Awarded Grants

Search or browse below to see past awarded Field of Interest grants. You may search by recipient organization name, project name, or city. Additionally, in the sidebar you may filter the grants displayed by year, interest or grant amount.

Society for Affordable Housing Education, Awareness and Development

2017 Homeless Count

The Regional Steering Committee on Homelessness (RSCH) has conducted a regional homeless count every three years since 2002. In 2014, the last regional count, a total of 2,777 homeless people were counted in Metro Vancouver. 410 homeless children and youth were counted, representing 20% of the total individuals who responded to the age question. This included 88 children who were accompanied by a parent and under 19. The actual number of youth who are homeless - or who need help and services to end and prevent homelessness - is assumed to be much higher. With regards to youth, the project's goal is to provide a more accurate assessment of the number and demographic profile of homeless youth in Metro Vancouver. Our objectives are to: 1. Engage all youth-serving agencies across the lower mainland to participate in the Homeless Count to ensure that all youth are able to ‘count themselves in’ and answer the survey questions 2. Update existing information about homeless youth in Metro Vancouver: the number, demographic profile and trends since 2002. The gathered information provides organizations and communities with the evidence-base for attaining resources to be better able to undertake meaningful youth engagement and service delivery. Reflecting on past experiences we have decided to focus all our efforts on the core function of 'counting youth' through a robust youth strategy that is focused on agencies serving youth.

Society for Children and Youth of BC

Art for Change: Highlighting Youth Voices in Poverty Reduction Advocacy

This project aims to build momentum for the Fostering Change campaign goals through the engagement of youth in and from care in identifying and promoting systemic changes needed to reduce the incidence of poverty and its attendant vulnerabilities among BC youth leaving care. To this end we plan to facilitate a convening event with relevant FC coalition member organizations and other local organizations who have recently or are currently engaging youth in and from care in creative and artistic expression related to their experiences transitioning out of care. FC and SCY will support interested youth in being part of the team creating and animating the 2016 BC Child Poverty Report Card, to be published in November 2016. This engagement will offer participating youth opportunities to develop skills, knowledge and organizational connections, as well as experience advocating for the relevant public policy changes that would reduce poverty rates among youth leaving care. Furthermore, it would serve to uphold the youths’ right to have a say in the decisions that affect them.

Youth Led Staff Awareness Training

SCY will recruit and hire 4 youth in-and-out of care (2 in each of 2 communities), to partner with us in a Staff Training Project. They will identify customer service providers (ex. financial institutions) with whom they interact and who may benefit from awareness about experiences of youth in care and the importance of connections between these young people and their community. They will learn about the UNCRC and about a youth’s right to have their voice heard & valued. They will learn communication and workshop facilitation skills. They will work together and in consultation with other groups of youth, to build a training document and presentation for customer service staff to be co-facilitated by SCY and the Youth Coordinators. During past workshops with youth who are in or “aging out” of care, we learned about the common discrimination they experienced from customer service staff when those staff members learn that the youth they are serving are in foster care. For example, youth referred to financial institutions as being the main customer service providers that witness a young person’s ministry cheque, thus revealing their circumstances. One solution voiced by youth was the need for greater awareness. Groups we’ve talked to said they would be interested in training for staff. For example, Vancity said they make membership experience for youth a priority and are open to receiving youth-led staff training relating specifically to awareness building about youth in care.

My Life Through the Lens: A Youth Rights Photovoice Project

This project will recruit 20 youth transitioning from foster care in the Lower Mainland to participate in a project using the technique of photovoice. Youth will learn to express their stories and become agents for change in their communities. Youth who participated in an earlier version of this project will be consulted on the development of this workshop and youth guest speakers/facilitators will be asked to help with the workshops. Participants will learn about the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, metaphorical photography, leadership, grassroots social movements, communication, and social media. With ongoing support from the project coordinator, youth will take photos that represent issues related to their transition from care to adulthood and their rights, select their best photos, and create quotes that express the idea in the photo. Using their photos, youth will engage in their own public awareness campaign using social media and other methods. Youth will help organize a photo exhibit and gala event to which local decision makers will be invited so that youth will have another opportunity to have their voices heard. Following the event, youth will meet up to strategize on how they can move their public awareness campaigns forward. Additionally, SCY will document this experience, create a toolkit, hold workshops and participate in events for community and Fostering Change partners on how to do this type of youth engagement work for change in the future.

