700 Markham Street
Toronto, ON M6G 2M3
Executive Director: Heather O'Keefe
Board Chair: Erin Needra

Charitable Reg. #:85355 0077 RR0001


Ci's Star Rating is calculated based on the following independent metrics:

[Charity Rating: 4/5]



Audited financial statements for current and previous years available on the charity’s website.



Grade based on the charity's public reporting of the work it does and the results it achieves.



The demonstrated impact per dollar Ci calculates from available program information.


Charity's cash and investments (funding reserves) relative to how much it spends on programs in most recent year.



For a dollar donated, after overhead costs of fundraising and admin/management (excluding surplus) 87 cents are available for programs.

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About StepStones for Youth:

Co-founded in 2004 by Executive Director Heather O’Keefe, StepStones for Youth works to provide urgently required support for vulnerable foster care youth in Toronto. 800 youth age out of Children’s Aid care each year in Ontario. Without a stable family or guardian care, these youth face great challenges in not finishing school, homelessness, and being victims of crime. Nearly two thirds of youth forced to exit the child welfare system at 18 experience homelessness within the first six months of leaving. 58% of homeless youth were formely in Children’s Aid care, the graduation rate is 44% compared to 85% for the general population, and 76% become victims of crime within a year of leaving Children’s Aid.

In 2019, the Ontario Provincial Advocate that tracks the data on foster care children was shut down.

StepStones Youth Support Services program supports foster care children in housing, education and mentorship. StepStones provides wrap-around supports intensely focused on supporting youth in care. 

In 2019, StepStones provided 98 housing subsidies that gave youth stable housing through developing relationships with 45 landlords ($75,000 estimated budget ~ 10% of total costs). StepStones helps youth find housing that meets their specific needs (close to schools or colleges, jobs), negotiating rent leases with landlords, helping youth move in with cleaning, moving expenses, and setting up apartments. StepStones helps its youth get a stable place to live. After 6 months in the StepStones program, 85% of youth have a stable place, compared with 55% on intake.

230 youth received intensive support services. 85% of foster care youth report they struggle with anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress. StepStones identifies these needs and finds counselors, family doctors, and/or psychiatrists to work with youth. StepStones helps youth book appointments and goes to appointments with youth – things parents do for their kids. StepStones supported 130 mentor matches.

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Results and Impact

In 2019 89% - 85% (2 different numbers presented) of youth in the StepStones program have stable housing after 6 months in the program, an improvement from 55% at intact. Having stable housing is a cornerstone to being able to continue in education and alleviate mental stress. Safe and stable housing improves other outcomes.

StepStones education supports helped 78% of youth older than 18 years old graduated from high school and continue in education. StepStones sees education as the evidence-based effective program to help youth gain future independence and an improved life. 

StepStones programs and supports helped stabilize the mental health for 33% of the youth in its program. After one year in the program, 6% did not have stable or resolved mental health compared with 39% when joining the StepStones program. 

Assuming StepStones works intensively with 140 youth in 2019, Charity Intelligence's calculates the total cost per youth served is $5,300. 

Charity Intelligence highlights these key results. They may not be a complete representation of StepStones for Youth's results. Charity Intelligence has not assessed impact on StepStones for Youth. This shows as n/r, meaning not rated.

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StepStones for youth is a small charity with $927k in donations and support. It receives an additional $101k in government funding. Its management and administrative costs are 8% of total revenues and fundraising costs are 4% of donations. StepStones overhead costs are 13% which is within Ci’s reasonable range.

Charity Intelligence has consolidated Pelletier Youth in Transition’s funding reserves of $1.9m with StepStones for Youth’s funding reserves of $754k. As such, StepStones for Youth has funding reserves of $2.7m. These reserves cover annual program costs for 4.4 years.

StepStones for Youth and Pelletier Youth in Transition are related charities, each independent, but sharing the majority of directors. Pelletier Youth in Transition grants to only StepStones for Youth ($250k in F2019). Going forward, Pelletier Youth in Transition has committed to grant $200,000 to StepStones in F2020 with another $50,000 for matching donations. 

This charity report is funded by the Bickle Wilder Foundation for other donors interested in supporting Toronto area charities with programs for at-risk youth. Charity report prepared by Kate Bahen, October 26, 2020.


Financial Review

Financial Ratios

Fiscal year ending December
Administrative costs as % of revenues 8.9%7.6%4.1%
Fundraising costs as % of donations 3.8%3.4%2.0%
Total overhead spending 12.7%11.0%6.1%
Program cost coverage (%) 436.9%493.5%639.2%

Summary Financial Statements

All figures in $s
Donations 863,035629,147568,733
Government funding 101,20064,95018,896
Fees for service 0013,541
Special events 63,95871,00124,951
Other income 10,2448,682479
Total revenues 1,038,437773,780626,600
Program costs 620,661502,827376,892
Administrative costs 92,71358,56425,827
Fundraising costs 35,37823,76311,558
Total spending 748,752585,154414,277
Cash flow from operations 289,685188,626212,323
Capital spending 000
Funding reserves 2,711,6022,481,5542,409,273

Salary Information

Full-time staff: 6

Avg. Compensation: $53,139

Top 10 staff salary range:

$350k +
$300k - $350k
$250k - $300k
$200k - $250k
$160k - $200k
$120k - $160k
$80k - $120k
$40k - $80k
< $40k

Information from most recent CRA Charities Directorate filings for F2018

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