The Youth Initiative Grants is a program led by the Central Okanagan Foundation and United Way BC – Southern Interior. We are proud to announce that, thanks to the success of these youth-led projects, this collaborative funding partnership has just expanded to include Community Foundation North Okanagan and Community Foundation South Okanagan / Similkameen to reach all Okanagan communities. Being offered for the fourth year, now the program welcomes youth from the North, Central and South Okanagan Similkameen to apply for a grant of up to $2,000.

Young people have proven to have creative and effective ideas to implement meaningful change in their communities. The Youth Initiative Grants offer youth up to the age of 25 the chance to develop and run projects to benefit both youth and the whole community. To meet the eligibility criteria, youth must partner with a registered charity, First Nation organization, school, or church.

Last year, youth who were awarded grants led some inspirational projects that garnered thoughtful community conversation and engagement. For instance, OneWorld Youth Crew (OWYC) heard that the Okanagan Falls Legion Branch 227 issued a call to local artists requesting a mural of a female soldier. OWYC started researching and discovered Mary Greyeyes – the first Indigenous military officer. They also learned that she was a champion for diversity during her time of service.

“With the project goal of increasing inclusion and diversity through art, we believe that connecting with the Legion and influencing their choice to include a woman Indigenous soldier helps to strengthen the relationship between veterans, our local band and SOICS, an immigrant-serving settlement office.” Reports OWYC in their project evaluation.

Another youth-led project was championed by a team of volunteers that partnered with CRIS Adaptive Adventures and organized an “Amazing Race” along Kelowna’s Mission Creek Regional Park. Youth with disabilities and their families spent the day completing fun, engaging, team-building activities, using adaptive equipment where necessary.

Other youth-led projects funded last year included Penticton Overdose Response Project, which was a partnership with Canadian Students for Sensible Drug Policy and UBC Okanagan Campus Health, and two different partnerships with Central Okanagan Public Schools, the Okanagan Mission Secondary Composting Project, and the Westside Learning Centre Farm Initiative.

To find out more information, download the Application, and to view some grant writing tips visit https://cfno.org/youth-initiative-grants/.

To find out more about eligible organizations who can apply visit https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/charities-giving/list-charities/list-charities-other-qualified-donees.html