YSI experience has highlighted important lessons about how funders can support the emergence of community-led initatives and add value beyond grantmaking. Read more about the practice of emergence from a funder's perspective in this article by Program Manager, Arti Freeman and Senior Research and Policy Analyst, Viola Dessanti.
Who are the current Future Fund grantees?
On March 1, 2011, five applicants were awarded Future Fund grants. These exceptional organizations are creating meaningful economic opportunities for the province's youth:
Youth Opportunities UnlimitedPasserelle Intégration et Développement ÉconomiquesDream Now inc.
Indigenous Culture & media innovationsSan Romanoway Revitalization Association 


Where is your work on the YE spectrum?

There is no fixed approach to youth programming that engages youth. Youth engagement is a spectrum of approaches that are reciprocal, dynamic and interactive. They range from programs that target young people to programs for youth, run by youth.

Why we care about youth engagement?

In 2006, the Ontario Trillium Foundation worked with the Centre of Excellence for Youth Engagement (CEYE) to find out more about the needs of youth in Ontario and to identify opportunities to strengthen OTF's granting in this area. CEYE interviewed 24 key people and grantees. It also reviewed current literature and analyzed OTF's grants to youth.


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