The Calgary Youth Foundation (CYF) began in 1994 as the first program of its kind in Canada with a purpose to turn dreams into reality. Involving youth in a hands-on approach to philanthropy, the Calgary Youth Foundation provides youth with an opportunity to create positive change in their community by allocating grants to community projects, preparing a presentation and pitching to potential funders. 


A committee of 8-10 youth aged 12-18 meets twice a month to organize and prepare for two granting cycles (Spring and Fall) in which they allocate funds to deserving projects around Calgary. The committee reviews all applicants, select the recipients and distribute the funds as a team. In addition, the committee organizes fundraising initiatives that contribute to Youth Central’s endowment fund at the Calgary Foundation. Applications for the youth members of the CYF Steering Committee are available in August/September and are selected in October of each year. 


For more information, please contact the Program Coordinator at


Our spring granting deadline is April 12, 2022. Please note that any applications submitted between now and then will not be reviewed until April 2022. We do not provide funds to projects that have occurred prior to our deadline.  

– The CYF funds projects that have a direct impact on youth in Calgary and the surrounding area.

– The CYF gives priority to youth initiated, youth driven projects.  Youth are defined as elementary, junior and senior high age. Adult support is welcome.

– The CYF does not fund for-profit ventures.

– The CYF does not fund projects that will pass on our funds to others.

– The CYF does not cover conference fees, tuition costs, etc. for individuals or groups. 

– The CYF does not fund individuals directly in the form of salary, fees etc.

– The CYF does not fund non-inclusive activities. 


In partnership with the Mayor’s Youth Council, the Calgary Youth Foundation facilitates the Jack Leslie Youth Environment Grant. Two school groups are eligible for $1,000 each, and individuals are eligible for $500 each, for a project that will benefit the environment in Calgary. The Jack Leslie Youth Environment Grant is a creative partnership between Youth Central, the Leslie family, the City of Calgary and the Parks Foundation. The grant recognizes the positive impact Jack Leslie, former Mayor of Calgary, made to the city and the environment and encourages youth in Calgary to continue with his efforts.

Congratulations to the 2021 Jack Leslie Youth Environment Grant Recipients!

$500 – Individual Recipient – Fireweed Plant Restoration Project 

This project aims to restore native plants in Calgary, starting with Fireweed, which is attractive to pollinators like bees and butterflies. Initially, Fireweed seeds will be ordered and started by youth volunteers. Seedlings will be planted around a lake in the Taralake community in the spring. Once approval has been granted from the city, this will expand to more areas. The ultimate goal is to increase the plant population in Calgary which will reduce carbon levels, restore native species, and give residents a free source of Fireweed that can be used for tea.

$1000 – Group Recipient – Mount Royal School Naturalization Project 

Many of the students who attend the inner city Mount Royal Junior High School live in multifamily complexes and want to create more natural areas around their school. With a high English Language Learning population, students will also benefit from horticultural, hands-on learning as it provides practical knowledge and an access point for immigrant families into the community. By building an edible garden and naturalization area, students will receive the supplies and knowledge needed to harvest food that will foster a personal relationship with the food they eat. This will also facilitate their appreciation and stewardship for the land. Receiving this grant creates a foundation for exploring permaculture design and establishing outdoor learning environments. A local community expert is collaborating with the group mentoring to incorporate native flora into the green spaces. 

$1000 – Group Recipient –  The Legacy Project

The Legacy Project will reduce carbon emissions by planting trees. For each graduating student at Robert Thirsk High School, a tree is planted in their honor to reduce 0.6% of their car emissions created annually, once the tree is fully grown. After successfully planting 540 trees to honour the 2020 graduates there are plans to expand the project. The ultimate goal is to find a piece of land to plant the trees of future graduating classes on to create a forest space for students to visit outside of Calgary. This will increase the tree survival rate and give students a place in nature to connect with. Until the land is finalized, the trees will be given to students to plant on private property. Trees will also be given to citizens in nearby communities to spread awareness about climate change. Finally, the project will be further integrated into the community by having the high school students work with an elementary school as they create a garden on school grounds. A bench will be placed in the courtyard to remind students of the intentions of this project.