Community Youth Led Projects Receive Local Funding

June 7, 2018 – This spring, the Central Okanagan Foundation for Youth (COFFY) and United Way’s GenNext contributed $9,055 to support seven youth led projects based in the Central and South Okanagan.

These grants are available to young people up to age 25 who are partnering with an organization to create positive change in their local community. A committee comprising of COFFY and GenNext Kelowna  representatives met in late March to review the applications and make funding decisions. The awards ranged from $250 to $2,000.

The Youth Initiative Grant recipients for 2018 are:

  • Call Home, Enactus Okanagan College (Kelowna)
  • More LGBTQ+ Friends, Etcetera – The Bridge Youth and Family Services (Kelowna)
  • Hyphen Project Gardening Initiative, SD53 (Oliver)
  • Take Two, Interact Club as part of the Rotary Club of Kelowna Ogopogo (Kelowna)
  • Intergenerational Computer Literacy, Peachland Wellness Centre (Peachland)
  • Silver Surfers, Enactus Okanagan College (Kelowna)
  • Women’s Shelter Clothing Drive, Aberdeen Hall (Kelowna)

“These grants encourage initiatives led by community members who are 25 and under. It’s really exciting to see the projects that they can undertake with modest financial support,” says Joanne Carey, Coordinator of Grants & Community Initiatives at the Central Okanagan Foundation.

An example is the Etcetera Project – which offers a safe space for youth 11 to 18 years who meet weekly with the support of a staff member from The Bridge Youth and Family Services. “It’s hard for kids who are LGBTQ+ to have a safe place sometimes and to tell people they need help, and Etcetera can help them. We want marketing about Etcetera so people will come check it out,” says Adrian Perez Ara, coordinator of the Etcetera Program.

“We are amazed by the creativity and community spirit demonstrated by these young people. We can’t wait to watch the projects as they develop. Future community leaders in our midst!” says Helen Jackman, Executive Director of the United Way Central and South Okanagan/Similkameen.

Youth Initiative Grant funding will be available again in the winter of 2019. For more information, visit:

About COFFY:  The Central Okanagan Foundation for Youth (COFFY) committee is made up of young adults age 15 – 25. Since its establishment in 2002, COFFY has been building an endowment fund with the Central Okanagan Foundation. The income generated is used to support youth projects and programs in the Central Okanagan (Lake Country to Peachland). Specifically, COFFY wishes to support projects that are youth-driven, collaborative and have a direct beneficial impact on young people living in the Central Okanagan. More info at:

About GenNext: GenNext is an affinity group of United Way CSO consisting of young, emerging leaders who are looking to support our community in a meaningful way. GenNext’s Board of Directors is made up of professionals who are passionate about volunteerism and furthering the United Way’s mission. For more information about GenNext Kelowna, visit:

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Shown above:

2018 Youth Initiative Grant Adjudication Committee: (left to right) Kayla Caruana, Mitch LaRue, Emma White, Wyatt Slattery, Molly Raposo