Toronto, ON (JUNE 19, 2017) – The waitlist for a spot in a multi-award-winning project for Canadian secondary schools will be shorter next year, thanks to a major donation of $500,000 from TD Bank Group. TD’s announcement doubles their longstanding support of the Youth and Philanthropy Initiative Canada, and secures enrollment for 20,000 students across the country in 2017/18.
Founded in Toronto in 2002, the Youth and Philanthropy Initiative is an internationally-acclaimed secondary school project that uses participatory grant-making to connect thousands of students each year to social issues and charities in their communities. More than 450,000 teenagers have completed the project – which asks youth to identify and advocate for local social service charities to become recipients of $5,000 grants – across Canada, New York City, and the United Kingdom.
Participatory grant-making and youth philanthropy are emerging fields of interest in the philanthropic sector, as more grant-makers seek best practices to increase their systemic impact, as well as their inclusiveness and respect for the experiences and knowledge of local stakeholders in the communities where their grants are made. Next year, across Canada, 20,000 secondary school students will participate in granting $500,000 to one hundred registered charities, and through the process, educate themselves, their peers and families about urgent social issues, the role of the charitable sector, and the vital services provided by approximately 3,000 local social service charities identified by youth.
“TD’s belief in young people, demonstrated by their willingness to share power directly with them, is as exceptional today, as it was when they first joined us 12 years ago,” says Holly McLellan, Executive Director of YPI Canada. “By doubling their support now, TD is affirming that youth voices matter, that the issues and charities they believe in matter, and that, for the better of our communities, they should have the resources and platform to feel connected and be heard.”
TD’s community investments include a commitment to education and financial literacy, creating opportunities for young people, and the environment. Through their support of YPI Canada, TD is helping to build intergenerational connections, strengthen community networks and develop young people into compassionate leaders with the tools to help themselves and their communities thrive.
“TD is proud to partner with YPI Canada to deliver innovative, award-winning work for youth, schools, charities, and communities,” says Valerie Picher, Associate Vice-President of Community Relations at TD. “The increase in our funding reflects the need for more young people to participate in inclusive, real-life community projects that build skills, character, and self-confidence.”
The announcement was made at Sir Wilfrid Laurier Collegiate Institute in Scarborough, Ontario, at the “YPI Final”, a year-end event which marks the culmination of the program at each participating school. At the event, showcasing the highest level work from the grade 10 year group, four finalist teams each delivered a 10-minute, multi-media presentation in support of a local charity and the impact it is having on a social issue effecting their community. Each team provided a compelling case for why the charity they represented should receive the $5,000 grant, and explained how their peers could positively engage with the issue or charity. In the end, a panel of judges comprised of former YPI winners, members of student council, a teacher librarian, TDSB Trustee Jerry Chadwick & local MPP, the Hon. Mitzie Hunter, awarded the $5000 grant to the Children’s Book Bank, who provide books and early love-of-reading programming to children of low-income families in an effort to encourage literacy and combat the cycle of poverty.
“The Youth and Philanthropy Initiative can effect real change in the lives of young people and in their communities,” said MPP Hunter, “Students build skills in empathy, compassion, creativity, collaboration and advocacy as they champion their chosen charity. TD Bank’s significant investment will help more students connect with their communities as they participate in this important programme.”
As to how the $5000 grant from this school will be used, students explained that, “They would like to use the grant to build a ramp for accessibility. In this low-income area, there are a lot of people in wheelchairs, and also those who use crutches.” The team anticipate the grant will also help the Children’s Book Bank create a digital catalogue of book donations, and improve their storage system. “They have so much to offer, and so little space. They could really benefit, and a lot of people could benefit from this $5000.”
About YPI Canada
YPI Canada has been providing transformative learning experiences for young Canadians for the last 15 years. Since 2002, YPI has worked with over 275,000 Canadian students and their teachers, provided 8.8 million dollars in grants to frontline charities, and connected over three million people to the social issues and charitable organizations that impact their local communities.
Source: YPI Canada
For further information: Rachel Paris, Social Impact Coordinator, 416-489-1044 or firstname.lastname@example.org