SOS Children's Village British Columbia (Canada) Society

Transition to Adulthood

Support for youth in developing independence has been minimal in our region, SOS BC became aware of the gaps in service through our own experience with youth living in our Village, we initiated the Transition to Adulthood program targeting youth 16 - 24 years of age in 2012. Our proposal is expansion of our program increasing our case management capability from 14 to 30. This would allow us to work with young adults before, during, and after their tenancy in our five new transitional housing suites insuring a consistency of involvement with these young people that they may not have experienced within the youth services programs prior. The program is voluntary with low barrier access and youth self refer. The youth guide the process and identify friends, family members and/or other professionals as partners in supporting them. Initially, a Casey Life Skills assessment is completed to provide a baseline assessment on each youth and establish goals. Youth workers provide direct support for the youth The curriculum includes: Civil rights, Tenancy, Personal safety, among other topics.

St. Leonard's Youth and Family Services

Youth Innovation Lab

The Youth Innovation Lab originated out of the need for mentorship and pre employment opportunities for youth in care. St Leonard's has served youth at risk and youth in care since 1967- through a variety of traditional and non traditional programs. Outdoor adventure programs, a horse resource for girls, gang prevention, a day school and of course our residential homes have historically provided high quality care for youth. Research indicates that the jobs of the future reside in the high tech industry. A majority of youth in care struggle to achieve the training and education that they need for future employment success. There are many reasons for this, including the lack of permanency in home life, education, etc. Through our partnerships with the school district, the MCFD, the high tech community and others, we are building an accessible coding school to mentor youth through training and internships opportunities. The project started last year with an evaluation conducted by McCreary. Year two will focus on youth in care recruitment, leadership development, curriculum design, internships and with the support of Vancity and SFU, the development of the CSR and learning community framework for our tech community partners. The long range business goal is to see the tech and broader community support the ongoing financing of the program.

The MacMillan Family Foundation

About Us, With Us: A Fellowship Program With the Youth in Care Community

British Columbia has the highest rates of child poverty in Canada. The challenges facing B.C. youth in and from foster care in Vancouver are among the most acute in the country. At Discourse Media, our own analysis - after several months embedded in the youth in and from care community in Vancouver - found that the foster care system was most often presented in the context of conflict and crisis. The episodic news cycle pits politicians against advocates, provincial bureaucrats against regional bureaucrats, parents against the system. It casts families as broken. Stories are triggered by tragedy. There is little capacity in media for data analysis. Youth perspectives are largely left out, yet theirs are some of the most trenchant questions about the system. They need channels through which they can pose questions, amplify solutions and mobilize their knowledge. Discourse Media seeks Vancouver Foundation support for a youth in and from care fellowship program designed to build capacity with interested youth (engagement workshops, listening events and story-to-action meetings). As a first step, we will pilot a fellowship experience with a member of the youth in care community and embed them into our journalism team in Vancouver, with mentorship from Discourse reporter and producer Brielle Morgan, who focuses on child welfare. We have identified several youth who might qualify for a fellowship and will partner with the foundation on selecting a fellow and supporting their work.

Growing the Discourse — Journalism for Systems Change

Discourse Media proposes an ambitious plan to create: a permanent full-time child welfare reporter position; a permanent youth in/from care media fellowship; a deeply researched guidebook to support better media coverage and a national, collaborative network of journalists reporting on child welfare. In 2017, Discourse employed the only full-time child welfare “beat” reporter in Canada. This position is unique due to our commitment to relationship-building, community engagement and collaboration with youth. After spending a year asking questions about this system, we’ve been humbled by the sheer complexity of the system and honoured by people with lived experience who have spent time teaching us and pointing us to the many important stories that have gone untold. We want to play our learnings forward. We are motivated to change people’s impressions of media as a barrier to progress, and redefine media as a catalyst for positive social change. This grant would allow us to build on the work that we’ve done and expand it to meet the strong demand for better storytelling and reporting on this complex system. We want to work with our colleagues in media and community partners to spark solutions-focused conversations about child welfare that transcend regional systems and borders. We’ve seen that there’s appetite for this kind of network. Through this radically different, engagement-driven approach, we believe we can continue to shift the way media report on child welfare.

