Family Innovations Stream

The Family Innovations Stream invests in the work of grassroots groups delivering culturally anchored projects that empower and support parents, guardians and caregivers. Family Innovations projects will engage parents, guardians, and caregivers who face systemic barriers and challenges to family well-being. Through this stream, the Youth Opportunities Fund (YOF) provides families with the resources needed to thrive.

What are the changes YOF is investing in?

  • Supporting parents, guardians and caregivers to navigate and access resources for economic stability
  • Supporting parents, guardians and caregivers to effectively navigate, access, and influence systems that affect family well-being
  • Creating safe spaces for Indigenous and/or Black parents, guardians and caregivers to strengthen relationships, build strong community and cultural connections, and heal from trauma
Note

All projects funded through the Family Innovations Stream must advance one of the three Priority Outcomes.

Priority Outcomes and Populations

Who’s leading the change?

YOF believes in the value of grassroots leadership in developing solutions and delivering projects that positively impact communities across Ontario. YOF believes that shared identities and experiences are critical to effective grassroots work that responds to and recognizes the assets, needs, strengths, skills and experiences of parents, guardians and caregivers facing systemic barriers.

Who benefits?

Family Innovations projects benefit families that face systemic barriers to wellbeing.  We recognize that some families experience exclusion and face complex challenges, including racism, poverty, trauma, and mental wellbeing.  These barriers make it that much harder to navigate systems, access opportunities, and experience economic and social wellbeing.

YOF is committed to investing in projects led by and for parents, guardians and caregivers who face systemic barriers to wellbeing, including: 

  • Indigenous parents, guardians, and caregivers (i.e., First Nations, Métis, Inuit)
  • Black parents, guardians, and caregivers
  • Racialized parents, guardians, and caregivers
  • Newcomer parents, guardians, and caregivers
  • Francophone parents, guardians, and caregivers
  • Parents, guardians, and caregivers and/or their children who are two-spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (2SLGBTQ+)
  • Parents, guardians, and caregivers and/or their children living with disabilities or special needs
  • Parents, guardians, and caregivers living in rural, remote and/or Northern communities
  • Parents, guardians, and caregivers and/or their children in conflict or at risk of being in conflict with the law
  • Parents, guardians, and caregivers at risk of contact or in contact with child welfare services
  • Parents, guardians, and caregivers in low income situations
  • Parents, guardian and caregivers who are homeless or at risk of being homeless
  • Parents, guardians, and caregivers whose children are at-risk of dropping out or have dropped out of school.

Here are some examples of projects that are aligned to a Priority Outcome and serve parents, guardians and caregivers listed in YOF’s priority populations:

  • A group has selected the outcome that focuses on supporting parents, guardians and caregivers facing trauma to heal their relationships. The group is Indigenous-led and most of the core group members are parents who are residential school survivors.  The group has been supporting families to heal from trauma by connecting parents and children back to the land, their language, ceremonies and Elders. 

  • A group has selected the outcome that focuses on supporting parents, guardians and caregivers with integration and systems navigation.  The group made up of newcomer parents and caregivers provides culturally anchored navigational supports for newcomer parents arriving from Somalia. Their work addresses the same challenges and issues that core group members faced when they first came to Canada.

Types of Family Innovations Stream grants

The Family Innovations Stream has two types of grants to choose from. Learn more to see which grant might be the right one for your project.

  Family Innovations
TEST Grant
Family Innovations
SCALE Grant
Granting Purpose Allows groups to test new ideas, strategize, or research in ways that are culturally anchored and will advance one Family Innovations Priority Outcome.  Allows groups to grow existing project that has demonstrated success in achieving one Family Innovations Priority Outcome 
Profile of Applicants For newer grassroots groups with at least one-year of experience delivering activities together and/or more established groups.  For more established grassroots groups that have already delivered core project activities over a two-year period. You should also be able to demonstrate the success of the model you are looking to scale. 
Types of Projects
  • Research a new concept or issue
  • Strategize around issue(s) affecting YOF parents, guardians and caregivers
  • Test a new project idea 
  • Add elements to an existing project for a deeper impact for parents, guardians, and caregivers
  • Expand a project to reach more parents, guardians and caregivers
Amount up to $85,000 per year  up to $125,000 per year 
Term 1 to 3 years 3 to 4 years
Take note

The YOF Youth Innovations Stream does not fund any capital projects (including renovations, repairs and/or new buildings). For these types of initiatives, see the Ontario Trillium Foundation ​​​Investment Strategy

Check out some YOF grantees leading change in their communities.

