MEDIA RELEASE October 13, 2021
OTF Grow Grant Helps Marginalized Children and Youth
Toronto, ON – In 2020, Fred Victor received a three-year, $453,200 Grow grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) to expand its Steps to Success program for children and youth from low-income families. Over three years, the in-house after-school program will extend its support to residents at Fred Victor’s affordable housing sites in East York.
“As the Ontario NDP’s Critic for Poverty and Homelessness, I am elated that the Fred Victor Centre has been awarded this Grow grant,” said Rima Berns-McGown, MPP. “During this particularly difficult time, this grant and the Steps to Success program will touch the lives of so many across our community of Beaches—East York and across Toronto.”
Fred Victor is a registered charity that serves over 3,000 people every day – with over 20 locations across the City of Toronto. Its mission is to improve the health, income and housing stability of people experiencing poverty and homelessness. The children and youth living at Fred Victor’s affordable housing face multiple barriers. Many have histories of poverty, homelessness, trauma and isolation – ultimately, making school, friendships and growing up particularly challenging. For many parents, finding time to assist with homework, being able to afford quality extracurricular activities, or even accessing programs they trust may not be possible or practical.
“Growing up in a low-income family, I experienced first-hand how access to high quality after school programs can change a low-income child’s life,” said Suze Morrison, MPP for Toronto-Centre. “I am so thrilled that youth in Fred Victor’s housing have access to these critical and fun programs! Fred Victor is a cornerstone service provider in my riding and I can’t think of a more deserving recipient of this Grow grant.”
Funds from the OTF grant are being used to help with staffing two positions, program and workshop costs, and some administrative expenses as well. Steps to Success was piloted in 2019 at Fred Victor’s housing site in the Canary District where it continues to enrich the lives of children and youth whose families reside there. Activities include Homework Help, Reading Club, Gardening, Arts and Crafts, and STEM and Science Experiments. By bridging the opportunity gap for low-income families and building resilience in children and youth, the program aims to end the cycle of poverty.
“The impact of this Ontario Trillium Foundation grant cannot be underestimated,” said Keith Hambly, Fred Victor CEO. “We strongly believe that safe and supported spaces for extra-curricular programming and educational support, where children and youth can learn, grow and explore is essential.”
The Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) is an agency of the Government of Ontario, and one of Canada’s leading granting foundations. Last year, nearly $112M was invested into 1,384 community projects and partnerships to build healthy and vibrant communities and strengthen the impact of Ontario’s non-profit sector. In 2020/21, OTF supported Ontario’s economic recovery by helping non-profit organizations rebuild and recover from the impacts of COVID-19.
Fred Victor is committed to ending homelessness. Serving communities for over 125 years, Fred Victor has grown from a single mission at Queen and Jarvis to a multi-service organization with over 20 locations across Toronto. In addition to affordable housing, transitional housing, and emergency shelters, Fred Victor provides a constellation of supports to help people secure and maintain a safe place to live.