Tides Canada Initiatives

Engaging the Public on Solutions for Helping to End Youth Homelessness


Tsow-Tun Le Lum Society

Creating Culturally Safe Workplaces for Indigenous Workers in the Social Care Sector

Over 52% of the children in youth in MCFD care are Aboriginal yet only 5% of MCFD’s 4200 staff are of Aboriginal heritage. Similar disparities exist in community agencies. However, research suggests that life outcomes are improved when Aboriginal children and families are served by staff who share cultural knowledge and experience, and who integrate cultural perspectives and teachings into their practice and care. This project will assist MCFD and community-based child, youth and family-serving agencies to address significant human resources and organizational issues that are compromising the capacity to deliver effective services and care to Aboriginal children, youth and families, i.e. recruitment, retention and practice challenges that are amplified within culturally unsafe workplaces. Specifically, the proposed project will complement cultural agility work that is currently underway in MCFD and through FCSSBC's Leadership 2020 initiative to: 1. Engage Aboriginal staff within MCFD and community agencies to better understand current state, key recruitment and retention factors and qualities of culturally safe workplaces 2. Convene staff, organizational, community and thought leaders in an 'innovation lab' to co-design an Aboriginal Organizational Development strategy and practices to enhance cultural safety 3. Share stories, emerging knowledge and practices to inspire organizations to address barriers and build cultural safety for clients/staff

University of Victoria - Office of Research Services

Future Anything: Supportive campuses for former youth in care

UVic has committed tuition support for four years and is committed to creating a welcoming environment that supports FYIC in their transition, connects them to supports, and facilitates success. Lilia Zaharieva, with support of Deb Rutman and Jim Anglin, prepared a report reviewing current literature, gathering perspectives from UVic FYIC, and making recommendations (From a Ward to Award, and Beyond). In keeping with the aims of Fostering Change, we propose to engage in “a strong dialogue, learning, action and capacity building process” with staff, faculty and FYIC at UVic, and to connect with and learn from other BC post-secondary institutions. Using participatory and evidence-based action-research strategies, project activities will engage FYIC as leaders/facilitators of change within UVic and across BC PSE. This grant will support the development, evaluation and refinement of a workshop that will be piloted at a UVic Staff Pro-D event in June. At a recent meeting of BC university VPs Student Affairs, there was “strong interest” and “no other university is doing such work” (Jim Dunsdon, UVic AVPSA, April 24). UBC and SFU are eager to offer this workshop, when available, on their campuses. In discussions on April 12, RCY representatives indicated interest in being involved in this initiative. Fostering Change support would enable this developmental and dissemination work and add credibility to a province-wide learning process for FYIC and those in PSE Student Services.

Vancity Community Foundation

Exploring Sustainable Youth Transitions Policy Advocacy in BC

In this project First Call (FC) will explore how we can continue to activate the FosteringChange advocacy platform thru our coalition’s collective resources & ongoing advocacy. A 1st step will be convening our youth-serving members & others engaged in supporting YIC transitions for a series of sharing & brainstorming discussions about their roles in research, youth engagement & youth leadership related specifically to raising public awareness & engaging in systemic advocacy. We will be looking for their ideas & interest in how FC can collaborate & provide a platform for more opportunities for youth to engage directly w/ decision-makers in proposing policy changes & increased public investments to improve outcomes for YI/FC, as well as monitoring the response from gov’t & other institutions. Many of the issues affecting YIC transitions (e.g. inadequate welfare rates, housing barriers, low wage jobs w/ no benefits, barriers to completing school, barriers to post-secondary, problems with access to needed health care, etc) also affect youth who are not from care & connect with the work of many different FC coalition members (unions, health org’s, educators, family support agencies, immigrant services, indigenous org’s, etc). Our exploratory discussions will extend to these other partners to identify ways for youth to engage in proposing solutions within & thru their org’s. These conversations will inform and shape a FosteringChange legacy dev'ment grant appl’n by FC later in 2017

