Youth and Philanthropy Initiative

Up-to-date Information During COVID-19

Find the most up-to-date information about how YPI Canada is responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.  The links below will take you directly to the most relevant section. 

 Participating Charities    |    Teachers/Schools 

Participating Charities

To our charity partners,

We hope you and your colleagues are safe and well. We remain committed to directing YPI’s youth-led funding out to local charities across Canada this spring. We have updates to share on how we are adapting with our schools and on what you can expect from our adapted grant-making processes over the next two months.

School programming:
The majority of our schools have chosen to proceed with YPI as an online research project for their students this spring: teenagers across Canada have been learning about your critical work, and standing in solidarity with your charity with their adapted projects. For schools that have not been able to proceed with YPI this spring, we have been supporting them to base their 2019/20 grant decisions using student research that was completed in semester one, or, in some cases, a previous academic year. We have also been using student research to make recommendations to other funders, as well.

Student communications:
For those schools that continue the program in an adapted format, YPI is asking that students please do not contact charities with requests for interviews or information at this time. Students will instead use available online materials such as websites, social media, blogs, and news articles to inform their research. Students see the ways that charities are stepping up to respond to the pandemic, and they will understand that they can help by keeping your teams free to respond to the areas of most critical need. We recognize the value of the connections built through YPI visits and interviews, so we will leave it to your discretion whether to continue previously established contact with students.

YPI Grant Process 2020:  

  1. Grant recommendations are now flowing in from our schools across the country, based on the research and advocacy of their students. YPI grants are unrestricted.
  2. The YPI team will be reviewing and verifying these recommendations on a rolling basis during May and June. We will directly email charities who will be receiving a grant to confirm the amount, and to coordinate your preferred payment, by electronic transfer (Telpay) wherever possible. 
  3. YPI grants will vary in size this year, because schools have the flexibility to divide their $5,000 grant up evenly among their finalist student teams (see below for more details). Most grants will be between $1,000-$2,500. In a few exceptional cases, schools have requested to divide the grant up further.     
  4. We are working very closely with schools, but please note that new, virtual processes can carry the chance of miscommunication, especially when we don’t have the accountability of a YPI Final event as usual. Your charity may receive congratulation messages from students, before you hear from YPI. We encourage students to express their gratitude for your work and share good news with you, but please rely on direct YPI communications as official confirmation of a successful grant, and contact us if there’s ever any doubt about the status of a YPI grant.

The decision to offer the flexibility to divide grants was made for the following reasons:

  • To support equity and reduce barriers where not all students have the same access or ability to connect and submit presentations
  • To simplify decision-making where the selection of a single charity would not be fair or feasible without a YPI Final Event
  • To prioritize getting youth-led funding out to as many local charities as we can now, during the acute part of the COVID-19 crisis, by reducing barriers and delays due to the closures.

We thank you for your patience while we made these adaptations, and as always for your steadfast community support both before and during this crisis. 

Rachel Paris
Manager, Digital Strategy & Community Engagement


Imagine Canada has created an online hub for charities and non-profits related to COVID-19. Here you will find updates about relevant government relief programs, ways to advocate for more supports, and resources for fundraisers, including special access to Grant Connect.

CanadaHelps is curating a list of frontline organizations responding to COVID-19, for online donors looking to help. If your organization works in healthcare, provides services to vulnerable communities or offers access to food banks or meal programs, you can request to be added to the list.

TechSoup Canada supports technology access for charities and non-profits. Organizations moving some or all of their work digital may want to take advantage of their discount program on software and hardware, or free training resources in the form of blogs and webinars.


Hello Everyone,

We hope that you and your families are staying safe and well during this global crisis. The YPI team is thinking of you and your students all the time, and we are here to support you in deciding how you would like to move forward with YPI programming for the remainder of the year, and how you would like to go about granting your school’s $5,000.

