GRANTRAVAGANZA: Spotlight on Unity Charity

November 13, 2013

GRANTRAVAGANZA: Spotlight on some of our grantees and their experiences getting an Innoweave grant to further their organizational goals.


When you effect positive social change using graffiti and hip hop, it takes special tools to evaluate your effectiveness and help you adapt quickly.

UNITY Charity might just have one of the coolest tag lines in the history of NFPs. It goes: “We teach youth to express their stress and develop skills for success”. But when your mission is to help disengaged youth channel their fear and anger via breakdance and spoken word (among various urban art forms), how do you figure out what’s working and as importantly, how do you adapt to the ever-changing environment to do even better?

Developmental Evaluation means using real time information to make decisions as you roll out your programs rather than guessing at a perfect plan and evaluating later.

“UNITY was interested in tools that would help us evaluate the effectiveness of our programs and adapt in real time. We also needed something that could be applied to our programs across Canada, taking into consideration the different makeup of our program participants.” explains Malik Musleh, Director of Development at UNITY Charity. “For example, youth in Fort McMurray are facing potentially different issues than youth in Toronto or youth in Nova Scotia. We wanted to measure whether they were really that different, HOW they are different and if they are, what are the techniques that we need to implement to make proper comparisons between each group and know that our programs are effective in meeting everyone’s needs.

“To be able to adapt while getting this information is key in our innovative environment.”

Innoweave Introduction to Developmental Evaluation Webinar from J.W. McConnell Family Foundation on Vimeo.

Paul Bakker, a registered Innoweave Coach who was familiar with UNITY’s programs suggested they apply for an Innoweave Developmental Evaluation grant.

“The application process was very easy, and we received support from Innoweave when requested,” says Musleh. “We submitted an Expression of Interest and following that, a more detailed application outlining our full evaluation plan.”


Since receiving its grant, the team at UNITY has been working with Paul Bakker, one of the 80+ coaches registered with Innoweave to help mentor organizations through the implementation of the 8 modules. Says Musleh, “(Paul) has shown himself to be knowledgeable, and is providing us with valuable insight in developing the first steps of our project.”

Based on UNITY’s experience getting an Innoweave grant, Musleh has this advice to share: “There are few too funding agencies providing robust organizational development projects, and it is so easy to submit an application. I would encourage potential participants to apply if they feel that the programs offered by Innoweave will help them achieve their goals.”

The next deadline for grants is Jan 6, 2014. For more information on how to apply, click here.