Our goal is the healthy development of children aged 0-12. The Foundation gives priority to initiatives focused on primary prevention: strategies which promote children’s wellness and proactively address potential problems by providing opportunities for learning and growth. We value the important role played by parents, caregivers, schools, neighbours, and the community at large in raising healthy children. We dream of a community where every child is supported and encouraged to reach their full potential.
Let’s Begin Again!
$150,000 over two years
Better Beginnings Waterloo is based on an acclaimed approach to child development that aims to prevent the development of emotional/behavioural problems in children, aged 5-9, living in vulnerable life situations, by enabling them and their families to successfully begin their educational experience through participation in integrated, holistic and relevant programs.
$175,000 over two years
“It takes a village to raise a child”, ACAWRA aims to create a village that surrounds children in our community and aids in developing leaders. We aim to create an environment where children belong and feel protected while free to explore their creativity.
Creating Community Circles
$144,036 over two years
Creating Community Circles is a program that will address the long wait for services for both parents/caregivers and their child with a developmental disability. Participant-directed programming will focus on establishing informal supports and connections with peers in a space that fosters inclusion and belonging through sharing, education and play.
Building Pathways to Support in Cambridge and North Dumfries
$121,350 over two years
Porchlight Counselling & Addiction Services will continue and grow the Taming the Dragon program delivery in local schools in junior classrooms, and develop and deliver new Taming the Dragon programs for new audiences: intermediate classrooms, and caregivers. These programs will give participants the language, resources, and strategies they need to identify and manage anxiety, as well as how to seek additional support if needed.
Black Girl Excellence
$119,600 over two years
The Black Girl Excellence (BGX) Program exists to empower and uplift Black female-identifying children and youth in Cambridge with continued support for their mental health, creative expression and conversation. Our priority is to reduce systemic barriers, educate and empower the youth in the community.
Intergenerational Literacy Program for East African Families
$251,856 over two years
Somali Canadian Association of Waterloo Region will engage the East African community through an intergenerational literacy program supporting mothers with English language literacy while also building early literacy skills in children, giving the parent the ability to support their child’s emerging literacy, and building educational success and outcomes.
Youth Under the Rainbow
$152,493 over two years
SPECTRUM provides activities for 2SLGBTQ+ children and youth aged 4-12 in partnership with local libraries and arts organizations.
Reaching our Rural Youth Project
$142,845 over two years
Addressing barriers reaching youth aged 9-12 years. Implement a Youth Engagement Strategy to co-develop a youth-driven model that better serves youth and improves youth mental health. Engage youth in the rural townships to understand what youth want and need through connections with youth, led by the youth for youth.
Development of Child Therapy Programming
Woolwich Counselling Centre aims to be an expert in child therapy and offers high quality, professional counselling to children and their parents. As a resource to the community, WCC works in partnership to provide groups and workshops at no cost. Through this project, Woolwich Counselling Centre will offer free parent workshops and preventative mental health education to children aged 6-12 at each school in the Townships of Woolwich and Wellesley. They will increase capacity on the existing child therapy team through additional training and resources.
Given the tremendous disruption that the pandemic brought, we did not feel that restricted program grants for children 12 and under was the most effective way to support our partners and the people they serve in 2020. Through conversations with nearly all of our current and recent charitable partners, we heard that leaders craved "breathing room"; support that would provide some temporary security while they began to look ahead.
The resulting framework aimed to provide program grant recipients, from the last several years of both the Children’s Initiatives and invited Community Support envelopes, with some flexibility and stability through 2021. We accomplished this by means of one-time, unrestricted grants. In most cases, these grants were scaled to the last payment an organization received, plus a 15% cushion in recognition of the significant revenue losses organizations are experiencing.
In addition to the proactive grants, the Foundation granted $957,677 through a competitive envelope in the fall of 2020. Child, youth and family-serving organizations in Waterloo Region submitted proposals for funds to “support the pivot”; whatever is needed to adapt or rethink for the interim time frame of coping with the ongoing pandemic.
Please see Community Support Grants to see the grants awarded.
Establishing a Children’s Mental Wellness Hub
$576,823 over two years
Building on existing partnerships and expertise, a Children’s Mental Wellness Hub will be established in Cambridge. Through activities/opportunities, food supports, and wraparound counselling supports, some of the most vulnerable and isolated families/children will be connected to preventative and early-intervention supports, promoting mental and physical wellness early in a child’s life.
