Youth and Philanthropy Initiative


General FAQs

YPI takes an innovative approach to directing grant dollars to local charities by involving high school students in the decision-making process. YPI works with schools to develop students’ knowledge and skills as active and informed philanthropists, in order to help them bring about positive and lasting change in their communities.

Learn more about YPI »

YPI takes place as an inclusive, experiential project in secondary school classrooms, where students work in teams to research, visit, and present on the work of a local charitable organization that provides services to people in their community. Student teams then share with their peers, teachers, and community members through 10 minute presentations why their chosen charity deserves funding. The student team who is deemed to have the most effective presentation will secure a $5000 YPI grant that will go directly to their charity to assist them in providing services that impact their community.

In order to be eligible to receive a YPI grant, charitable organizations must have valid charitable registration status through the Canada Revenue Agency, and must provide direct social services within the participating school’s local community.

We’re always happy to talk to schools or teachers interested in YPI! Direct them to our website to learn more, or complete a nomination form on their behalf.

Are YOU an educator who would like to bring YPI to your school? Apply now using our online application form.

For Students

YPI was created to help young people learn about and get engaged with social issues affecting their communities, and to give them the opportunity to raise awareness about and direct funding to the causes and charities they care about. Students who participate in YPI tell us that this unique, practical experience helps them connect with things they are passionate about (and perhaps might not otherwise have known about), while building skills, confidence and critical thinking. This project offers you a jumping off point to develop and use your own personal skill set to make a positive difference in your own backyard.

You can choose any registered charity that provides a direct social service to people in your local community. Your teacher will get you started with this research, but there are also great tips and links on our Find a Local Charity page to support the process of researching, selecting, contacting and visiting a charity in your area.

This is really up to you! Remember, you are trying to convince your peers and/or the final presentation judges that your charity is most deserving of a $5000 grant. There is important information that needs to be included, but that doesn’t mean you can’t also be creative. For more information and tips on creating a great YPI presentation, visit our Presentation Tips page.

We hope that these are questions you’ll ask yourself and your teachers after your in-school YPI experience comes to a close. There are many ways you can continue to make a difference. YPI students often remain involved with their chosen charity by:
  • volunteering
  • fundraising
  • helping them to create a Facebook page, Twitter profile, or other social media account
  • creating a promotional video or sharing a video created for the student group’s YPI presentation
  • becoming a youth advocate and helping to raise awareness of the charity and the support services it offers

For Teachers

We’re always happy to hear from schools who want to bring YPI to their students. We are currently accepting applications from Canadian secondary schools. Click here for the application form and more information about program requirements »
YPI is offered free of charge to schools who commit to the enrolment requirements.

YPI is an inclusive educational experience, helping students learn that everyone can make a difference in their communities. In mandatory courses, every student has access to YPI’s experiential learning model, school culture is influenced across student cohorts, and the impact of your students’ social engagement grows for your community as a whole. For support on implementing YPI within your mandatory course, please contact us.

Through YPI, student teams make a shortlist of 3 potential charities they’re interested in visiting. We advise students to not procrastinate, and to have a backup plan if the first charities they contact are not able to arrange a visit. For more information, please see our guide on finding a local charity.

YPI staff are always available to support teachers in learning about the program, initiating it, addressing student questions, and helping your school get the most impact for your students and community. Please don’t hesitate to contact us. You can also speak with other teachers in your school who have experience facilitating YPI in previous years.

The recipient of a $5000 grant YPI grant is decided at each participating school’s YPI Final by a panel of judges (made up of a majority of youth). YPI Finals are held after an initial round of classroom-level presentations.

YPI Canada sends grant cheques directly to the winning charities in the summer following the school year.

There are a variety of resources available to support you once your school is enrolled in YPI, including our robust Teacher Resource Guide, phone and email support from the YPI Canada team throughout the year, and YPI 101 – a introductory orientation over the phone for new teachers, geared to explain the YPI process and answer any questions you may have.

Information and tips for students can be found on our Student Resources page.

