Youth Catalyst Fund links private, public, philanthropic funding to tackle youth employment issues

(Ottawa – February 19, 2015) – Community Foundations of Canada (CFC) is mobilizing a new multi-sector partnership to address the youth employment issues raised in its landmark #GenerationFlux report. The Ontario government today lent its support to CFC’s new Youth Catalyst Fund, one of several initiatives receiving support from the province’s Social Enterprise Demonstration Fund.

“When we published #GenerationFlux we knew the issues facing youth demanded a collaborative, innovative and highly integrated approach,” said CFC President Ian Bird. “The private, public and philanthropic sectors are all at the table – we built this Fund together – and we’ll see a far greater impact by pooling our resources and expertise than we would on our own.”

The first phase of the new Youth Catalyst Fund will support social enterprise projects that focus on young people facing barriers to employment. Approximately $900,000 in investment capital will support at least 12 social enterprises across Ontario, selected through an application process later this year.

“We were very proud to support the publication of #GenerationFlux and we’re committed to responding to its findings,” said Leila Fenc, Director, Corporate Responsibility & Deloitte Foundation. The report, which was part of CFC’s national Vital Signs program, explored how Canada’s most educated generation was struggling to gain a foothold in the workplace and how students with disadvantages were even more at risk of falling behind.

The project brings together support from multiple partners including capital from The TK Foundation, a private, Bahamian charitable foundation with a focus on motivating disadvantaged youth toward educational and employment success and The Betsy Martin Fund, established by friends and colleagues of the late Betsy Martin, a pioneer for impact investing who tirelessly promoted the field long before it was popular. It will also leverage social finance expertise and technical support from Deloitte and the MaRS Centre for Impact Investing.

Community foundations across Ontario will be invited to leverage their assets by investing in the Youth Catalyst Fund and to use their community knowledge to identify worthy social enterprise projects in their regions.

“We’ve seen what social enterprise can accomplish in our community,” said Terry Cooke, President and CEO of the Hamilton Community Foundation. “Support from our foundation has seeded new jobs in everything from arts organizations to food co-operatives. I’m looking forward to seeing the impact this new fund will have.”

The Youth Catalyst Fund is part of a broader strategy that will be activated across the community foundation network and includes a pan-Canadian grant program, which will be announced at a later date.

About the Social Enterprise Demonstration Fund

Ontario’s $4-million Social Enterprise Demonstration Fund supports innovative social finance pilot projects across the province. The fund will partner with private sector impact investors to unlock much-needed capital for early-stage, high-potential social enterprises.

About Community Foundations of Canada

Community Foundations of Canada is the national network for Canada’s 191 community foundations, which help Canadians invest in building strong and resilient places to live, work, and play.

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For more information please contact:

David Venn
Communications Manager
Community Foundations of Canada
Tel: 613.236.2664 ext. 302

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