Enhancing Youth Transitions Policy Advocacy in BC

Anticipating the sunsetting of the Fostering Change Initiative (FCI) at VF, First Call (FC) is interested in helping sustain young leaders’ engagement in policy advocacy to fully achieve the system changes needed to support better transitions for youth aging out of care in BC. In our work on this, we’ve heard & observed that current policy advocacy for YI/FC happens in silos & primarily at the municipal level. By bridging the FCI network & a coalition of 101 orgs with a background in prov level policy advocacy, FC is well-positioned to further efforts for systemic change. Recent consultation with 25 orgs working w/ YI/FC, including young leaders, disability grps, immigrant services, Indigenous orgs, resid’l care providers, etc., told us: 1) Service agencies are looking for a place to hand off policy advocacy to & more ways to connect youth who want to do policy advocacy; 2) Existing YACs need support to come together, communicate, learn from each other. This project will build capacity for FC to work collaboratively with youth-serving orgs to engage & support YI/FC to participate & take leadership in the range of awareness & advocacy activities needed to inform policy-makers, build public support for greater transitions investments & monitor system change. The project will develop support for YI/FC interested in moving from self-advocacy to systemic advocacy thru training, networking w/ adult allies & other young leaders, mentoring, & opportunities to practice new skills

Aging Out of Foster Care in B.C. Study Circles

Working with the Canadian Federation of University Women-BC Council and their clubs around the province, this project will explore the challenges facing young people aging out of foster care in B.C. by organising a working group to review and update the Study Circle Facilitators Guide, by training adult and experiential facilitators, by hosting a series of local study groups through CFUW-BC clubs across the province, by facilitating an Action Forum, and by distributing the Facilitators Guide, Action Ideas Pamphlet, and Final Report to clubs, study circle participants, and community organisations. We intend to hire an experiential young person with facilitation skills to coordinate the provincial activities and an adult co-facilitator to assist with developing the guide, facilitating training and hosting the Action Forum.

Connecting Community to Surrey Youth Leaving Care, Phase 2

Building on the outcomes and learning from phase 1, this project will take the next step in engaging community members to support Surrey youth transitioning from care. The goals of the project are: youth engagement/voice; taking local action; raising public awareness; and collaboration with the local Aboriginal friendship centre. An advisory group of youth in and from care will guide every stage of the project. They will participate in a weekend retreat, where they will prioritize ideas from the key themes of education; skills training and employment; housing; physical and mental health; and connections with others, identified in phase 1. Phase 1 participants and others will then convene to develop specific action plans and mobilize the community to roll out initiatives for 3-5 priority activities, which will be evaluated and revised if necessary, to ensure that they continue after project completion. We will convene events in years 2 and 3 that bring together community stakeholders in Surrey, to share knowledge and solutions for youth aging out of care. A web-based resource will be developed and distributed widely, to profile the project, list current initiatives for use by practitioners and youth aging out of care, and describe systemic reforms needed for lasting change. Partnership with FRAFCA will enhance Indigenous cultural awareness and inform priority activities. The final activity will be a public engagement event intended to promote and sustain the projects.

Fostering Change in Surrey: Wrapping the Community Around Kids Leaving Care

The Surrey Poverty Reduction Coalition (SPRC) exists to foster collaboration in Surrey to address the unique challenges of people living in poverty. With our diverse membership and strong links with the City of Surrey, we are well placed to bring together the various sectors that will be needed to make a deep and lasting impact in the lives of some of our most vulnerable young people. Using the framework of “THIS is how we end poverty in Surrey”, which focuses on four key policy areas that affect people living in poverty: Transportation, Housing, Income and Supports, and working in partnership with youth in/from care, the SPRC will engage the community to do a radical rethinking of the ways in which youth are supported when they transition from the care of the MCFD, into adulthood. Bringing our whole community along, including business, philanthropists, unions, etc. we are keenly interested in rethinking the way that we meet the needs of these young people, and helping them to be supported in achieving their aspirations. Using a collective impact approach, we will: compile available information and research on youth in/from care in Surrey; convene two multi-stakeholder workshops toward developing a framework for further action; and host a public event that will include the "The 19th Birthday Party" art exhibit. All phases of the project will engage youth in/from care - "not about them without them".