Understandably, splitting the grant made it easier for some schools on a logistics level. However, $5000 is a large sum of money for some organizations, and has a huge impact. With $5000, charities can provide valuable programming they may not have budgeted for, and are able to support more people.

For Charities

For a social service charity, YPI provides an opportunity to engage young people from within the same community in which you operate so they can become informed advocates for the work that you do. The students who have contacted you are participating in a project-based competition as part of their school curriculum, and they have identified your charity as carrying out important work that benefits people living in your shared community. These students are eager to visit your charity, learn more about you, and then advocate for the work you do in hope of securing your organization a $5000 YPI grant!

YPI is powerful for students because it connects them to real issues affecting their communities, and the charity visit is a key part of this. It can deeply personalize the social issues for students, opening students’ eyes and minds to the needs of vulnerable people living around them and the vital work being done to help. These visits have the potential to forge a powerful connection that will often drive students to be strong advocates and to explore their own roles and responsibilities in bringing about positive social change.

In their presentations, students are expected to describe how a social issue impacts their local community, and how your organization helps community members experiencing those challenges. They will want to learn more about the programs and services you offer, some of the outcomes you create for your clients, the long term impacts of your work on the social issue, and what resources it takes to make all this happen. They’re also asked to describe what attitudes, behaviours or actions the audience could change that could help your organization or the people you serve. Share as much information as you can, but don’t be afraid to redirect students’ efforts when appropriate—they should already have learned what they can about your organization online, and you can direct them to these sections of your website when you confirm their appointment time. Interviews and visits are intended to be a forum for deeper questions about your approach and the challenges you face.

Many participating charities take students for a short tour of their location, and then sit down to allow them to interview. If you have programming that they could see first-hand, or opportunities for them to participate as volunteers, this hands-on element can be extremely effective. Where this is not possible, try to engage students with real stories of how people have been helped by the work that you do. Create opportunities for them to speak with other staff about their work. Volunteers can be great spokespeople, too; what about your organization inspires them to give their time? Talk to them about upcoming events, new initiatives or specific challenges your organization is working on that you would particularly like the community to be aware of.
There can be a lot of information to absorb! Print materials you can send them home with, like annual reports, brochures and program calendars, will be a great reference when they are creating their presentations.
It’s important to communicate any boundaries that may exist with your organization. For example, if your building is scent-free, or if taking photos, video or audio recordings would be disruptive to confidentiality, let them know ahead of time (if available, direct them to media they would be permitted to use).

Students will develop a presentation to be delivered in their classroom advocating on behalf of your charity. The top presentations from within the participating grade will go on to a YPI Final Event at their school, where one group will secure a $5000 grant for their chosen charity. If their chosen charity is selected as the recipient of a YPI grant, students will most often notify the charity by phone immediately following their school’s YPI final, or shortly thereafter. We always prefer YPI students to be the bearers of this good news, but if they are unable, your charity will be notified by a YPI Canada representative. Outside of their YPI experience, students may choose to stay involved with your charity, whether as volunteers, youth advisors, fundraisers, or in other capacities.
Think about your organizational goals. How might YPI students help you achieve them? Does the social issue you address need more community awareness? Does your organization need more volunteers? Are there material supplies your organization needs that students could help collect? Be clear about what you need—and why—and it will come through in your students’ final presentations, through which they will teach an average of 50 people about what they learned. Some specific ideas:
  • Young people often have a lot of social media experience; if appropriate, they may be able to help build your organization’s online profile, or offer creative ways for engaging your audience more effectively.
  • We’ve seen some great videos produced by YPI students, showcasing the work their chosen charities do. See if your student group would be willing to create a video for your charity to share online.
  • In many cases, students continue to volunteer with their chosen charities after YPI. Ask your group if they’d be interested, especially if you have any upcoming events where they could be helpful.

We are here to support you in having a valuable and positive experience with YPI. We’re happy to guide new organizations through their first visits, hear feedback from you, and work on challenges as they come up.

Give us a call at 1-888-489-1044 or send us an e-mail at

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