YPI News Blog


Hands-On Philanthropy Program Empowers Youth To Make A Difference

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TORONTO, ON (January 14, 2005) — The Youth and Philanthropy Initiative (YPI) offers Grade 9 and 10 students a hands-on philanthropic experience.  YPI takes learning beyond the classroom by giving students the opportunity to research a local charity and to award that charity a $5,000 grant.

Developed and funded by the Toskan Foundation with support this year and next of
$400,000 from lead sponsor TD Bank Financial Group, YPI is a mandated part of the Grade 9 and 10 curriculums at 50 GTA public, Catholic and private high schools.  The foundation developed a program including lesson plans and student worksheets, which is offered to schools free of charge. This year $250,000 in grants will be awarded to local, grassroots, social service agencies.  The program has helped make students aware of issues within their own communities and has created an impassioned sense of commitment to make a difference.

“The Toskan Foundation developed YPI to empower youth to effectively change their world starting in the communities where they live,” explains Julie Toskan-Casale, President of the Toskan Foundation.  “There are few hands-on opportunities for teens to learn about social responsibility.  YPI helps students harness their creative and philanthropic energies and explore a sensitivity and compassion that can only be learned at the grassroots level of the philanthropic world.”

“TD Bank is committed to recognizing and rewarding young Canadians that share a common desire to make their communities better,” said Scott Mullin, Vice President, Community and Government Relations, TD Bank Financial Group.  “Supporting YPI complements many of our programs including TD Canada Trust Scholarships for Community Leadership, by encouraging young people from diverse backgrounds to explore charitable causes and make an impact in their communities.”

Working in groups, the students review numerous grassroots social service groups within their communities and select one charity as the focus of their project.  Upon selecting their charities, students conduct extensive research including site visits in order to gain
in-depth knowledge of the organization.
Based on their research and other learnings, the students prepare a request for funding proposal on behalf of their charity along with a presentation to introduce their charity to their classmates.  In each class, one proposal is selected to participate at an intramural event where an independent panel of judges, comprised mainly of youth, determines which team from that particular school will be awarded the $5,000 grant for their charity.

“The response from the students who have participated in our initiative has been fantastic,” says Toskan-Casale.  “Last year, one group of students became extremely committed to their charity but were unable to volunteer for the organization because it operated during their school hours.  Not satisfied to end their involvement with the organization, this group chose to volunteer during their March Break.”

The Toskan Foundation hopes that, through the support of additional corporate partners, YPI will eventually be offered in schools across the country.

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