Greater impact through youth collaboration

Today marks the launch of a new program to foster youth collective impact initiatives in local communities throughout the province.

Youth CI will support Collective Impact approaches designed to improve outcomes for youth in communities across Ontario. This new program is delivered by the J.W. McConnell Family Foundation’s Innoweave initiative in partnership with the Laidlaw Foundation and supported by the Government of Ontario, as part of its Ontario Youth Action Plan commitments. 

Ontario Ministry of Children and Youth Services (2013) "Stepping Up: A Strategic Framework to Help Ontario's Youth Succeed."

Ontario Ministry of Children and Youth Services (2013) “Stepping Up: A Strategic Framework to Help Ontario’s Youth Succeed.”

Through Youth CI, organizations in local communities across Ontario can learn about Collective Impact and develop, launch and implement collaborations that address major challenges and directly improve outcomes for youth in their community.


“The Laidlaw Foundation is thrilled to be delivering this program with our partners. Youth in Ontario are a source of great innovation and passion, and we believe we can help harness these traits through collective impact approaches that will create positive outcomes in communities throughout the province.”
— Jehad Y. Aliweiwi, Executive Director, Laidlaw Foundation

What is Collective Impact?

John Kania defines collective impact as “the commitment of a group of important actors from different sectors to a common agenda for solving a specific social problem…Unlike most collaborations, collective impact initiatives involve a centralized infrastructure, a dedicated staff, and a structured process that leads to a common agenda, shared measurement, continuous communication, and mutually reinforcing activities among all participants” (John Kania & Mark Kramker, “Collective Impact,” Standford Social Innovation Review, Winter 2011).

Through information and engagement sessions, workshops, coaching and grants to current and potential collaboratives in Ontario, Youth CI will:

  • enable youth-led and youth-serving organizations to partner with stakeholders in their community to achieve tangible positive outcomes for youth.
  • connect organizations and collaboratives with expert coaches to help them improve their strategy and execute their plans.
  • provide a range of grants that will enable groups of organizations to explore how they might use collective impact to improve specific outcomes for youth, start up a collaborative, and move ahead with implementing their collective impact plan.
  • provide a flexible continuum of services, including: information sessions, networking and collaboration opportunities, workshops, customized coaching services, and grants.

C/O Innoweave (

“The J.W. McConnell Family Foundation created Innoweave to get practical tools for social innovation into the hands of those who can use them to create transformational change in their communities – and the Youth CI program does just that. As a national funder, we look forward to working with multi-sectoral community groups to create real, positive outcomes for youth in Ontario and exploring how this model could be applied in other provinces.”
— Stephen Huddart, President and CEO, J.W. McConnell Family Foundation

Youth CI complements other initiatives funded by the Government of Ontario including the Youth Research and Evaluation Exchange: a new research and evaluation platform that will be delivered by York University.

“York University is pleased to lead the Youth Research and Evaluation Exchange program, turning research into action to support the learning, health and employment outcomes of Ontario’s youth. The program builds on York Professor Uzo Anucha’s extensive experience working with youth-serving agencies and is supported by the University’s award-winning Knowledge Mobilization Unit,” said Robert Haché, York’s Vice-President Research & Innovation.

“Today’s launch of Youth Collective Impact is an example of how our government and its partners are working to build strong collaborations and make a real difference to provide opportunities to Ontario’s youth. Along with other actions we are taking, such as the Youth Research and Evaluation Exchange, which helps grassroots organizations deliver services more effectively, Youth Collective Impact is part of our government’s Youth Action Plan, outlined in our strategy Stepping Up: A Framework to Help Ontario’s Youth Succeed.”
— The Honourable Tracy MacCharles, Minister of Children and Youth Services

Learn more!

In December, organizations or collaboratives that are interested in learning more can register to attend information, launch, and partner engagement sessions across Ontario. These sessions will be followed by workshops, coaching and grants starting in early 2015. Click here to explore the full program and register for an information session below.

Register for an online information session

  • Click here for December 3rd from 12pm – 1pm
  • Click here for December 11th from 10am – 11am

Register for a local community session here:

  • Ottawa Youth CI Launch Event – Dec. 5th, 10:00am – 12:00pm Register here
  • Kingston Youth CI Launch Event – Dec. 8th, 3:00pm – 5:00pm Register here
  • Hamilton Youth CI Launch Event – Dec. 10th, 5:00pm – 7:00pm Register here
  • London Youth CI Launch Event – Dec. 11th, 4:00pm – 6:00pm Register here

Innoweave Collective Impact Webinar, led by Liz Weaver of Tamarack

From J.W. McConnell Family Foundation on Vimeo.


For more on Collective Impact, check out our Collective Impact Series, a celebration, exploration and discussion of Collective Impact leading up to the Tamarack Institute Collective Impact Summit 2014. 
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Kelsey Spitz About Kelsey Spitz

Kelsey is the Senior Associate at SiG National.


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