A Project Grant for Local Schools

United Way is excited to announce that our youth engagement initiative, Make Your Mark on Poverty, was a huge success and is back for the 2018-2019!

All local K-12 schools are now invited to apply for up to $1,000 in grant funding for student-led projects that promote poverty awareness.

Last year 20 local schools and approximately 500 students participated, with projects ranging from a street store for used clothing, to a community meal program, and to a colouring book to promote literacy. Make Your Mark on Poverty provides an ideal chance for schools to access funding and:

  • Teach students about the challenges local individuals and families face when living in poverty;

  • Inspire creativity, collaboration and strong sense of purpose;

  • Profile the work of students, a class and/or school;

  • Educate and encourage community members of all ages to show support for the fight against poverty in our region.

Project Timing

Deadline extended to noon on Friday, October 12.

Applications are now open to schools and are due in October 12, 2018. Successful applicants will be notified by November 1, 2018, and grant cheques mailed by the end of November. The expectation is that projects will be carried out between November 2018 and March 2019. The awards ceremony to celebrate student accomplishments will be held on April 16, 2019.

How to Apply

  1. Review the project grant criteria below.

  2. Learn more about the initiative and get project ideas below.

  3. Fill out the online application form.

  4. Submit your completed form through email by October 12, 2018. Please use the subject line "Make Your Mark on Poverty grant application". Send to amalin@myunitedway.ca.

Project Grant Criteria

Project grant applications must meet the following criteria in order to be eligible for consideration.

  • Submissions will be accepted from K-12 schools located within the Alberta Capital Region.

  • Projects must have an official endorsement from the school principal and a staff member in place to guide the process (ie. Teacher, vice principal, school support representative.)

  • Submissions can be from a school class, a group of students within a school, an entire school or a group of schools working in partnership.

  • Submissions must focus on projects that educate and create support to fight poverty in our community.

  • Be as creative as you like – project scope and approach is left to students and the project lead (i.e. artwork, event, social media, music, clothing… the only limit is your imagination!)

  • Funding will be provided for projects up to a maximum of $1,000. A budget breakdown for the project must be included as part of the submission.

  • The school or group must be willing to publicly share information on the project, progress and results. A final report will be required by March 15, 2019.

  • Please indicate clearly in the application how you will promote and recognize United Way for its funding of the project.

  • Judging of submissions will be based on: creativity, understanding of poverty in the region, alignment with the focus of United Way, and the potential impact.

  • All submissions must be received by October 12, 2018.

  • Grant recipients will be eligible for an additional $100 for transportation to/from the awards ceremony in April 2019.


“Make Your Mark on Poverty is an opportunity for teachers to engage their students in a dialogue about poverty. Through the Make Your Mark on Poverty school grant opportunity, teachers and students can take their energy and passion for a poverty-free community and turn it into action.”
— Nancy Petersen, Edmonton Public School



For any enquiries on this project grant opportunity, please contact Annette Malin, Community Investment Specialist at 780.443.8333 or by email at amalin@myunitedway.ca

Make Your Mark on Poverty is proudly supported by:


Celebrating Student Achievement!

At Eastglen High School - Students from eleven schools from across the Alberta Capital Region showcased projects as part of United Way's Make Your Mark on Poverty Youth Symposium on May 25th. Each project was designed to raise awareness and take action against poverty.  

At Thursday's Youth Symposium, three schools entered their projects in the "Lions' Den Challenge", bidding to earn corporate mentorship and extra funding to continue their projects into the next school year. The Lions' Den Challenge was named in honour of Roary the Lion, United Way's mascot, and was inspired by the popular Dragons' Den television program.

All three schools were granted sponsorship by the Lions:

·         M. E. Lazerte High School (sponsored by Dentons)

·         Rio Terrace Elementary School (sponsored by Imperial)

·         École Secondaire Sainte Marguerite d'Youville (sponsored by CIBC)

“The event was the culmination of so much hard work on the part of all of the students, teachers and principals,” said Sarah Chan. “Together we can use our creativity and our voices to make change happen for a better community – FOR all of us, BY all of us.”

The celebratory evening was topped off with musical performances by DJ Thomas Culture, and musicians Paul Woida, Lia Cole and Josh Classen. Lions’s Den sponsors Dentons, CIBC and Imperial were joined by event sponsors Eastglen High School, Edmonton and District Labour Council, Production World, That Just Happened, PlanIt Sound, Sunshine Promotions, Oliver Apt, and Joyful Face Painting.


School Participants and Projects

Projects included creating community gardens, packaging personal care kits for the homeless, setting up a pop-up street store for gently used clothing, and even creating a colouring book that was sold to raise funds for literacy.

Prince Charles School – Backpacks for the Homeless

Queen Elizabeth School – Quality Education vs. Youth Homelessness

Rio Terrace School – Growing Food Can Help Fight Poverty

Spruce Avenue School – Spruce Avenue Community Garden

St. Francis of Assisi School – Stretching Our Food Power

St. Joseph School – Root Causes

St. Mark School – Pop-Up Poverty Awareness

St. Rose School – Yummtrition

Strathcona Christian Academy Secondary School – The Street Store and Good Coffee

Abbott Elementary and Lawton Jr. High School – Sock Hero Project

Austin O’Brien School – Youth as Gardeners - Containers to Communities

Bannerman School – Uniting Community

Bev Facey School – Facey Care Kits

Braemar School – Meals on a Budget

Brightview School – Kind Deeds for Those in Need

École Secondaire Sainte Marguerite d'Youville – It’s a Colourful Life

Greenfield School – Hope on Poverty

Louis St. Laurent School – Growing with Our Community – Youth as Gardeners

M.E. Lazerte School – Newcomer and Youth Support Program

 Sarah Chan, Lead of Youth Initiative & 2016/17 United Way Campaign Co-chair

Sarah Chan, Lead of Youth Initiative & 2016/17 United Way Campaign Co-chair

About Sarah Chan

For the past two years, Sarah Chan has been engaging with students across the region, talking about community, poverty and how United Way is making a difference.  Make your Mark on Poverty is a project-based program, a direct result of Sarah’s dedication to engaging youth, designed to motivate them and get more students involved in community solutions to help solve poverty. 

This initiative is the perfect foundation to leverage Sarah’s ongoing involvement in schools with Edmonton and area youth and to let them know that we need and value their contributions to help find solutions to poverty. 


For more information on Make Your Mark on Poverty, please email Annette Malin at amalin@myunitedway.ca