The Youth and Philanthropy Initiative is thriving during the COVID-19 pandemic — here’s how

Unlike many youth-centred charitable programs, YPI doesn’t ask students to fundraise

Why It Matters

YPI offers students the chance to not only learn about issues within their community, but see the impact that philanthropy has on local charities. Many school-based programs are currently shut down to the pandemic at a time when charities are needed more than ever, but YPI’s model is quite resilient.

COVID-19 has upended the school year for hundreds of students at Aldershot School, in the Ontario city of Burlington. 

Between two waves of COVID-19 and their accompanying public health restrictions (not to mention school closures), the pandemic has put an end to the after-school programming of many social impact organizations. However, the Youth and Philanthropy Initiative (YPI) is still going strong at Aldershot School. In fact, Holly McLellan, executive director of YPI, says about 10 new schools have signed up for their program since the start of 2020. “What we are hearing from a lot of our schools is that we’re the only outside program that they’ve been able to run,” says McLellan. 

YPI started in 2002 as a way to get youth thinking about social issues and be inspired to take action on them. It was founded by Julie Toskan, the younger sister of MAC

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