Polaris Parents - Breaking the Trauma Cycle
$380,000 over two years
Healthy parents are critical to the development of children’s social, emotional and mental wellbeing. By providing mental health supports and treatment to parents who have experienced their own trauma, we can improve outcomes for children struggling with adverse life experiences and mental wellness and break the cycle of intergenerational trauma.
Restorative Schools – Building a Culture of Inclusion and Caring
$366,638 over two years
In partnership with the Waterloo Catholic District School Board, the Restorative Schools project provides the resources, skills and experiences to create a restorative culture in our schools. It will build authentic relationships, increase feelings of inclusion and resolve harm and conflict in ways that put relationships first.
Children’s Community Recreation Workers, Phase 2
$300,000 over two years
The funding will support and further develop the delivery of quality children’s recreation programs designed to enhance positive child engagement within each neighbourhood in Cambridge. It will increase the capacity of existing programming as well as create new opportunities for children in affordable recreation.
ENGAGE – Supporting Attendance and Participation
$672,452 over two years
The ENGAGE initiative will provide readiness support and contribute toward participation and attendance for children and families at KidsAbility. The project aims to reduce and remove the barriers associated with missed appointments and build stronger, more resilient families with the skills and support to be successful.
Face to Face Initiative
$286,440 over two years
Face to Face is a strategic initiative utilizing a portfolio of resources and messages delivered through health care providers, by following the existing continuum of universal health care touch points (pre-natal to 6). The initiative will empower parents to make the most of this critical window of opportunity for learning.
Building Supportive Breastfeeding Communities Campaign
$870,913 over four years
The Building Supportive Breastfeeding Communities campaign aims to make Waterloo Region a community where all families have the support and information they need to establish and maintain a positive breastfeeding experience. The campaign will mobilize multi-sectoral partnerships to improve hospital-to-community supports and engage with priority populations to increase breastfeeding rates across Waterloo Region.
Building Blocks for Brighter Futures
$198,200 over two years
This project will reimagine Marillac Place’s programming in order to maximize its impact on the wellbeing of at-risk children and families. The programming provides critical life supports and educational opportunities for new mother-led families, helping ensure they can thrive.
One Story Two Sides
$214,654 over three years
A program for newcomer and refugee children under six years of age. Kids who have experienced uprooting will express themselves through storytelling and acknowledge the changes they are experiencing in their lives. This program will assist newcomer parents and children in adjusting to Canadian society, connecting with peers, and becoming active participants in the community.
Exploring Self-Regulation in the Early Years
$684,199 over two years
We will deliver a universal, multi-faceted approach to enhancing self-regulation skill development in the early years of the life of a child. This will be achieved through the exploration and prototyping of: programs/supports rooted in prevention, strength-based approaches, peer connection, and early learning practices promoting self-regulation.
Families First Implementation Project
$641,000 over two years
The Families First Implementation Project will scale the impact of family literacy across Waterloo Region through delivering a Family Literacy Training, Mentoring and Certification program for individuals, organizations and communities. More parents and caring adults will develop the skills necessary to support their children’s early literacy development and school readiness.
Open-Hearted – Support for Unplanned Pregnancies
$294,926 over two years
SHORE Centre will expand its pregnancy options counselling program to meet the needs of families who choose to become parents. Partnering with existing organizations in Waterloo Region, this all-options support model will help these clients navigate the unique challenges that come from an unplanned pregnancy.
Underground Studio MakerSpace STEAM Education
$70,000 over three years
THEMUSEUM will expand on the success of its Underground Studio MakerSpace to make its STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) programs more accessible, reach more children and youth through increased capacity, strengthen and grow its impact in the community, and ensure continued program quality and value through research and evaluation.
(including Langs, Woolwich Community Services, Wilmot Family Resource Centre and Woolwich Community Health Centre)
Rural Child Wellbeing Project
$525,000 over two years
There is a significant increase in the number of children living in our rural communities in Waterloo Region. This project will increase the accessibility of high quality social, health and recreational programs and services in all four townships, to meet the needs of children where they live.
$119,000 (3 year grant)
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Waterloo Region will expand our Big Bunch program to meet the demand of our growing waitlist. Big Bunch provides children and youth with mentoring support through group programming. By participating in recreational activities/opportunities youth develop positive relationships, social skills and leadership skills.
Coping With Emotions: Emotional Freedom Techniques for Children
$366,580 (2 year grant)
Emotional Freedom Techniques provide a complementary intervention for individuals struggling with their mental health that may not respond to traditional counselling. Described as “emotional acupuncture”, this energy therapy practice seeks to balance the energy field of the human body, blocking anxiety, phobias, pain and often physical illness.
