Announcing the 2021/22 CBYF Community Innovation Fund Recipients

Posted on January 12, 2022
By Nathalie Blanchet

Tamarack Institute is proud to announce the recipients of our 2021–22 Communities Building Youth Futures Community Innovation Fund. See below for a full list of funding recipients, including project descriptions.

Tamarack Institute has implemented Communities Building Youth Futures, funded in part by the Government of Canada’s Goal Getters program and the Government of Canada’s  Supports for Student Learning Program, to develop collective impact and system-wide solutions for youth as they build and act upon plans for their future. 

The Community Innovation Fund is an opportunity for member communities to experiment and develop new models and local efforts that are not covered by other grants or funding streams and that support youth in the community.

Read more about the Community Innovation Fund here.


This year's projects that are improving educational outcomes 

The Community Innovation Fund has been an iterative process. We learned that community innovation is placed in complex and dynamic local contexts and launching during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, there was a high degree of uncertainty. A developmental evaluation approach allowed us to inquire and evolve in response to what we learned during this period. We have engaged stakeholders in a reflection process to highlight areas of learning and to inform our way forward. 

How might we understand the impact of the Community Innovation Fund projects within a complexity of systemic barriers impacting educational outcomes for youth? To understand the impact of the projects, we are informed by the concepts from Sustainable Livelihood framework given it offers a people-centered, holistic, and sustainable approach that builds on strengths and create a link between the micro and macro levels. And since one of the six core objectives to enhancing the sustainability of livelihoods is through “improved access to high-quality education, information, technologies and training and better nutrition and health” (Department for International Development, 1999, p. 5), it aligns nicely with the goals and outcomes for Communities Building Youth Futures. It also aligns with the 6 priorities that communities have identified to support youth in their engagement with education, graduation from high school, and their transition to post-secondary, training, and employment.    

The funded projects for the Community Innovation Fund Round 3 cover a range of the 6 priorities (Accessible Education, Identity & Social Connection, Access to Supports, Youth Engagement & Leadership, Holistic Health & Wellbeing, Employment & Mentorship) to support improved educational outcomes. Keep reading to learn about the innovative projects we are supporting! 


devin-avery-youth-roofThis year's projects

This year’s projects will be supporting youth on their education and employment journey through the following:

  • Youth-led innovation
  • Transportation
  • Housing
  • Service Navigation
  • Safe Spaces

We thank all applicants for the 202122 Community Innovation Fund and look forward to seeing additional innovative ideas in the next round of Community Innovation Fund projects.

We would also like to thank members of the Review Committee for providing their invaluable time and expertise to support this year’s Community Innovation Fund process.

Keep reading to learn about the innovative projects we are supporting!

Fund recipients


yingchou-han-swedenChilliwack, BC

The CBYF Chilliwack’s Indoor Park/Drop-In Center will provide local youth an indoor space to connect with peers and mentors while having the opportunity to engage in sports, such as skateboarding, scootering and BMXing.

The Center will be utilized for a number of activities, including:

  • providing graffiti artists a space to create their art;
  • programming focused on the inclusion of youth with physical and developmental disabilities;
  • employment training and workshops;
  • systems navigation provided by youth trained in local systems navigation; and
  • self-care workshops.

When asked why the CBYF drop-in center is so important for Chilliwack youth, local youth Matthew Aulakh responded, “Chilliwack youth need a place where they can express themselves, create relationships and grow their community all year round.”

Learn more:


priscilla-du-preez-transit-1Digby, NS

The lack of transportation in the Digby area makes it difficult for youth to participate in the community and get around. There has been a decrease in participation in activities that take place outside of school hours largely due to the lack of affordable and reliable transportation. Taking part in after-school activities has many benefits for youth academically and socially, and also in promoting job readiness.

Turning the Tide has devised an innovative project to provide affordable, reliable transportation to students outside of school hours. The After School Bus will provide transportation home to allow youth to participate in after-school activities, sports, tutoring, co-op and employment opportunities. This will allow every youth to have a more equal opportunity to access after-school activities, educational supports and employment opportunities.

Learn more:


Laval, QC

Thanks to its innovation incubator, CBYF offers to support financially the organizations in Laval that wish to put forward actions aimed at supporting the educational success of youth from 14 to 30 who have more difficult paths to graduation/qualification or social and occupational integration, while involving the youth in the various phases of their project.

This project will provide new services or activities for more vulnerable youth to help them regain or maintain their motivation and commitment towards their academic or professional path. By having access to stimulating projects outside of the usual school setting, the youth will have even more opportunities to get to know themselves better, learn, develop their potential, and experience success in a different way. It will also be a good place to drive the cultural shift that we would like to see in Laval in terms of consulting and considering youth in the development and implementation of projects that affect them.

Learn more:



Prince Albert, SK

The project will expand on the work already underway from the Pihtikwe: Beyond the Doorstep Service Directory, developing an app to help address service navigation barriers for youth.

Youth will take the lead in working with a local app developer to develop a service navigation app for youth in and around Prince Albert. The app will serve as a relevant tool for youth to be connected with the many resources and services available to them around the community and will be made for youth by youth.

Youth in high school who are engaged with the development of the app will have the option of applying to their school to earn a high school credit for the work done through the project.


