Search or browse below to see past 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.

3H Craftworks Society

Threadworks: Tailored for Inclusion

Threadworks will be a flexible and tailored skills training program for people with disabilities who are not currently engaged in the workforce, not well served by current programs, and impacted by the lack of employment opportunities. The need for Threadworks arose from the number of people seeking sewing skills and the number of contracts received from Craftworks and Common Thread. Threadworks will be an accredited training program that will promote labour market participation in the cut-and-sew and apparel industries. The project will tailor curricula to address the complex needs of participants and to facilitate employment opportunities through social enterprise and for-profit industry collaboration. Flexible practicum-style opportunities will be incorporated to transition participants into paid employment. There are currently no accredited programs of this nature in Canada. The social goal of Threadworks is to dismantle the stigma that people with disabilities are unproductive and unreliable in the workforce. Mental illness is an evolving process and Threadworks will be open to fluctuations in participants’ health that affects their ability to proceed with training and employment. The project will lead to a cultural reinterpretation of what it means to have a disability in the labour market/workforce. Threadworks will adopt a holistic support model that includes industry partners, healthcare providers, community/social enterprises, and employment services.

BC Centre for Employment Excellence

Top 20 Disability-Confident Companies in Vancouver

Currently, many lists exist outlining the “top 20 diverse companies” or the “top 10 companies to work for”, but the BC Centre for Employment Excellence (BC CFEE) aims to put together a top 20 disability-confident list of employers in British Columbia (BC). This list will be developed to identify companies that are welcoming and inclusive to individuals with disabilities within their workplaces. As well, the disability-confident list of employers will be shared with service providers in the employment services sector in BC or recruiters who work with people with disabilities, which will help increase access to the labour market.

CanAssist, University of Victoria

Expansion and Diversification of the TeenWork Employment Program

TeenWork is a unique social innovation. No other employment program in BC supports young people with disabilities while they are still in high school. The program was developed in 2009, when community partners identified the need for an employment service aimed at youth with disabilities. These youth were isolated and not acquiring important life skills associated with working. TeenWork helps level the playing field so youth with disabilities are able to reap the benefits of employment like their non-disabled peers. Job coaches provide individualized support to improve opportunities for employment among youth facing barriers and to continue this support during the transition to adulthood. TeenWork graduates eligible for government disability assistance tend not to access it because they have jobs that pay well and good benefits. Participants are optimistic about the future and their ability to be self-sufficient and contribute to their families and communities. Yet TeenWork only reaches 10% of youth in Greater Victoria who could benefit. Funding requested from the Vancouver Foundation would help expand the program in three critical ways: 1) improve program efficiencies and implement new fee-for-service opportunities to ensure ongoing sustainability; 2) diversify the participant population to include youth facing a wider range of barriers; and 3) work toward serving youth across BC by creating a training package that enables replication of the program in other regions.

Clements Centre

Lunch on Clements

Our goal is to create a social enterprise from a provincially funded program for adults with developmental disabilities. The Lunch on Clements (LOC) program has been operating for over 20 years. It features a large commercial kitchen and a licensed cafeteria/restaurant. 15 people attend every day from 9-3. They participate in community activities and cook in the kitchen. The program produces meat pies, sausage rolls, cookies, quiches, Nanaimo bars and other squares for retail sale and offers a limited catering menu. Currently participation in the program is voluntary. It is considered a training kitchen. The participants receive no financial compensation. In the kitchen they learn cooking skills and other general life skills (e.g. budgeting, grocery shopping, social skills). They also participate in community activities as the cooking only takes up a portion of each day. Sales profits go back into the program and help fund activities and community outings. On an annual basis the program has gross sales of approximately $40,000. This is with no marketing or sales promotion or branded packaging. Our plan is to re-create the program as a social enterprise that employs adults with developmental disabilities. We will conduct a marketing campaign, re-brand the business, and create a separate business entity (co-op). We will start paying minimum wage to everyone who works for the co-op. A comprehensive business plan and third party feasibility study have been completed.

Hope Action Values Ethics Culinary Training Society

HAVE ITA Accreditation: Professional Cook Level 1 Course

HAVE is expanding our 8 week culinary training program to offer an additional accredited 21 week culinary program for participating students to receive their Professional Cook Level 1 Certification recognized by The Industry Training Authority (ITA). The Professional Cook Level 1 program is the first level towards becoming a Red Seal certified chef and can cost upwards of $3,300.00 per person for a 32 week program at a postsecondary institution. HAVE plans to offer inclusive and accessible ITA accredited training at no cost to our students. This program includes classroom lessons and testing, beyond the regular 8 week program. For our students that wish to further their culinary training we work quite hard to either help them access funding for post secondary school or place them with an employer that offers an in-house apprenticeship program. Both of these options are typically difficult to come by and do not include the ongoing support many of our students need, be it due to recovering from addiction, PTSD, or mental health. Our goal with this program is to create opportunities, foster inclusiveness and acceptance, and bring about change for those who are most in need. What has made itself very clear to us over the years is that when people are given the opportunity to succeed, they do. Individuals that lack basic needs when applying for work such as no fixed address, no phone, and no ID, are often excluded from mainstream society.

