TRAD announces $250K Grant from The Ontario Trillium Foundation


On January 11, TRAD announced that they have received a three-year $250,000 Youth Opportunities Fund grant from The Ontario Trillium Foundation. The grant will provide great support for students in Toronto, Ottawa, and Hamilton to explore African cultures, ideas, philosophies, and traditions. TRAD is a youth-led education organization seeking to revitalize, restore and renew Black, Caribbean, and African ideas to young adults in Ontario. TRAD creates African-centered educational experiences, publishes a bi-weekly ideas magazine, and creates learning tools for students, teachers, and the community.

In 2020, TRAD was one of The Forge Student Startup Competition finalists and Summer Academy graduates, geared toward growing early-stage innovative startups. The startup began as a campus club at McMaster University in 2013 and The Forge assisted TRAD to launch their idea to the market, by providing them expert mentorship, entrepreneurial workshops, and a $5K grant. In the past eight years, the startup was supported by the McMaster Student Affairs, The Forge, McMaster Students Union, and OPIRG McMaster and also received valuable mentorship from Empowerment Squared.

“Through the generous financial support of the Youth Opportunities Fund and the mentorship of Empowerment Squared, TRAD will have the power to reach many youth in our city, by teaching and imparting their knowledge of Black heritage and traditions, using non-traditional formats,” said Andrea Horwath, the MPP for Hamilton Centre. “Through this medium, future young Black leaders in our city and province will have the opportunity to learn, engage, and share Black history and culture in a way that is entertaining and thought-provoking. This project will most certainly have a tremendous impact in our community and I am thrilled to congratulate all of those involved.”

TRAD magazine and educational programs are developed, curated, and published by youth. The essays, stories, and art published by TRAD are distinctly intelligent, engaging, and uniquely accessible. TRAD magazine asks big questions and explores answers from traditional and contemporary African science, philosophy, society, and arts. Through their programs, TRAD imparts values of curiosity, self-efficacy, intellectual honesty, and ecumenicalism, as they refine conventional wisdom.

“Building TRAD has been an exceptionally rewarding experience for us,” said Sarah Brooks, Director of Education at TRAD. “It feels like the thing we have been searching for all our lives. A place we can come to with our whole selves. I hope you find some of what you are looking for here and that reading through these pages is as holistic for you as it is for us. Please support us. Read, engage, share, like, and subscribe. We created TRAD because we owe this to ourselves.”

“Empowerment Squared is pleased to be the sponsor and mentor for TRAD. Their programs will create online and physical spaces that are safe, and will empower Black youth through the creation of strategic partnerships with Black and Afro Caribbean university student groups in Hamilton, Toronto, Ottawa, and beyond to explore the breadth of their cultural identity” said Leo Nupolu Johnson, Executive Director, Empowerment Squared.

The Youth Opportunities Fund (YOF) is administered by the Ontario Trillium Foundation on behalf of the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services. YOF provides grants and capacity-building support to grassroots groups and community collaboratives to improve the wellbeing of children, youth and families facing systemic barriers with a focus on Indigenous and Black communities. This year, over $13 million was invested through YOF to support 43 youth-led, parent-led and collaborative projects. OTF is an agency of the Government of Ontario and one of Canada’s leading granting foundations.

About TRAD

TRAD is a grassroots educational organization. We create African-centered educational experiences, publish a bi-weekly ideas magazine, and create learning tools for students, teachers, and community.

TRAD website and magazine can be found at