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Free to Grow 

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The Free to Grow Program nurtures the physical, social, emotional, and mental well-being of children and youth by funding recreational and life-skill opportunities such as sports, arts, camps, driver's education training and leadership development. In 2020 and 2021, we delivered recreation kits to kids at home while activities were limited through our Free to Grow at Home initiative.

Free to Grow now also funds mental health counselling for children and youth, referred to us from CMHA.

Funding is available for children and youth, ages 0 to 18, who live in Guelph and Wellington County, whose families are living below the low-income cut-off. To view eligibility guidelines, click here. For any assistance with Free to Grow please contact Maria Fitzpatrick, Program Assistant at freetogrow@childrensfoundation.org or 519-826-9551 x 123

 Apply for Funding FAQs

Why Do We Exist?

Because we believe that all children and youth should be given the same opportunities in life. By providing the children with these experiences we are not only encouraging a healthy lifestyle but also the opportunity for skills and social development, friendships, and community engagement.

How We Make a Difference:

  • Provide financial support for the activity of the child’s choice
  • Encourage children to try new experiences, and develop their talents, interests and passions.
  • Allow children to continue in the activities they love even when times are tough for their family.
  • Help kids enhance their personal growth and development by learning valuable life and social skills, developing friendships and engaging in their community.
  • Partner with local organizations and companies who want to help the children within the community.
  • In September of 2020, we expanded our program with mental health counselling support.

2021 Facts & Information

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1,222 children were supported through Free to Grow and Free to Grow at Home.

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1,333 activities were funded through Free to Grow such as driver training and soccer.

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100 bikes and helmets were delivered to local children and youth in a new pilot project!


The average yearly household income of our applicant families was $21,860.

Program Partners

By partnering with other organizations, we are able to create a more centralized system while also stretching our collective resources to meet the growing demand. If your organization would like information about becoming a Program Partner, you can click here to review our partner package or you can speak to Megan Harron, Program Manager at 519-826-9551 x 129.