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Youth Success Strategy (YSS) Development Grant Funding Stream

  1. Context
  2. What is UWGT’s Youth Success Strategy?
  3. Overview of the YSS Development Grant Stream
  4. Eligibility
  5. Amount Available
  6. Use of Funds
  7. Program Selection Process
  8. Program Selection Criteria
  9. Summary of Dates
  10. Information Sessions & Office Hours
  11. Appeals
  12. Appendix: YSS Expected Outcomes & Indicators

1. Context

With a recovering economy, greater competition and the breakdown of traditional paths to work, today’s job market is difficult. Youth in particular are facing a quickly-changing landscape where they need personal assets and skills to succeed — the right combination of education and credentials, work-relevant networks and employer-recognized soft skills.

In addition to heightened anxiety regarding the future, many youth — over 17% of the almost 1.1 million across our region, according to 2016 Census data — face multiple barriers to achieving career success, with that figure reaching an alarming 22.6% in Toronto alone.

Racialized, newcomer and Indigenous youth; youth with disabilities; youth in or leaving care; LGBTQ youth; youth in conflict with the law; youth from low-income families: all these young people can benefit from targeted support and opportunities to build in-demand skills and competencies, find meaningful employment and successfully transition into adulthood.

2. What is UWGT’s Youth Success Strategy?

The Youth Success Strategy (YSS) is a significant evolution from a broad investment in youth to an evidence-based strategy to support young people to develop the skills necessary for meaningful employment.

United Way works to enhance the employability, lifelong earning potential and economic security of youth facing multiple barriers (YFMB) by providing better access, opportunities and connections. We address systemic challenges, through research and analysis that improves understanding of the issues and identifies promising practices that inform our partnerships, advocacy efforts and policy recommendations. We collaborate with agencies, employers, in-demand post-secondary programs, foundations and government partners to coordinate and leverage resources and align them with labour needs. And, we invest in innovative programs and signature initiatives that are grounded in the core principle of youth engagement, ultimately strengthening the youth employment sector’s capacity to deliver on its mission.

To reach our goal we have identified three interdependent outcomes for the Youth Success Strategy:

  1. Increase access to post-secondary education (PSE) among specific groups of youth facing multiple barriers
  2. Develop access to work-relevant networks for youth facing multiple barriers
  3. Increase access to experiences that build employer-recognized soft skills for youth facing multiple barriers

See Appendix for information on program alignment to YSS Outcomes.

3. Overview of the YSS Development Grant Stream

The YSS Development Grant is a one-time, time-limited infusion of funds to develop or improve components for an existing program that is aligned to the goals of United Way’s Youth Success Strategy. The funding contract is up to one year and non-renewable.

This year particularly, the YSS Development Grants will focus on agencies that primarily serve youth with disabilities or special needs.

Some of the program development activities may include:

  • Embedding and operationalizing a Positive Youth Development (PYD) approach (e.g., developing manuals and providing training for staff)
  • Developing a strategy or plan on youth employability opportunities in collaboration with local employers
  • Developing a soft skills program curriculum or manual
  • Developing or revising the design of the program (e.g., producing a Theory of Change and/or logic model)
  • Developing or revising the program’s monitoring and evaluation framework
  • Improving staff skills directly related to more effective service delivery (e.g., mental health, program evaluation, program planning and management)
  • Improving intake, assessment, tracking and referral processes

4. Eligibility

YSS Development Grants are open to all social service organizations with charitable status, as well as those that are incorporated non-profits trusteed by a charity. Service delivery organizations must be located in either Peel, Toronto or York Region and must provide services in these areas. The agency’s youth employability program must serve and demonstrate outcomes for youth between the ages of 17-29.

One program per agency may be submitted for consideration. We do not fund individuals.

To be eligible for a YSS Development Grant, your organization must:

  • Be a registered charitable organization OR
  • Be an incorporated non-profit organization, trusteed by a registered charity.
  • Provide services to people living in, or at risk of, poverty.
  • Provide structured employment services for youth in either Peel, Toronto or York Region.
  • Have an employment program and/or education-to-employment program, and youth with disabilities or special needs make up at least 70% of program participants.
  • Have audited financial statements for at least 2 years (fiscal 2016 and 2017 years). In the case of trusteed applicants, the trustee must have audited financial statements for at least 2 years in addition to the applicant’s financial records.

