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Youth Success Strategy Program Grants Overview
June 2016

  1. Context
  2. What is UWTYR's Youth Success Strategy
  3. YSS Program Grant Stream
  4. Expression of Interest (EOI)
  5. Summary of Dates
  6. Funding Announcement
  7. Appeals


United Way has been serving the GTA for 100 years — and throughout our history we’ve worked to help kids be all they can be. We know the important role young people will play in our collective future – an investment today will pay large dividends tomorrow. When young people are given the right opportunities to learn, participate in their community, and build a solid foundation, it sets them up to be successful throughout their entire lives. 

In 2013, we started a round of consultations to ask people what role they want United Way to play in building a better region. We engaged more than 1,900 people — and we heard loud and clear that youth should continue to be a priority in our work. That’s why, in our Change Starts Here strategic plan, United Way has reaffirmed our commitment to youth success for the years ahead.

The Youth Success Strategy (YSS) is one of three priorities identified in United Way Toronto York Region’s (UWTYR) new Strategic Plan, Change Starts Here.  The three priorities for having greater community impact are:

  1. Support a strong responsive community services sector (CSS)
  2. Build strong neighbourhoods (BSN)
  3. Create youth success (YSS)The YSS is our action plan to help young people get job-ready and equipped to build a better future. We created this strategy specifically for young people who have the hardest time to find work. 

The YSS Program Grant is United Way’s first open call in many years for charitable non-profit organizations  providing service in the City of Toronto and York Region.

What is UWTYR’s Youth Success Strategy?

Our goal is: by 2025, United Way will support 10,000 youth facing multiple barriers to access meaningful career opportunities. To reach our goal we have identified four interdependent outcomes for the Youth Success Strategy: 

  1. Increase applications to post secondary education among specific groups of youth facing multiple barriers
  2. Developing access to work relevant networks for youth facing multiple barriers
  3. Increase access to meaningful  career opportunities (MCO) for high school graduates
  4. Increase access to experiences that build employer recognized soft skills

See Appendix I for information on program alignment to YSS Outcomes

The YSS is a significant evolution from a broad investment in youth to an evidence-based strategy to support young people to hone the skills necessary for meaningful employment.

YSS Program Grant Stream


  • Multi-year (3 year) complimentary and renewable funding for high-impact programs that align with UWTYR’s Youth Success Strategy
  • 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 and these programs will be considered on a case by case basis as well as part of the overall portfolio review
  • Up to 20% of the program grant may be applied to program administrative costs


The purpose of the Youth Success Strategy Program Grant is to support proven programmatic interventions that enhance the employability and the life-long earning potential for Youth Facing Multiple Barriers as defined in Province of Ontario’s, Stepping Up Report, 2013.


UWTYR will provide YSS Program grant for up to 8-10 organizations across Toronto and York Region. UWTYR seeks to achieve a balanced portfolio which takes into consideration: 

  • A range of youth facing multiple barriers
  • Mix of programs aligned across the four outcomes of the YSS
  • Variety of high, medium and low intensity programs
  • Geographic diversification – programs across the City of Toronto and York Region 

Eligible Organizations:

Organizations eligible to apply for the YSS Program Grant:

  • Have charitable status or are trusteed by a registered charity
  • Operate with a community service mandate in the City of Toronto or York Region
  • Demonstrate alignment with the goal and outcomes of the YSS

Agency Expectations:

  • Demonstrate evidence-based approaches towards enhancing the employability and the life-long earning potential for youth facing multiple barriers
  • Have demonstrated capacity to deliver successful education to employment programs for youth (17-29) experiencing multiple barriers 
  • Demonstrate a commitment to:
    • Program development and management based in Positive Youth Development values, principles and practices
    • Deliver culturally appropriate services with staff reflective of the population served
    • Deliver comprehensive wrap around supports to youth facing multiple barriers including but not limited to: 
      • Housing supports
      • Mental health/health counseling (in-house or formal referrals)
      • Childcare supports (in-house or formal referrals)
      • Immigration and/or Newcomer services (in-house or formal referrals)
      • Other e.g.: legal, hygiene, clothing, basic life skills
  • Have demonstrated capacity to collect and share quantitative and qualitative data
  • Have a history of building partnerships with institutional stakeholders
  • Are willing to work with UWTYR as a partner in sharing best practices and delivering on the strategy

Use of Funding:

The funding can be used to: 

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

Exclusions (ineligible activities):

United Way program funds may not be used for

  • Services provided by medical professionals or regulated health professionals other than social workers or social services workers
  • Services covered by OHIP
  • Rent supplements
  • The addition of shelter beds or transitional housing beds
  • Partisan political activity defined as the direct or indirect promotion of a political candidate or party, or the direct or indirect opposition to a political party or candidate
  • Loan or grant programs for individuals
  • Capital constructions costs, unless part of a specific project deemed eligible by United Way
  • Costs associated with United Way funded hub operations since these will eligible under the BSNS strategy

Expression of Interest (EOI)

The YSS Program Grant Expression of Interest will be available on our Grants Online (GO) system on June 29, 2016. 
The Expression of Interest has four components: 

  1. Eligibility
    The eligibility section ensures that the agency or organization is eligible to apply for the YSS Program Grant. Only organizations that meet the eligibility requirements will go on to complete the Organization Registration, Organizational Health and Program Information sections.

  2. Organization Registration
    Each organization will set-up a record using the online funding system. This will be basic information including organization name, address, charitable number (if applicable), first day of service and fiscal year end. 

    If you are already registered on the GO system, you will still be required to provide this basic information. 

    NOTE: If your program is being trusteed by another organization, the trustee will be required to provide organization name, address and charitable number.

  3. Organizational Health
    UWTYR will assess organizational health in a few key areas:
    1. Governance and Strategy
    2. Board Structure and Administration
    3. Monitoring and Evaluation
    4. Risk Management
    5. Human Resources
    6. Fundraising and Sustainability
    7. Financial Planning

      Organizations that were invited to apply for Anchor Agency Funding and current Toronto member agencies will not be required to re-submit organizational health information.

      NOTE: If your program is being trusteed by another organization, the trustee organization will be required to fill out key organizational health components to facilitate the EOI application.

  4. Program Information
    This section of the EOI asks basic questions about your program and how it is delivered.  We will be looking for clear and concise information about the primary objective(s) of the program and how it is designed to meet its objective(s), the target population, the location of program delivery and the tools used for monitoring and evaluation.

  5. Summary of Dates
    YSS Program Funding Dates
    Phase 1 – YSS Expression of Interest Launch 29-Jun-16
    Phase 1 – YSS Expression of Interest application due 22-Jul-16
    Agencies informed about the results of expression of interest and approved
    agencies invited to submit a full application
    Phase 2 – Full YSS Program applications due 23-Sep-16
    Announcements of YSS Program Funding Feb-17
  6. Funding Announcement
    UWTYR reserves the right to publicize agency programs that are awarded funding under the Youth Success Strategy.

  7. Appeals
    There will be no appeals for the YSS Program EOI or the full YSS Program application.