Youth Innovations Scale Grant

Scale your successful project of two years or more. Youth Innovations Scale grants support youth-led and youth-adult partnerships to expand their reach or enhance their impact on young people.

Term length

Minimum 3 years, Maximum 4 years

Amount awarded (per year)

Minimum N/A

Maximum $125,000

Looking to enhance or expand an existing project?

Are you a youth-led grassroots group or a youth-adult partnership with over two years of experience delivering a community project? Apply for a Youth Innovations Scale grant to increase your project's reach or impact:

  • Enhance an existing project for a deeper impact on youth. This means adding new components or making refinements to your existing project model to increase your impact.
  • Expand a project to reach more youth. This means increasing the number of young people who can access your project for example by adding more locations or times for project delivery.


Important Dates and Deadlines

Expression of Interest deadline August 24, 2022, 5p.m. ET
Notification of status of EOI Approximately 7 weeks after EOI deadline
Grant Application deadline November 9, 2022, 5p.m. ET
Notification of Grant Application Approximately 5-6 weeks after Grant Application deadline
Organization Mentor Application Open year round
Organizational Mentor Registration deadline January 27, 2023, 5p.m. ET
OM-Grassroots Group Collaborative Agreement deadline January 27, 2023, 5p.m. ET
Start date for all Grants No earlier than May 1, 2023

Plan your application

A Scale grant can support your group to make more of an impact in your community by adding to or expanding the reach of a community project you have been delivering for over two years. To give your application the best chance of being successful, please read the information on this page carefully. It will help you make sure that your group, project, and the people you want to support align with Youth Opportunities Fund (YOF) funding priorities.

Take time to consider these key questions:



Discover if your group is eligible for funding, and make sure your beneficiaries are in YOF's priority beneficiaries. Potential organizational mentors should also review the information in this section.

Group eligibility

The YOF supports projects led by youth and youth-adult partnerships who share identities, experiences with, and face the same systemic barriers as the people who will benefit. This “by and for” principle is a requirement in all YOF funding streams.

We prioritize projects led by and for Indigenous (First Nation, Métis, Inuit) youth and Black youth. Read our definition of a Black- or Indigenous-led grassroots group.

Eligible groups

Your group may be eligible if it meets our definitions of a youth-led group or youth-adult partnership below, and:

  • Is led by youth, ages 29 years or under, who share identities and experiences with those they will engage in project activities 
  • Exists independent of a larger organization
  • Is based in Ontario
  • Has three or more core members
  • Core team members have a history and experience delivering project activities over two years or more together
  • Is either 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. 
  • If group is incorporated as a not-for-profit; board members and day-to-day management continues to meet youth-led and youth adult-partnership models  
  • Agrees to work with an Organizational Mentor (OM)

Ineligible groups

The following are not eligible to apply:

  • Groups specifically designed to serve young people through committees or clubs of institutions, including municipalities, universities, schools, and hospitals
  • Groups with charitable status  
  • For-profit businesses 
  • Individuals  

Project eligibility

Your project may be eligible if it:

  • Includes all required information
  • Strongly aligns with your chosen YOF Priority Outcome
  • The project model has been delivered for two or more years and there is a demonstrated track record of strong and positive benefits to youth engaged
  • Complies with OTF policies. Our policy requirements define eligibility for OTF funding and outline exclusions. Funds are granted to eligible applicants delivering eligible project activities that directly align with YOF Priority Outcomes.
  • Benefits young people 12-25, and/or 12-29 for youth living with special needs and/or disabilities

Application process

YOF’s application process involves various steps for groups and organizational mentors.

Key dates and Expression of Interest (EOI) submission
  • Review the Grant Application deadlines
  • Review the EOI questions at YI Resources to prepare your responses 
  • Submit your application online
Create a user profile
  • Start your application by logging in or creating a new user profile in our application portal
  • If you are creating a new user profile, please enter the name of your group’s primary contact with their email address. We will email this person a user ID, temporary password, and instructions on how to access the online Expression of Interest (EOI).
Notification of shortlisting and Grant Application submission
  • We will tell you the status of your EOI around 4-6 weeks after the EOI deadline
  • Begin to research potential organizational mentors (OM)
  • If your group is shortlisted, you will be invited to submit a Grant Application
OM application and assessment (OMs only)
  • Review relevant deadlines for the OM application
  • Is your organization new to OTF? If yes, Register online once the OM application is live
  • Is your organization already registered with the OTF? Once the OM application is live, you will Log in to apply online Look for Applications (YOF) in the top right corner. Click to access OM Application.
  • The YOF team will verify your organization’s eligibility
  • If your organization is not eligible, we will ask you to notify the relevant groups and project leaders impacted by this decision
Recommendation and selection
  • The volunteer YOF Grant Review Committee will finalize funding recommendations following the submission of OM information
  • OTF’s Board of Directors approve these recommendations
Notification of funding approval
  • If your Grant Application is funded, your OM will sign and uphold the grant contract with OTF
  • All applicants will be notified of the status of their Grant Application two months after you submit your Organizational Mentor – Grassroots Group Collaborative Agreement
After approval
  • Start date: The start date is no earlier than May 1st of the year your grant starts.
  • Reporting & monitoring: In addition to scheduled touch points, grantees track activities, spending, and learning to complete the annual progress report and a final report.
  • Capacity building: Learn and connect with other YOF grantees by participating in YOF led events and making the most of capacity building funds available in your project budget.
  • Evaluation: Grantees must work with an external evaluation team to evaluate progress towards the chosen YOF outcome.
  • Completion: After OTF staff approve a Final Report, the grant hold-back funds are released and the grant is closed.
  • Grantee compliance: A random sample of grants are subject to a Grantee Compliance Audit. Grant files can be audited for compliance at any point during the grant's life, or after the grant has been closed.