UWGT will not fund the following ineligible1 organizations:

  • For-profit organizations
  • Organizations that do not have charitable status or are not trusteed by a charitable organization
  • Government, government agencies, boards and/or commissions
  • Hospitals and long-term-care facilities2
  • Universities, colleges and school boards
  • Organizations located outside Peel, Toronto or York Region
  • Organizations whose purpose is solely related to political activity, as defined by the Canada Revenue Agency
  • Organizations without a clear demarcation between religious and community service as evidenced in the organization’s by-laws
  • Organizations that could be deemed discriminatory, as defined by the Ontario Human Rights Code
  • Foundations
  • Unions
  • Professional Associations

UWGT will not support the following ineligible programs/activities:

  • Services mandated by the Child and Family Services Act, (R.S.O. 1990, c. 11)
  • Residential facilities that are licensed and regulated under the Child and Family Services Act and funded by Ministry of Children and Youth Services or Ministry of Community and Social Services
  • Residential facilities that are funded or managed by Corrections Canada
  • Programs that do not have a primary focus on youth employability (e.g., environmental, arts or athletic programs)
  • Programs that align better with or are currently funded through UWGT’s Building Strong Neighborhoods Strategy (BSNS) and Community Services Sector (CSS) program funding

5. Amount Available

The maximum funding available through the YSS Development Grant Stream is $75,000 per program per agency. Up to 20% of the program grant may be applied to program administrative costs.

6. Use of Funds

The funds can be used for program adaptation and enhancement including:

  • New and updated monitoring and evaluation framework tools
  • New and revised outreach, intake and assessment tools
  • Completing research required for better service delivery
  • Staff training to adapt new approaches
  • Develop and/or revise the Theory of Change and/or program strategy
  • Develop a partnership strategy

UWGT funds may not be used for the following ineligible costs/activities:

  • Programmatic gaps (e.g., additional staff, new location, ongoing operational costs)
  • Purchase of capital assets (e.g., laptop)
  • Back-filling existing funding needs

7. Program Selection Process

YSS Development Grant applications will be administered through United Way’s online funding system, Grants Online (GO). Agencies will be expected to submit an organizational health assessment and an eligibility criteria self-assessment as part of the complete funding application.

UWGT staff and community-based volunteers (including youth) will review and shortlist applications. A Management Advisory Group (MAG) consisting of community-based volunteers will further review the shortlist and makes recommendations to senior UWGT management staff for final approval.

8. Program Selection Criteria

Applications will be shortlisted and referred to senior management for final decision based on:

  • Proven organizational health
  • Adequate program design
  • Feasibility of the project plan
  • Evidence that the projected outcomes will be clearly met by the financial request
  • Evidence that the proposed project outcomes will clearly improve program quality and efficacy
  • Sustainability of operational outcomes after funding concludes
  • Demonstrated organizational culture that encourages and supports positive youth development
  • Demonstration of education-to-employment services to youth with disabilities or special needs
  • Strong alignment of the project with UWGT’s YSS Theory of Change and expected outcomes
  • Alignment of intended outputs and outcomes with sector standards and best-practices
  • Willingness to work with UWGT as a partner
  • Strong case for UWGT investment relative to other needs

The YSS Development Grant review committee will then prioritize applications that directly serve youth who have a disability or special needs.

9. Summary of Dates

  • Information session on Organizational Health: August 27, 2018
  • Self-assessment for Organizational Health opens online: September 6, 2018
  • Mandatory information sessions: September 7 – September 28, 2018
  • Self-assessment for Organizational Health due: October 5, 2018 (not required for United Way currently funded agencies)
  • Full application opens online: October 15, 2018
  • Office hours: November 5 – November 16, 2018
  • Full application due: December 12, 2018
  • Funding announcements: March 2019

10. Information Sessions & Office Hours

UWGT staff will be offering a series of information sessions both before and after the online application launches. Click here to see the schedule and register.

Additionally, office hours are available to all applicants interested in applying for a YSS Development Grant. Office hours are an opportunity to access support with your YSS Development Grant application and have your questions answered. Office hours will be held from November 5-16, 2018. Support can be provided over the phone or in person. To make an appointment during office hours contact: Iris Mushitsi, Manager of Youth Initiatives, by email at IMushitsi@uwgt.org or by phone at 416-777-1444 ext. 319.

11. Appeals

There are no appeals for the YSS Development Grant.

12. Appendix: YSS Expected Outcomes & Indicators

Chart displaying expected outcomes and indicators


1 Agencies listed as ineligible may partner in the delivery of a community service program or project, where a social service agency is the funding applicant.

2 An exception will be granted to agencies that are currently funded by UWGT.