Learn more:

Sudbury, ON

Future North’s On the Road / En Route project is a multi-year, multi-phase project that will support key priority areas of Future North’s work. The goal of the project is to connect with youth, educators, employers, community service providers and caregivers through a three-month intensive "Road Trip." On this road trip, youth ambassadors will conduct engagement sessions throughout the district of Sudbury-Manitoulin and socialize the various tools and resources created by Future North. The resources include but are not limited to the Future North Community Map / Carte Communautaire and the Future North Youth Engagement Toolkit.

Additionally, the project seeks to address challenges associated with rurality and transportation barriers by collaborating with community service providers to "bring the service to youth" by travelling with partners such as mental health service providers, promoters of the trades, employment service professionals and more!

Learn more:


frank-busch-yukonWhitehorse, YK

CBYF Yukon is using an asset-based approach to empower remote communities in the Yukon. Young people will be hired to conduct scans in their home communities on what "Youth Pathways to Leadership" look like (i.e., what it's like growing up there, the opportunities). They will then meet with youth leaders from the other Yukon communities to compare and contrast their communities’ strengths and visions for the future and will implement a project to benefit other young people in their home communities.

Through employment, mentoring, providing microgrants and project support, we will learn how empowering young people with these tools may build capacity, leadership and a sense of community.

Learn more:


Yellowknife, NWT

The One House Many Nations (OHMN) interdisciplinary research team and its First Nations partners have brought an innovative community-first land-centered approach to the overrepresentation of First Nation youth in the homeless population. Youth with lived experience or who are at risk of homelessness join a team that designs and builds new homes in their community, gaining new skills, experiences and relationships in the process. This approach can be adapted or rescaled for use in other communities, and may be particularly valuable because, in addition to providing an economically and environmentally sustaining solution to the shortage of housing, it is designed to build capacity of both the community and individual youth to prevent and sustain exits from homelessness.

The OHMN approach was developed in partnership with Opaskwayak Cree Nation (OCN), where a first home has been built and is now occupied by a formerly homeless young couple who participated in the build.

OHMN, in partnership with OCN and representatives of three additional First Nations, has initiated a research project that will:

  • characterize the nature and causes of homelessness amongst Indigenous youth;
  • assess the impacts of this Indigenous community-led approach to homelessness on the housing trajectories of Indigenous youth living; and
  • support adaptation and mobilization of this approach in other communities.

Learn more


Grande Prairie, AB

Grande Prairie, AB 

Project: Arts to Action 

The Youth Action Society (YAS) is a youth-led granting organization that funds small grants (up to $1000) to help youth under 31 years old with addressing their personal barriers to education and employment. These needs can range from technology to tools to interview clothing to costs for specific courses and beyond. Youth leaders are responsible for creating the application process, evaluating applications, and following up once funds are received.  

"I like that YAS caters to youth 13-30 from a wide variety of backgrounds but is also run by a diverse group of these youth." - YAS member 


Kahnawà:ke, QC

Kahnawà:ke, QC 

Project: Healing Through Performance Art 

Healing Through Performance Art is a 16-week program for youth in Kahnawake rooted in trauma-informed approaches that will use drama therapy, music therapy, and other creative art therapies as a tool to promote healing and wellbeing. 

Through this program, participants will receive the opportunity to explore different art techniques through workshops all while co-creating an artistic performance. Workshop themes may include choreography, poetry and songwriting, costume & design, sculpture, puppetry, mural painting & street art, etc. The 16-week program will be designed by an action team of youth with support from local artists, art-therapists, and other subject-matter experts. 

As part of our Wholistic Health & Wellness for Youth initiative, we are seeking to improve mental health either directly or indirectly, while also engaging youth and increasing social interaction opportunities, allowing them to develop new skills, and give them the opportunity to be themselves in a safe space. 


Portage la Prairie, MB

Portage la Prairie, MB 

Project: Portage Innovation Centre 

The Portage Innovation Centre (PIC) will be an innovation hub for new entrepreneurs and innovators located at the Red River College Polytechnic (RRCP) Portage la Prairie. The PIC will be 3 office spaces for budding young innovators including a free/affordable workspace, a reception area, a shared meeting space, and access to tools that they may need, such as a 3D printer. The PIC will connect entrepreneurs to banking experts, government agencies, and more to help them gain expertise at no cost.  Innovators have access to RRCP students enrolled in Business Administrative programs and the opportunity to experience innovation and entrepreneurship first hand. The PIC gives entrepreneurs targeted learning opportunities, mentoring, and the resources to realize their ideas and launch them at their highest potential by breaking down financial and educational barriers. 

People can learn more about our CBYF initiative at: 

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Funding, CBYF Blog, Homepage Blog

Nathalie Blanchet

By Nathalie Blanchet

In her role at Tamarack Institute, Nathalie works closely with the Managers of Cities and with staff across Tamarack to ensure communities have the knowledge, learning and coaching they need to design mechanisms for youth to be engaged and supported. -- Dans le cadre de son travail au Tamarack Institute, Nathalie travaille en étroite collaboration avec les Gestionnaires de villes et les membres du personnel de l’organisation afin d’assurer que les communautés reçoivent les connaissances, la formation et l’accompagnement dont elles ont besoin pour concevoir des mécanismes permettant aux jeunes de s’engager et d’être soutenus.

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