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Learning to Make a Difference

The Youth and Philanthropy Initiative (YPI) is an international program that aims to develop community leaders. Participants are given a hands-on, reality-based look at philanthropy, providing them with the skills and awareness to assess the needs of their community and make a positive difference. Since 2002, YPI has expanded from one school in Toronto to hundreds across Canada, England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and the United States. YPI Canada and YPI United States have awarded $6.7 million in grants since 2002, with close to 196,000 young contributors.

Participating students work in small groups to research the needs of their local community and identify the local social service charity they believe is best placed to make a positive contribution. The group from each school chosen by YPI judges to have made the most compelling and thorough presentation wins a $5,000 grant from the Toskan Casale Foundation to award to their charity. During this process, students develop teamwork, communication, and presentation skills.

This year, all of the Grade 9s worked very hard, and the grant was awarded to Samantha, Mackenzie, Veronica and Claire for their chosen charity Common Ground Co-operative. This organization provides social enterprise opportunities for adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder, Down Syndrome and other developmental disabilities. One such enterprise is the Lemon & Allspice Cookery, a Toronto-based wholesale bakery and food catering service specializing in business meetings, community gatherings and special events.

A big congratulations to the Grade 9s on a job well done!

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