Neighbourhood Nature-play: Co-creating responsive, sustainable and developmentally-appropriate children’s nature-play spaces in community parks
$395,000 (2 year grant)
In partnership with the City of Kitchener and local communities, Evergreen will co-create two nature-play spaces in underserved neighbourhood parks in Kitchener. Responsive public spaces, staffed by trained play workers, are created, with positive impacts on the health and well-being of children and their families.
The Resilience Project: Building Resilience for Children, Families and Community
$1,599,400 (4 year grant)
The Resilience Project builds on previous success to offer programs with measured results while providing partner organizations opportunities to build resilience in their organizations and the families they serve. The project will help engineer resilience for children, families and our community by enhancing multi-sectoral collaboration using a collective impact framework.
Children's Community Recreation Workers
$300,000 (2 year grant)
This funding supports the delivery of quality children’s recreation programs within each neighbourhood in Cambridge, designed to enhance positive child engagement. It will increase the capacity of existing programming as well as create new opportunities for children in affordable recreation programs.
Parenting Now: Today. Tomorrow. Together.
$1,339,320 (4 year grant)
This project will implement three prototypes for parenting education developed through our 2014-16 design study. Grounded in the learning experiences of parents and caring adults, Parenting Now offers a unique and dynamic interface of online and in-person opportunities for parenting education.
The First 2000 Days
$635,100 (4 year grant)
The First 2000 days is an intentional strategy that increases knowledge of the importance of the first 2000 days of a child’s life by connecting with mothers post-birth, linking them with program such as Parenting My Baby which provide information, early intervention and continued supports throughout the parenting journey.
Pedagogy Leadership with Families and Community
$455,234 (2 year grant)
We will further pedagogy exploration and understanding, demonstrating and promoting a common approach to early learning in child and family centres. The whole family will be invited to deepen understanding of pedagogy and their role in supporting a child’s early learning and transition to school through employing pedagogy in the home.
Families First Waterloo Region
$335,283 (2 year grant)
The Families First initiative will generate a viable, sustainable model of family literacy support for a variety of audiences and demographics in Waterloo Region. This will create a plan to improve school readiness and contribute to breaking the cycle of intergenerational low literacy and poverty in Waterloo Region.
Get Ready for School program
$538,700 (2 year grant)
This project supports Strong Start’s Get Ready for School program at its existing sites and three new sites to serve approximately 752 at-risk preschoolers. This program helps prepare children who may be disadvantaged at school entry for a successful transition into junior kindergarten.
The Underground Studio MakerSpace - S.T.E.A.M. Education Programs
$70,000 (3 year grant)
The Underground Studio MakerSpace is a hands-on learning environment where children and youth explore Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math. Participants tinker, hack, design and create under six learning streams (3D Modelling, Computer Programming, Circuitry and Soldering, Woodworking, Silkscreening, Textiles and Deconstruction) with industry professionals, parents and educators as mentors.
A Prescription for Literacy: Accelerating the Early Literacy Movement in WR
$304,092 (2 year grant)
ELAWR and Overlap Associates will collaborate with the healthcare community – a universal access point for families – to highlight the critical window of opportunity for early literacy development. Using Design Thinking, we will develop community-led solutions, consider collective impact and build capacity, accelerating the early literacy movement in Waterloo Region.
Linking Families, Building Lives 2.0
$100,000 (2 year grant)
Position WRFN as the key resource for families with exceptionalities through: 1) enhancement of the partnership funding model; 2) maximizing staff resource time; 3) implementing several options for family support; and 4) engaging in active advocacy for our families.
YWCA Cambridge Girls' Programming Revitalization
$777,962 (4 year grant)
YWCA Cambridge Girls’ Programming Revitalization will provide the organization an opportunity to restructure the way its Girls’ Programming currently operates. The restructuring will allow us to meet the demands for programming across the Region more effectively, more cost-efficiently, and more sustainably.
Coping With Emotions: Emotional Freedom Techniques for Children
$177,312 (2 year grant)
Emotional Freedom Techniques provide a complementary therapy for individuals struggling with mental health challenges that may not respond to traditional counselling. Described as emotional acupuncture, this practice is a self-administered treatment that encourages mindfulness about negative emotions, allowing clients to label and talk about these feelings while voicing positive affirmations. This project will explore the viability of EFT in children, and determine best practices for its use and delivery.
Securing a Future for Early Years Outdoors in the WRDSB
$225,000 (2 year grant)
Evergreen will partner with the Waterloo Region District School Board to transform outdoor spaces and support outdoor learning in full-day kindergartens at two high-needs schools. We will also offer: district-wide teacher workshops, a video series, “loose parts” kits and written resources to support and enhance outdoor learning, incorporating insights from our earlier pilot project.
