About Us

To learn more about our work, please take a few moments to enjoy our video:

Additional sources, slide 4, 24 seconds:

Our History

The ELF's parent charity, Sage Youth - Jeunesse Sage was launched in 1992 as a community program by two young people just out of their teens. They knew they wanted to "serve" but didn't know specifically how. They collected items for book and toy lending libraries and started a drop-in homework club in a low-income housing area. After a few weeks they noticed that none of the children attending could read or write even remotely close to grade level. In 1993, Sage Youth became a literacy program, and a non-profit corporation. Thousands of children and youth from low-income, newcomer, homeless, and refugee communities, as well as young people with exceptionalities, have been served by this local, Ottawa program.

After several successful years, community organizations from across the country began to ask Sage Youth to share its expertise. The Excellence in Literacy Foundation was created to do just that. The ELF team created a series of workbooks to fill critical gaps in literacy skills; develop potential in leadership and employability; and enhance financial literacy. These workbooks and training sessions based on the Sage Youth model have been disseminated to hundreds of community organizations across Canada. Some partners also receive micro-funding.

The ELF became an independent organization in 2005. Sage Youth sadly closed in 2015, due to funding challenges. However, some of its programs are continuing under the ELF banner.

Combined, Sage Youth and the ELF have served over 70, 000 marginalized children and youth.

Our Mottos

Excellence is the greatest deterrent to racism and poverty.

Every child will succeed if she has one person who believes in her completely and who loves her unconditionally.

It should never be suggested to a child that he might succeed: Promise him that he will succeed and give him the tools to do it.