Welcome & Context

Since our founding in 1999 by Jennifer Corriero and Michael Furdyk who were teenagers at the time, TakingITGlobal has been focused on the development of programs and resources that support young people in developing their civic engagement and global citizenship capabilities. We’re pleased to share some history and context on our partnership-driven approach over the years:

TakingITGlobal is a charitable organization that launched one of the world’s first social networks for social change in 2000 and is the recipient of numerous awards for innovative approaches in leveraging digital technology for community impact.  In 2004 TakingITGlobal launched one of the world’s first multilingual online community platforms and was heavily involved in leading youth participation in the United Nations World Summit on the Information Society.   

In 2004, TakingITGlobal Co-founder Jennifer Corriero completed her Masters thesis on Youth Engagement and Capacity-building Across cultures, interviewing over 100 young people around the world to learn about success factors and lessons learned from failures. As a culminating project, she developed TakingITGlobal’s Guide to Action, a free resource for young people attempting to develop a social change initiative. The Guide has since been translated into 5 languages, downloaded over 1 million times, and adapted into 6 versions on Mental Health, Climate Change, Artistic Expression, HIV/AIDS, the Millennium Goals, and volunteering. McGraw-Hill licensed the guide as the basis for their Ontario Grade 9 Civics in Action textbook.

From 2006 to 2009, with the support of the J.W. McConnell Family Foundation and Patronage of Governor General Michaëlle Jean, our Creating Local Connections Canada initiative involved a comprehensive national effort to mapping and strengthen the youth engagement efforts of youth-led and youth-serving organizations. Our culminating Weaving a Movement report highlighted 10 recommendations to strengthen youth participation across Canada.  We also launched a digital Treaties Map in 2010 as a learning resource in understanding our history and relationship between Canada and Indigenous communities and accredited Indigenous youth to the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Peoples. 

In 2008, we launched Youth for Change, a long-term partnership with the Library of Alexandria in Egypt to develop youth leadership capacity across the Arab region, funded by the Swiss Government and World Bank. 2017 marked the launch of the 5th cohort of the program, and to date 92 projects across 22 Arab countries have been supported with mini-grants, leadership events, and online training.

In 2009 we launched the Sprout e-Course with support from the Pearson Foundation. This online course leverages the Guide to Action to support young people in developing the project management and leadership skills required to successfully execute a community project. After we reached over 250 graduates of the course, Pearson established the Pearson Fellowship for Social Innovation in 2011, offering 12 grants from $1,000 - $5,000 to 12 inaugural Fellows to support the launch of their initiatives. The program grew to support an additional 14 Fellows in 2012-2013, before Pearson decided to dissolve their corporate Foundation.

In 2011, TakingITGlobal Executive Director led the development of The Youth Effect, a toolkit for decision-makers on youth engagement, as part of her role on the World Economic Forum Young Global Leaders Youth Taskforce. Contributors included The Honourable Scott Brison and HRH Crown Prince Haakon of Norway.

In 2013 and 2014, we collaborated with Microsoft to launch Innovate for Good (I4G), a technology-focused version of the Sprout curriculum. I4G events for high school and university students were held in over 20 countries around the world using a 2 day event we designed, after which participants were invited into a customized online community we developed and animated. After completing the Sprout e-Course, students were eligible for grants of between $1,000 and $5,000, with a small number of participants from Microsoft’s Imagine Cup competition being supported with larger grants averaging $50,000. We developed a micro-mentorship guide and helped to match over 100 participants with Microsoft employee mentors to support the launch of their initiatives, in addition to the more than $500,000 of student project granting we managed for this initiative.

Also in 2014, we collaborated with the Waterloo Global Science Initiative (WGSI) at the Perimeter Institute to launch a customized series of training, mentorship, and seed grants, forming the Equinox Fellowship around their Equinox 2030 conference focused on Education.

In 2015 and 2016, we collaborated with the Ontario Ministry of Economic Development’s High School Entrepreneurship Outreach program and a number of Ontario Universities to offer Sprout Ideas Camp. This week-long summer experience helped students develop design thinking and entrepreneurship skills as they prototype and launch social change initiatives with industry guidance. During the summer of 2017, a follow-up Fellowship offered through renewed Ministry funding will provide 20 students with a month intensive at OCAD University’s Inclusive Design Institute and micro-grants of $2,000 to launch their initiative with hands-on mentorship from corporate and academic partners.

Also in 2016, we partnered with the Hamlet of Arviat in Nunavut to host a Youth Leadership Camp focused on youth service and recreation activities. Youth worked to design recreation activities for their summer, and immediately launched a “Hope Walk” and talent show to bring the community together and speak up against the recent episodes of youth suicide.

In early 2017, we launched the Social Connectedness Fellowship with Professor Kim Samuel at McGill University, supporting 22 university students in research and editorial pursuits linked to non-profit partners and community challenges. The Samuel Family Foundation then expanded their collaboration with us to launch the Samuel Connected North Youth Leadership Fund, investing $800,000 from 2017 to 2020 in providing grants of up to $2,500 for travel, learning & leadership, and project development to over 220 Indigenous youth from 38 communities.  Our Connected North program, founded by Cisco Systems, provides us with daily opportunities to support youth and students in more than 50 of Canada’s most remote communities.

In early 2017, we were connected with civil servants at Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) who were developing the Canada Service Corps initiative. We shared our interest in continuing to offer opportunities to provide resources to youth people to launch their own ideas. While most of the Canada Service Corps National and Regional partners offer service experiences for young people to participate in, our proposed approach was to provide funding directly to youth to create their own community projects to respond to needs they felt were most important to them. We developed a proposal to offer micro-grants of $250, $750 and $1,500 to youth as part of the Canada Service Corps initiative, and to provide facilitation support to the National Partners to foster collaboration and share knowledge.

Our proposal was accepted in November 2017, and #RisingYouth Community Service Grants became an official component of the Canada Service Corps initiative. Through July 2020, we have distributed over 3,400 grants to youth in every province and territory, with more than 80% identifying from an under-represented population. Indigenous youth have received more than 20% of grants for a variety of creative projects responding to their community needs, and more than 250 grants have been distributed across the territories.

We have developed a partnership-driven approach to securing applications from diverse under-represented youth across the country. Over 400 organizations have referred youth to apply for a #RisingYouth grant to date, with over 80 formalized partners implementing a variety of outreach activities and approaches.

We are grateful for your organization considering a partnership with us in support of youth-led community development, and we look forward to working together to grow the capacity of the youth you serve.

Christina, Cory, Eva, and Melissa

Continue to Partner List & Map »