Child & Youth Resilience Project @ The Family Centre
$331,283 (2 year grant)
The Child & Youth Resilience Project will offer a range of programs and services with measured results that build upon the resilience in children and families experiencing adversity. It will expand proven, evidence-based programming to broader populations and younger age groups; it will draw diverse programs together under a single umbrella, enhancing the ability to track results, identify duplication and evaluate effectiveness; and it will strengthen community capacity by building on existing partnerships as well as establishing new relationships that are based on health promotion and prevention rather than crisis management.
Cambridge Afterschool Program
$132,980 (2 year grant)
This grant will support an affordable, accessible, neighbourhood-based afterschool program delivered by 7 neighbourhood associations in Cambridge. The program gets kids active, teaches healthy eating, builds healthy relationships and gets kids connected to people that care about them and their families. The existing program will be enhanced with additional planning time that will ensure new, interesting, engaging and accessible content for all participants. In addition, staff will participate in the High Five Quality Assurance Program, gaining training and access to top-quality evaluation tools. Those tools can then be applied to other neighbourhood recreation programs as well.
Better Beginnings, Better Futures North Waterloo (Pilot)
$1,443,525 (4 year grant)
Better Beginnings, Better Futures is an innovative, research-based, community-driven primary prevention initiative that supports the development of young children and their families in economically disadvantaged communities. This pilot in North Waterloo will ensure that children and families can access programs within their community that provide social, emotional and academic support to children ages 4 to 8. The BBBF model presumes that there is wisdom within communities about what they need, and puts structures in place to allow residents to make change.
Baby Connections: Next Steps for Baby Literacy in Waterloo Region
$88,584 (2 year grant)
Community organizations, through collaborative efforts, motivate and support parents through training and the use of a literacy toolkit to facilitate early literacy skill development starting in the first year of a child’s life. We will externally evaluate the program parameters, processes and priorities to identify efficiencies and facilitate discussion about future options.
$130,000 (2 year grant)
SPARK! is a service designed to provide brief interventions to children between the ages of 2½ and 5 who have been identified as having mild to moderate special needs and who require only a short course of treatment to generate significant positive results. In addition to supporting families, these interventions also help to reduce KidsAbility’s wait list as a whole. Social work and therapeutic recreation are a new critical component of the SPARK! program.
Web-based Community Access to Recreation Pilot
$184,566 (2 year grant)
We will pilot the creation of a web-based, community access to recreation portal to ease the process of applying for and accessing financial assistance for children and youth to participate in recreational activities in Waterloo Region.
Exploring The Future of Parenting Education
$495,609 (2 year grant)
Founded on the belief that every caring adult can make a difference in the life of a child, this project will engage parents, caring adults and other community stakeholders to develop a transformative approach to parenting education, using design thinking methods. Through in-depth inquiry, we will explore the needs, desires and experiences of people, whether current parents, potential parents or other adults who are concerned with the healthy development of children. We will apply our new understanding and insight to re-think and re-design our current parenting education methods.
The Invisible Disability: Creating A Community System to Serve Children and Families Living with FASD
$545,510 (3 year grant)
Lutherwood seeks to improve the lives of children and families who are affected by Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders. Lutherwood will collaborate with community partners in developing an integrated community strategy, building capacity for diagnosis, establishing a community of practice and offering FASD specific programming for children and families in Waterloo Region.
Strategic Direction, Accountability and Sustainability in Food Procurement
$120,000 (2 year grant)
Nutrition For Learning is realizing rapid growth in its programs. We embarked on an innovative project to centralize food purchasing for our 26 largest programs, minimizing food costs and volunteer demands. This grant will support the second year of the bulk procurement pilot, while also supporting the organization to access external evaluation of the pilot, and to explore the viability of a social venture.
Early Learning Pedagogy Reflection and Exploration
$166,125 (2 year grant)
We will build organizational and family support sector capacity for reflection, exploration, deeper understanding and implementation of the “How Does Learning Happen?” early years pedagogy and learning framework. This will support and enhance early learning capacity and successful transition to school for children.
SHYFT (Shaping & Helping Youth Form Tomorrow)
$237,600 (2 year grant)
SHYFT empowers youth and caregivers to engage with media in a more intentional way. Youth will become critical thinkers about gender, media and pop culture, and learn to express their voices by creating their own media. Caregivers and educators will gain the language and resources to support their youth.