NLCC 2018 2018-09-10T14:39:27+00:00


Request for Expressions of Interest

Submissions are now closed. Stay tuned for the announcement of this year’s finalists!


Please contact Rebecca Aird or Tais McNeill if you are considering submitting an Expression of Interest. They will be pleased to answer your questions, share ideas and help you make important connections.

What is the New Leaf Community Challenge?

The Ottawa Community Foundation (OCF) launched the New Leaf Community Challenge (NLCC) in 2014 as an innovative way to encourage and substantially support strategic approaches to pressing local issues. The NLCC process involves:

  • a request for Expressions of Interest;
  • review of the submissions by a committee to select the top three proposals;
  • support for the top three teams to further develop their proposal and pitch; and
  • the signature event ―a juried process held this fall to select the winning proposal to receive a $125,000 grant.

The 2018 Challenge

The unemployment rate for Ottawa youth (ages 15 to 24) has been more than double the general unemployment rate for most of the past 10 years, and stood at 13.6% in 2016. The effects of youth unemployment on material wellbeing and mental health, and the associated costs to society, are both immediate and long term.

In response to these challenges, and building on the 2016 and 2017 NLCCs, the focus for this year’s event is once again on initiatives that address youth unemployment.

In particular, proposals should include significant collaboration among organizations and between sectors; and the resulting programs, tools, and services should contribute to long-term improvement in outcomes for youth and employers.

The winning proposal will:

  • Draw from experience: lessons learned from experiences in Ottawa and from similar initiatives elsewhere are clearly referenced. As required, any research or analysis needed to further understand the issue is also addressed;
  • Lead to improvements at a systemic level: it is clear that the benefits will intentionally and convincingly extend across multiple organizations and to a large proportion of youth;
  • Lead to sustained improvements: it is clear that the benefits will extend beyond the time frame of the project itself;
  • Broaden collaboration: the proposed initiative has identified potential to engage new private, public, and community players, and to access additional resources;
  • Leverage existing assets: as relevant, the proposed initiative builds on valuable existing programs and systems; and
  • Include credible measures of success: the proposal provides outcome-oriented performance indicators, and a measurement/tracking plan.

The proposal does not need to specifically target particular populations of youth. However, the proposed initiative should benefit those who are more likely to be at a disadvantage in accessing and maintaining employment, and in developing meaningful career paths.

The 2018 Process

July 19 – Launch of the 2018 New Leaf Community Challenge Request for Expressions of Interest
September 7 at 5:00pm – Deadline for Expressions of Interest
September 17 – OCF will notify the candidates whether their Expression of Interest has been selected
November 5 – Deadline for full written proposals for selected initiatives
Mid-late November – Presentation at the New Leaf Community Challenge event

Expressions of Interest

By September 7 at 5:00 pm, please submit a five-page (maximum) overview of the proposed initiative via email to, including the following:

  • A brief description of the proposed initiative, including reference to the particular challenge(s) or opportunity(ies) it is designed to address;
  • The proposed approach, including key anticipated activities/milestones;
  • The role of each organization involved in the initiative (including a few words about their qualifications for that role), and as relevant, how existing programs and service channels will be leveraged;
  • A preliminary budget with broadly itemized costs and revenues (please indicate if any are already confirmed), and in-kind resources;
  • Thoughts on whether and how additional funds and in-kind support will be leveraged;
  • Expected outcomes within the timeframe of the grant (up to 18 months),and how these will be measured/assessed;
  • How positive impacts and outcomes will be sustained over time.

The Expression of Interest should confirm that at least one partner, who will have responsibility for managing the funds, is a registered charity. Agreement-in-principle should be obtained from all named partners/collaborators, but no evidence of agreement is required at this stage.

Please bear in mind that this is an Expression of Interest, not a fully developed proposal. The proponents selected to present at the NLCC event will have eight weeks to work on developing the detailed proposal.

Note: To assist in identifying potentially relevant connections and resources, we are offering those who intend to prepare an Expression of Interest the opportunity to speak with an expert with broad knowledge of programs relevant to youth employment.

To follow up on this option, or for any other inquiries about the New Leaf Community Challenge, please contact:

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

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