Vancouver Aboriginal Child and Family Services Society

Keeping Connected: A research project with youth aging into community

Youth in/from VACFSS care and adult co-researchers will: 1. Develop a supportive "exit interview" process for youth leaving care at 19 2. Develop a tool, to be used in dialogue between those youth and their workers, to measure youth connectedness to caring adults, culture and community 3. Pilot the exit interview and tool with VACFSS youth who leave care in the next 12 months 4. Incorporating the exit interview and tool, develop the tools, process and Ethics proposal for a longitudinal outcomes study to explore how youth connectedness changes and is best supported in the years after leaving care. It is planned that this study will be conducted in partnership with the McCreary Centre Society and will also engage youth served by MCFD and Collective Impact partners. The project will be informed by the work of the TRRUST Measurement and Caring Connections Clusters. It is prompted by the desire of our youth to strengthen community and cultural connectedness for care-leavers. Developed with the youth on our Research Working Group, the project will build their leadership capacity and research/advocacy skills, give workers improved tools to focus on youth connectedness, and deepen our partnership with the McCreary Centre Society. VACFSS is a unique position to undertake this kind of longitudinal outcomes study, as "aging into community" is part of our restorative practice and our workers/caregivers already keep in touch with many youth long after they leave care.

Restorative Aboriginal Child Welfare: Research, Practice & Approaches

Youth involved in the 3 youth engagement programs at VACFSS develop positive identity, concrete skills and cultural connections to support their transition out of care. This project will investigate how these programs are effective, determining how we can better utilize Inclusive Foster Care to extend the identified restorative practices to all youth in care at VACFSS. We will maximize the support from Vancouver Foundation by leveraging in-kind supports from a broad network of community partners. Year 1 will involve youth led research on how the Urban Butterflies, Youth Advisory Council (YAC) and Culturally Relevant Urban Wellness (CRUW) programs contribute to setting up diverse Aboriginal youth for success in their transition out of care in concrete and measurable ways. This will involve supporting a group of youth selected from YAC and CRUW as co-researchers throughout the project. The 2nd year will involve a youth-led process of engaging youth in care, caregivers (foster parents), biological family, and community partners, to generate a series of evidence-based recommendations for policy and practice revision at VACFSS. Year 3 will then involve the same group of youth co-researchers in a process of implementing the recommendations alongside a youth-led process of monitoring and evaluation. This same year will also include a process of knowledge exchange, sharing our research, policy development, and outcomes with community partners and other interested stakeholders.

Vancouver Coastal Health Authority

Downtown Vancouver Youth Housing and Health Services Collaboratory

The Youth Housing and Health Services Collaboratory is an action-oriented project to engage key stakeholders involved in delivering health and housing resources to youth in downtown Vancouver. The 'collaboratory' will be a problem-solving group working to address barriers and challenges that youth 16-24 face accessing housing and health services. A parallel youth engagement process will inform the trajectory of the project and we will strive to make a meaningful difference in the experience of youth who seek resources related to housing and health. In order to improve access and flow-through for youth to a wider range of resources, agency representatives who are excited to, and capable of working as part of a collaborative team, and have a high level of management over the resources attached to the agency, will be invited to participate. Phase one will be a convened dialogue to ensure the group is aligned and 'on the same page'. Barriers to collaboration will be identified and addressed. Phase two will be a pilot of a mechanism to smooth access pathways to care and housing.

Watari Research Association

Youth Housing Collaboratory

The Youth Health & Housing Collaboratory is an initiative currently funded by Fostering Change. The Collaboratory's goal is to generate positive change and improve the experience of vulnerable/marginalized youth with complex needs who seek and access housing and related health services in Vancouver. It brings partners together to work better and differently to meet youth health, social, and housing needs. The Collaboratory has achieved several goals since its inception: 1.Establishing a Collaboratory problem solving group – to implement collectively arrived at solutions based on collectively arrived at processes 2.Engaging stakeholders to collaboratively identify and action initial improvements within the continuum of housing and related services for youth 16-24. 3. Securing commitment for sustainable collective process that will be able to support ongoing implementation of new solutions in the realm of youth access to housing. The purpose of next phase is to: Implement/test/assess impact of ‘probes’ (i.e. small, doable but significant systems and practice changes) that have been informed by the youth and service provider engagement work to date. To improve services and the experience of youth who are dealing with multiple challenges. Continue to engage youth to help identify most promising ‘probes’ and next iterations/ideas. Work together to extend/amplify/spread probes into practice and system. Continue learn,share knowledge and build a community of practice.

Transition to Independence Program - TIP II