Neworld Theatre Society

King Arthur and His Knights

King Arthur and His Knights is a three-year collaborative partnership with the Down Syndrome Research Foundation (DSRF) in Burnaby. It has four components: 1) The creation/production of a full-length show co-written by Niall McNeil, an artist with Down Syndrome (DS), and featuring an equally integrated cast (4 actors with DS, 5 without). It will be presented at two of Canada’s best-known arts festivals, Luminato in Toronto and the PuSh Festival in Vancouver (tbc); 2) Three years of workshops and creative development at the Down Syndrome Research foundation, working with a broad range of the DSRF’s clientele; 3) A pilot residency for an artist with Down Syndrome at Neworld; 4) Outreach/methodology-sharing with local disability arts organizations, Kickstart & Stagedoor/PosAbilities This collaboration is built on the success of a pilot, our 2011 PuSh Festival co-production, Peter Panties, which DSRF Executive Director Dawn McKenna described as, “the most profound example of creative inclusion I have ever experienced.” This show is commissioned by the Luminato Festival in Toronto (Canada's largest performing arts festival), with support from the National Arts Centre and the Banff Playwrights Colony. We believe the scale of this experiment with creative inclusion and collaboration between people of differing abilities offers enormous opportunities for our partners, our own learning, and tangible potential impact on the performance sector across the country.

North Shore Disability Resource Centre Association (NSDRC)

InclusionWorks North Shore

Using the award-winning InclusionWorks model from Victoria BC as an example of how to support youth exiting secondary school and in their first five years of their transition into adulthood, a group of 8 families from North and West Vancouver would like to work with community partners such as Capilano Continuing Education, the District of West Vancouver and the North Vancouver Recreation Commission, and other agencies, on a pilot project. The project involves collaborating to provide age-appropriate community-based programming that focuses on educational, recreational, social and volunteer opportunities for young adults with developmental disabilities. This pilot project involves developing a model where families pool their financial resources and in working with community partners, design and coordinate weekly activities for their young people that help them maintain the active and stimulating lifestyle that they led while in the public school system. Using the InclusionWorks (IW) model, families who have opted for Individualized Funding from Community Living BC (CLBC) pool their funds and work with a group of community-based partners to create programming with the goal of building experience, independence, inclusion, and life-long learning for young people with developmental disabilities in their first five years after graduating from the public school system.

Potluck Cafe Society

Recipes for Success

Recipes for Success (RFS) grew from more than a decade of experience working with employees from the community and the frustration of frequently failed attempts to transition those same employees into more permanent positions elsewhere. Most often this failure resulted from a lack of opportunities or a lack of human relations capacity to ensure that the job remained meaningful and supportive. For the past 2 years RFS has been working with value driven employers to promote Social Impact Employment. During those 2 years we’ve worked with 27 “traditional” employers and 6 social enterprises – each has told us the same thing: the HR best practices shared by RFS and the additional capacity provided by our Employment Support Workers help employees with identified barriers stay in the workplace. In other words, RFS is creating value for both employers and employees, and contributing to the long-term sustainability of meaningful work opportunities. With this next iteration of our work we are proposing to test an on-demand system of competency-based training supported by a digital badging campaign. At the core of this social innovation is a desire to realign the basic routines, resource flows and beliefs that are preventing the widespread adoption of Social Impact Employment; our goal is to recognize and champion the strengths and abilities of our program participants, and in the process to support the creation of a more inclusive, accessible and resilient local economy.

Powell River Brain Injury Society

Work for LIfe

K-Lumet is the product that will be produced through the Work for Life program. It is a unique program that will employ persons with disabilities and create new innovative partnerships in our community. It will afford persons in Powell River who are living with an acquired brain injury to gain skills and work in an environment which allows them to work at their own pace and capacity. K-Lumet is a product that uses waste wood and recycled products to produce a fire starter which we expect will soon become a household name in British Columbia, starting with Powell River. Our innovative idea is to train mangers in the production method of this product, which is an assembly line. We will then assess each of our brain injury population clients, of which we have over 200, to see where best their skill set is to fit in to the production line. We will train them in safety and first aid and will pay them hourly with a livable wage. Each brain injury is unique and each worker will be supported as they learn new skills and increase their self worth though becoming productive members of a collective that is all working together toward the same goal. That goal is for them to have a wage, usually which will supplement a disability pension, and to help create self-sufficiency of the Society that that supports them. It is a reciprocal win win for all involved. It is expected that this program will eventually create partnerships with other disability service providers in our area.

UBC - Office of Research Services

Improving employment outcomes for youth with mental illness in British Columbia

In BC, mental illness affects 1 in 4 young adults aged 15-24 years. At this stage, youth are typically completing school and/or skills training, and laying the foundation for a stable future. For youth with mental illness, challenges at school, home, and community are compounded by stigma and fragmented resources, resulting in low graduation rates, high unemployment, and poor health outcomes. Locally, the YMCA and Granville Youth Health Centre (GYHC) identified gaps in how youth with mental illness develop job skills and enter employment. They partnered to deliver an innovative program called Y-BEAT to provide employment support for this group. UBC has partnered with the YMCA and GYHC to test the effectiveness of Y-BEAT. The 16-week Y-BEAT program offers health, social, and employment skills education, including supported job placement. It differs from other employment programs because it enables youth to concurrently achieve their employment goals while successfully self-managing their illness. GYHC offers integrated health and social services. The YMCA’s employment programs served 139 youth last year, of which 31% identified mental illness as the primary barrier to obtaining work. Y-BEAT brings together these existing services and will be offered 4 to 5 times/year over the next 3 years. In collaboration with the Y, GYHC, and participating youth, our project will measure health, social, and employment outcomes of youth, summarize lessons, and disseminate findings broadly.