Choose your project type

Scale grants can help you improve or expand your own successful project. Two types of models qualify for a Scale grant. Choose the one that most closely aligns with your project.

This is a project you have successfully been delivering core activities for over two years. Now you want to make it even better to increase its positive impact on youth. Choose this project type if:

  • This is a project you currently deliver
  • You have strong evidence of the project's success and impact that aligns with one of the YOF Priority Outcomes
  • You can demonstrate how you can enhance your core project and deepen the impact for the youth you are currently working with

This is a project you have already been successfully delivering core activities for over two years. Now you want to reach more young people and expand its impact. Choose this project type if:

  • This is a project you currently deliver
  • You have strong evidence of the project's success and impact that aligns with one of the YOF priority outcomes
  • You can demonstrate how you can expand its reach and achieve your chosen YOF Priority Outcome to serve the same youth you are currently working with

Choose your Priority Outcome

Priority Outcomes reflect the changes YOF is investing in. All approved projects must advance one of these outcomes through project activities. The one you choose identifies the impact your project will have.

When choosing your YOF Priority Outcome, think about:

  • What are the key issues and/or challenges that your selected YOF youth face?
  • What results do you hope to achieve through your project?
  • What are the changes you have achieved through your core project activities over the past two years, and those you want to sustain as a group?

As you fill out your application, you should align your answers to the YOF Priority Outcome your project will achieve.

  • Creating safe spaces for Indigenous and/or Black youth to build strong community and cultural connections
  • Addressing racism and its impacts on youth in urban, rural, and/or Northern communities
  • Supporting Indigenous, Black, and/or newcomer youth to enter the labour market and transition to sustainable career pathways
  • Supporting youth who are not connected to education programs, employment programs, and training programs (i.e. NEET) to exit poverty and social assistance
  • Empowering girls and young women to lead, including women’s economic empowerment initiatives
  • Providing mentorship opportunities for youth in and leaving care and/or youth involved in the justice system

Choose your Primary Beneficiaries

As you complete your application, align your scale project with the primary beneficiaries named in your chosen YOF Priority Outcome. We recognize that your primary beneficiaries may hold other identities and experiences and that are critical to the design and delivery of your project. In your application, please identify both the primary beneficiaries as well as those intersecting identities and experiences that are most relevant to what you are doing and why. Be intentional and specific in your decision-making at this stage.

  • Indigenous youth (First Nation, Métis, or Inuit)
  • Black youth  
  • Racialized youth  
  • Newcomer youth  
  • Francophone youth  
  • Two-spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (2SLGBTQ+) youth  
  • Youth living with disabilities or special needs between the ages of 12 to 29  
  • Youth living in rural, remote and/or Northern communities  
  • Youth in conflict or at risk of being in conflict with the law  
  • Youth in care or leaving care  
  • Youth in low-income situations or from low-income families  
  • Youth who are homeless or at risk of being homeless  
  • Youth at-risk of dropping out or have dropped out


What is a youth-led group?

A youth-led group is a group that:

  • Has a majority of individuals aged 29 or under at the governance or decision-making level
  • Has youth, 12 to 29, managing the project (from planning, to implementation and evaluation)
  • Serves youth as its primary mandate

What is a youth-adult partnership?

A youth-adult partnership is a group that has young people as its primary audience and where youth and adults share power. This looks like:

  • Shared responsibility for decision-making about the project and the group
  • Shared responsibility for planning and delivery of activities and the budget
  • Shared responsibility for planning for the future of the project and the group

What is a grassroots group?

The work of a grassroots youth-led group or youth-adult partnership is community-led and community-inspired. Core group members share identities and lived experiences with the young people who will benefit.

Not sure if you are eligible? Reach out to us at

Eligible and ineligible project expenses

  • Staffing (with considerations for Mandatory Employee Required Costs (MERC) of 20%) 
  • Transportation 
  • Honorarium (participants, volunteers) 
  • Support Services (translation, interpretation, child-minding) 
  • Project supplies and materials 
  • Project equipment (rental or purchase) 
  • Food 
  • Communications (website, promotions)
  • Fees (for services delivered) 
  • Contingency (maximum of 10% per year) 

Mandatory Expenses that need to be included in every Scale Request:

  • Administrative Support Costs (OM)- 15% of total budget  
  • Capacity Building: minimum of $4,000 to maximum of $6,000 per year
  • Capital infrastructure expenses (renovations to space) 
  • Expenses related to political or religious activities 
  • General or ongoing operating expenses (unrelated to the project) 
  • Bursaries, scholarships, sponsorships or individual requests (including regranting funds to other projects or people)
  • Fundraising campaigns 

Expression of Interest (EOI) assessment

How are Scale EOIs assessed?

  • Your Scale EOI is assessed based on three areas of the application: Group Eligibility, People, and Strategy (See YI EOI Scale Questions and Scorecard for more details). At the EOI stage, the Project Plan and Budget will be reviewed by a YOF Program Manager but not assessed
  • If your group is invited to submit a Grant Application, a YOF Program Manager will reach out to share feedback on the Project Plan and Budget before the Grant Application deadline
  • The Project and Budget will only be assessed at the Grant Application stage of the application process