NLCC 2016

NLCC 20162017-04-19T12:32:17-04:00

LiveWorkPlay awarded $125,000 New Leaf Community Challenge grant to tackle youth unemployment

The Ottawa Community Foundation presented a cheque for $125,000 to LiveWorkPlay at its 2016 New Leaf Community Challenge to tackle youth unemployment in the capital in a meaningful, sustainable way. The Pie in the Sky initiative will build on LWP’s successful Employment Task Force pilot project, bringing employees with intellectual disabilities and Ottawa employers together for mutual benefit. It was one of the top three proposals presented to a jury of community leaders and experts at the Ottawa Community Foundation’s third annual New Leaf Community Challenge on Wednesday at Saint Paul University.

“While the city-wide unemployment rate was 6.4% in 2015, Ottawa’s youth unemployment rate was 15.3%,” said Marco Pagani, President & CEO of the Ottawa Community Foundation. “That is the highest it’s been in over a decade, and the highest rate among Canada’s six largest cities. That’s why the Foundation felt now was the right time to support the community in tackling this alarming trend in a powerful, proactive way.”

Originally launched in 2014, the New Leaf Community Challenge was designed to inspire and support innovative, collaborative approaches to addressing critical issues in Ottawa. With a focus in the first two years on food security and local food systems, the New Leaf Community Challenge has previously provided a total of $250,000 in funding to MarketMobile and the Deep Roots Food Hub. These projects have instigated powerful approaches to improving access to healthy affordable food, and to building longer-term food sustainability for Ottawa.

Focused on demonstrably improving the employment situation for young adults in Ottawa, the 2016 Challenge attracted a diverse array of exciting and innovative project submissions. The top three proposals presented to the jury included a social enterprise collaborative for youth-delivered IT services, an employment task force for young people with intellectual disabilities, and a collective impact initiative to improve the employment outlook of local youths living in disadvantaged neighbourhoods.

“All of the projects presented at today’s Challenge were highly creative, compelling and, most importantly, designed to make a measurable difference in our community over the long-term,” said Marco Pagani, President & CEO of the Ottawa Community Foundation. “While I know it was a difficult decision, I am confident that LiveWorkPlay’s project will contribute to improving the employment situation for Ottawa’s young people in a systemic, sustainable way – which, in turn, is key to improving the city’s long-term economic outlook and overall wellbeing.”

The New Leaf Community Challenge has attracted a wide range of local champions and supporters. The 2016 Challenge jury was made up of such notable local leaders and experts as Saad Bashir, Tim Brodhead, Lauri Cabral, Cheryl Jensen, Kathleen Kemp, Jack McCarthy, Paul Steeves, and Stephen Willis.


The following were the top three projects submitted for the 2016 New Leaf Community Challenge. Note that each proposal is a collaboration between multiple partners. The listed organization is the lead.

CompuCorps Mentoring:  CSS Ottawa (CompuCorps Services & Solutions)

CSS Ottawa will take a targeted approach to building and developing a social enterprise collaborative within a trusted organization. CSS Ottawa will support 3 social entrepreneurs to create and support the delivery of paid IT services (computer upgrade services, training services and business services) to individuals, non-profits and small businesses in Ottawa by leveraging CompuCorps’ existing Microsoft licencing and Google advertising agreements. As owner/operators, these entrepreneurs will share in the revenue created, along with those employed to deliver the services. The initiative targets the creation of over 100 first-time career-oriented jobs for recent graduates and young IT immigrant professionals.

LiveWorkPlay: Pie in the Sky: how “unemployable” young adults are meeting the needs of Ottawa’s employers

This initiative builds on LiveWorkPlay’s successful Employment Task Force (ETF) pilot project, bringing employees with intellectual disabilities and Ottawa employers together for mutual benefit. The ETF concept utilizes volunteer employment champions – mostly business owners and managers – to help LiveWorkPlay build relationships with new employment partners to generate additional hires. Despite the daunting unemployment rate of 75% facing this population, LiveWorkPlay will bring their proven expertise and capacity-building to create a series of expanded ETF volunteer networks, generating 100 jobs for youth with intellectual disabilities in just one year.

Social Planning Council: Partnering for Success in Youth Employment (PSYE)

PSYE is a collective impact initiative to improve labour market outcomes for 15-29-year-olds in Ottawa by creating clear career path development to economic opportunities for youth living in disadvantaged neighbourhoods, and maximizing economic opportunities that exist for youth by incubating/expanding new sustainable local economic opportunities. Founded on four years of youth-led research, the strategies and activities determined for this initiative are based on the best and most promising practices and innovations for what works to create significant and sustainable improvement in the areas of youth unemployment, under-employment and youth entrepreneurship.

For inquiries about the New Leaf Community Challenge, please contact:

Rebecca Aird, Director, Community Engagement, 613-236-1616, ext. 222,; or
Tais McNeill, Associate, Community Engagement, ext. 223,