Youth grant program looking for bold ideas

 
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Re-post from The Record:

KITCHENER — Youth with ideas to tackle urgent needs in the community can apply to a new grant program from the Kitchener Waterloo Community Foundation.

Up to $30,000 is available for youth-led projects in Kitchener, Waterloo, and the townships of Wellesley, Wilmot and Woolwich, thanks to a $15,000 grant provided by the RBC Foundation that's being matched by the local foundation.

"The timing for us is fantastic," said Elizabeth Heald, president and chief executive officer of the Kitchener Waterloo Community Foundation.

Heald said the grant program will pick up on the momentum created by Waterloo Region's pitch for the federal Smart Cities Challenge, which focused on becoming a leader in Canada for child and youth well-being. The region was a finalist for the top $50-million prize, but lost out last week to Montreal.

Youth between 15 and 29 can apply for funding in partnership with a charitable organization, and the foundation will provide guidance early on.

"The needs really are as diverse as the young people themselves," Heald said.

She's hopeful the youth will be guided by some of the groundwork already done in the region and pick up on areas like bullying, mental health, high school graduation rates and sense of belonging.

Youth will lead the creation, design and implementation of the projects — and the foundation is looking for "bold" ideas. Along with tackling pressing needs, the program will develop leadership skills and foster philanthropy in youth.

Grant applications are open until Sept. 18 at kwcf.ca/rbcflchallenge.

Youth in Cambridge and North Dumfries can apply to the same RBC Future Launch Community Challenge program through the Cambridge & North Dumfries Community Foundation, with $15,000 available. Information will be available soon at cndfoundation.org.