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United Way Toronto

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Frequently Asked Questions

Youth Success Strategy (YSS)


  1. How does United Way Toronto & York Region (United Way) define youth under the YSS?

    The Youth Success Strategy defines youth as 17-29 years of age.

    An agency’s youth employability program must serve youth between the ages of 17-29. Eligible agency programs do not have to serve the full age range of the YSS, but should be able to demonstrate outcomes for any subset of youth between the ages17- 29. Clear impact must be demonstrated throughout the program application for the age relevant to the YSS.

  2. How much can we apply for?

    Based on an analysis of our current portfolio, we expect organizations to apply for an average of $50,000 - $60,000 per program, per year, over a 3-year contract period. Organizations that request more than the average amount must present a strong business case. These programs will be considered on a case by case basis as well as part of the overall portfolio review.
  3. What does United Way mean by the YSS funds are meant to enhance existing programs?

    The YSS Program Grant is complimentary to other youth employability program funding and supports. United Way will only fund programs that are currently funded by other funders and have a minimum of 2 years of demonstrated outcomes.

    • Expand youth employability programs to support more youth facing multiple barriers
    • Enhance youth employability program for greater impact and outcomes for youth facing multiple barriers

  4. Where are accessibility costs covered – administration or program?

    Organizations must articulate where accessibility costs would be needed. The program description should provide the rationale for the accessibility costs, and the budget should reflect where the accessibility costs will be applied.

  5. Is there a formula for how much it should cost per young person?

    United Way will review applications based on realistic and justifiable program costs relative to the specific needs of the youth being served.

  6. Clarify what it means to have an existing program (2 years) and demonstrated success?
    An eligible youth employability program must have completed two years of program activities by June 29, 2016.  The program must have set realistic targets and objectives with evidence to support that the program has met those targets and objectives.
  7. Will the YSS Program Grant stream accept proposals for new ideas or programmatic interventions?

    No. The YSS Program grant will only fund programs that have been active for at least the last 2 years.
  8. Can we expand to York Region and/or can we use funding to develop a program in York Region that we are delivering in Toronto?

    United Way encourages local solutions to local issues and will assess whether or not there are existing organizations better positioned to deliver a YSS program in any York Region or Toronto community.  Organizations applying to expand a 2 year program to another location must demonstrate that there is a significant need in the targeted community and that there are no other local services to meet the need.   The organization must also demonstrate that the program has existing funding and support for current operations. Organizations must give due consideration to expansion costs, the feasibility and rationale for expansion and program sustainability post YSS Program Grant.

  9. What qualifies as Post Secondary Education (PSE)?

    Under the Youth Success Strategy PSE can be defined as:
    • Trades certificate or a college, CEGEP or other non-university certificate or diploma
    • University certificate or diploma below bachelor’s degree
    • University certificate or diploma above bachelor’s degree
    • Master’s degree; medical degree or doctorate
    • Credentialed training and apprenticeships that have the potential of leading youth to lifelong earning potential and employability.  

  10. Can we submit a grant request for a collaborative initiative for two or more agencies under the YSS Program Grant or YSS Development Grant?

    The program must have operated as a partnership for the last two years to be eligible for a YSS Program Grant. Organizations seeking to develop new strategic partnerships can apply for a YSS Development Grant. 

  11. Is the YSS Program Grant stream separate from Community Services Sector (CSS)  Program Funding stream?

    The YSS Program Grant is separate and different from the CSS Program funding stream. Funding considerations for the YSS program grant are targeted and specific to youth ages 17– 29, facing multiple barriers to employability and life-long earning potential. Organization programs will need to align to at least one YSS outcome area.

  12. How does the YSS Program Grant Stream connect to anchor funding? Do YSS programs “count” as part of CSS anchor application?

    YSS programs do not count as part of an organization’s CSS anchor funding application. 

    Once we receive agency anchor applications, we will review any application that submits a program under youth or employability and put it through the YSS Program Grant EOI process, if United Way staff determines that the program has YSS potential.  If determined eligible for a full application we will contact the organization to collect any additional information required and the program will go through the YSS Program Grant review process. 

    For any organization selected for anchor funding, United Way will work with the organization to negotiate the best use of funds as it relates to the outcome of your YSS application and your overall CSS anchor funding.

    If a program is YSS eligible but not selected due to the small funding envelope for this round of funding, it will not be eligible for funding under your CSS anchor funding.  

  13. Where should an applicant anchor agency place a youth program with multiple objectives?

    If an agency program has multiple objectives (i.e. leadership, employment, engagement) then the agency should determine the primary objective(s) of the program and determine whether it aligns with the YSS Program Grant or CSS Program Stream. 

    If the agency is unsure about whether its youth program fits best under YSS Program Grant or CSS Program Stream, United Way would suggest that an agency submit the program under CSS, United Way staff will flag it and move it to the YSS Program Grant Stream, if appropriate.  Our rationale for this is that United Way staff will have the opportunity to move programs.

    If an agency submits its youth program only under YSS and it is not selected, the agency will not have an opportunity to re-submit under CSS as the deadline will have passed.

    The range of $50,000.00 - $60,000.00 per year for 3 years for the YSS Program Grant is a guide. It is possible that agencies could make a business case for a larger amount. 

  14. What happens if the nature of the labour market changes and impacts our outcomes?

    The YSS outcomes area focused on providing youth with the requisite skills, relationships and opportunities to enhance their employability and life-long earning potential. YSS outcomes are not linked to fluctuations in the labour market.

  15. What about young people and graduation from high school?

    The Community Service Sector Strategy’s (CSS) Youth Development Program stream, which will launch in 2017, will support programs designed for youth ages 13-24 years to:
    • Support positive interactions and meaningful relationships with peers and adults
    • Promote meaningful participation in and contributions to community
    • Promote leadership opportunities
    • Encourage and support youth to complete high school and support youth to develop purpose and aspirations for their futures

  16. What about young people who do not graduate from high school and their ability to get jobs?  Is this strategy for them?

    The YSS targets youth who face barriers including low educational attainment. Youth who have not graduated from high school would be considered as having low educational attainment. Agency programs should demonstrate a comprehensive program intervention that integrates academic bridging as a program activity leading to one of the YSS’ four intermediate outcomes. 
    Programs with a primary objective of completing a GED will not qualify for YSS funding.

  17. Are family members considered a part of the YSS programming?

    Family members are always encouraged to support youth participation in the agency youth employability program. United Way will only fund program activities that directly lead to one of the four YSS intermediate outcomes for youth who experience barriers.