CoverPictureColumnFrom Toronto Foundation 2015 Annual Report Magazine

“Think big. Act small. Fail fast. Learn rapidly”

Agazi Afeweki
Co-founder, Youth Empowering Parents (YEP)

Mission: Empower youth. Educate adults. Transform communities.

Vital People grant recipient: 2013/2014

Leadership: “YEP pairs adults with volunteer youth whoe speak the same language, and then trains those young people to deliver one-on-one tutoring in English and computers skills to those adults. It’s a transformational experience – youth learn that every action is a micro-leadership experience.”

Legacy: “My forte is startups. Mature organizations lose that start-up energy and mentality. We needed business discipline in an entrepreneurial context. The Vital People grant allowed to participate in a 10-day program for not-for-profit leaders at Standford University focused on integrating organizational mission and strategy to develop an action plan for addressing key challenges with innovative solutions. One of our biggest challenges is generating sustainable revenue. We realized that we couldn’t continue to depend on grants. At Standford, we brainstormed developing programs to maximize the impact on a particular population, and then how to measure the social impact. As a result, we are looking at new and unexpected ways to engage past and future donors.”

Paying it Forward: “We started with five locations in Toronto – we’ll soon be 10. And we have programs in Ethiopia and Niger.”