Who can apply to the Family Innovations Stream?

The Family Innovations Stream invests in the work of grassroots groups delivering culturally anchored projects that empower, support, and strengthen families.

Grassroots work is about community-led and community-inspired work. Shared identities and lived experiences between the parents, guardians and caregivers delivering the project and those who will benefit from the project is essential to our understanding of ‘grassroots’. 

Groups eligible to apply to the Family Innovations Stream:

  • Are led by parents, guardians and caregivers who share identities and experiences with those parents, guardians and caregivers they will engage in project activities
  • Have three or more core members
  • Are an unincorporated group OR an incorporated non-profit organization with independently managed revenues no higher than $50,000 in either of the last two years. Registered charities are not eligible to apply to the YOF Family Innovations Stream 
  • Are based in Ontario

Not sure if you are eligible? Reach out to us at yof@otf.ca

 

Take note

If approved for funding, Family Innovations groups must work with an organizational mentor (OM). An OM is an incorporated non-profit organization, charity, or First Nation that meets Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) eligibility criteria and will provide the group with financial accountability as well as administrative, project, and mentoring support. This means that if your EOI is shortlisted, your group must submit a signed OM-Grassroots Group Collaborative Agreement as part of your completed Grant Application. Your project cannot receive funding until OTF determines that your OM is eligible.  If your Grant Application is funded, your OM will sign and uphold the grant contract with OTF. At any point in the process, ask your OM to reach out to us and we can guide them on next steps!

OMs are able to partner with only one group applying to the Family or Youth Innovations Stream per year. Please keep that in mind as you explore finding the right organizational mentor for your project and group.

How to apply to the Family Innovations Stream

  • Start by logging in or creating a user profile in our application system if you are new to the YOF 
  • If you are creating a new user profile, you’ll need to enter the name of your group’s primary contact and provide their email address. Immediately afterwards you’ll be emailed your user ID, a temporary password and instructions on how to access the online EOI which will open in mid-September 2020.
  • In mid-September 2020, the online EOI will be open to applicants. Until then, please use the FI EOI Test Tool or the FI EOI Scale Tool to prepare your responses. 

  • Once the system is open, log in to the YOF online application system to access the EOI. The EOI must be completed and submitted online by grassroots groups. 

  • Begin to research potential organizational mentors (OM). Learn more about OMs and their role in the YOF Youth Innovations Stream

Note

All groups will receive news on the status of their EOI in mid-November 2020. Some EOIs will be shortlisted. Those groups will be invited to submit an OM – Grassroots Group Collaborative Agreement by December 16 and Grant Application in January.

  • Select your OM
  • Share your EOI with your OM
  • Complete, review and sign the agreement with your OM
  • Ensure your OM reviews the Grant Application prior to submission

Note

From here, the YOF Team will verify your OM’s eligibility. In the situation where your proposed OM does not meet OTF eligibility, your group will be asked to select a new OM. In case your chosen OM is already matched with another grassroots group, you may be asked to select a new OM. In both cases, the YOF Team will support you through this process.

  • In mid-September 2020, the online OM Application will be open to organizations. Until then, please use the OM Application as a reference and navigation tool.  
  • Is your organization new to OTF? Start by registering your organization and completing the short OM Application Form. 
  • Is your organization already registered with the OTF? Log in to your organizational profile to access a short OM Application Form. Look for Applications (YOF) in the top right corner. Click to access OM Application. You may also be asked to update any organizational information that may be out of date.
  • The YOF team will verify your organization’s eligibility. In the situation where your organization does not meet OTF eligibility, you will be notified.  We ask that you notify those groups and project leaders impacted by this decision. 
  • Log in to the YOF online application system to access the Grant Application. Complete and submit the Grant Application.

Note

If your Grant Application is funded, your OM will sign and uphold the grant contract with OTF. All applicants will receive news on the status of their Grant Application in April 2021.

Learn more about the Youth Opportunities Fund's other funding streams, or visit the YOF Resources page for more information.