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Understanding our impact: An Evaluation of the Youth Fair Gains Program

When you work in a program for a few years you start to wonder, is this really making a difference? Is the work I do with my participants changing their attitudes and possibly their behaviours towards money and savings? Or is it just temporary?
I had been asking myself these questions for a while and finally my curiosity got the better of me. To answer the question I decided I would informally ask participants when they called to use their matched savings if they were still saving. But even though I was getting answers on a case by case basis, all these responses were anecdotal and I wanted facts.
While talking to my coworkers about my interest in this information, I learned that many others with invested interest in the program had the same questions. So, in fall 2014 we commissioned a benchmarking and evaluation study on the Youth Fair Gains program through Sarah Eaton and Lee Turnstall of Eaton International Consulting Inc.
Before jumping into the results of the study, let’s take a step back, conduct a quick overview of the history of the program.
This program was established to assist youth from low-income households to understand money better and to save for their future. The basic purpose of the Youth Fair Gains program is to foster the habit of savings and to foster good money management skills. As more and more youth at younger ages are taking on more debt due to post-secondary, money management is a crucial skill to survive.
You see the Youth Fair Gains program has been running for the past 14 years, has graduated 475 participants of which 333 graduates have used their money on a productive asset and of those graduates 98% have used their money towards post-secondary education.
Here are some highlights from the evaluation:

  • 89% of alumni reported feeling more hopeful about their financial situation after taking the program
  • 97% of YFG program alumni reported that they continue saving money every month
  • YFG alumni reported saving an average of $478 per month

Read more about the Youth Fair Gains benchmarking and evaluation study.