Thank you in advance for taking time to read this detailed email, and for completing this survey (LINK RETRACTED FOR PUBLIC AUDIENCE. PLEASE EMAIL INFO@GOYPI.ORG IF YOU ARE A LEAD TEACHER AND YOU DO NOT HAVE THIS LINK.) Details below.

On behalf of the YPI team, I’d like to sincerely thank the 29 teachers who participated in our three consultation sessions last week. The YPI team is so grateful for the sentiments, resources, strategies, and input you shared. I have included a summary of key ideas and resources from the sessions beneath my email signature, and the next steps I share below have been deeply informed by these consultations.

Here is the main feedback we received from the teacher consultations, and actions we are taking:

  1.  Many teachers and schools would like to continue YPI with their students as an assignment in an online or distance learning format.
    •  YPI will support teachers who would like to do this, and share resources, including tech recommendations and online adaptations for assignments from your fellow teachers across Canada.
    •  In solidarity with charities that are likely to be under-staffed and over-stretched during the pandemic, YPI asks that students please do not email charities with requests for interviews or information at this time, and to conduct online research (website, social media). A suggested exception, for charities without online information, could be for students to phone and ask just two questions: How have their services been impacted by COVID-19? What do they immediately need?
    •  Some Civics teachers in Ontario may want to complete YPI just for their term 3 students who already started their projects, and then follow a different assignment to meet curricular expectations for term 4.
  2. Regardless of your school’s plans or ability to continue YPI with your students in 2019/20, many teachers and schools may be interested in the option to split up the usual $5,000 grant, and provide smaller grants to more charities that have been researched by your student teams this year. The goal of this would be to reduce barriers for teachers and students by removing the need to host a virtual YPI Final; and also to share funding with more local charities that are supporting our communities through this acute social, economic, and health challenge.
    •  YPI would like to help your school to make either one $5,000 donation; or split the grant, up to five equal ways. (i.e. 2 x $2,500, 3 x $1,667, 4 x $1,250, 5 x $1,000)
    •  Whichever you choose, we will support you with resources and criteria for adapted decision-making processes that are accountable to YPI, to your students, and to the participating charities.
  3. There may be very few full-year schools who have not yet begun YPI this year who would want to opt out of the program to 2020/21. In this case, we will reach out to discuss the options with you for making a grant this Spring (e.g. based on your school’s or community’s previous year’s finalist charities).

As a team, we are committed to supporting your school’s needs on a case-by-case basis, and we welcome your further feedback and ideas. Schools were all at different stages of the project when the closures happened, and we understand you will be receiving different sets of directions and resources from your Ministries of Education, which, at time of writing, most schools are waiting to receive.

In order to prepare and move forward to support each of our schools, we are now asking that every Lead Teacher participate in the following two-step process:


  • This survey will ask you about your plans for YPI programming this year.
  • Regardless of whether your school is able to complete the YPI program with all students, we are committed to granting $5,000 to your school’s community, based on the research and advocacy of your students.
  • Your school’s position in the program in future years will not be impacted by how you respond to the survey.
  • We understand that you may not have the direction you need from your district/board to answer all the questions posed at this time, and it is completely acceptable to us for you to wait until you have more of the information you need before completing the survey.
  • Please complete the survey at your earliest convenience, preferably no later than May 1st.

Step 2: Once you have completed the survey, we will reach out within a few days afterward to schedule a call with you.

  • The goal of this call will be to further explore/support the development of your plans for the remainder of the year and to understand how we can support; and to confirm with you how the decision about your school’s grant will be made.
  • These follow up calls will be individual or in small groups of teachers within the same or a nearby district/board. 

Please don’t hesitate to email us if you have any questions. This message will be forwarded as an FYI to the authorizing administrator at your school.
Thank you all. We wish you, your families, your colleagues, and your students the very best during this challenging time. You’re all at the front of our minds.


Kate Gatto
National Program Director

To read the previous updates from YPI regarding COVID-19, please see this older post. 

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