YMCA Bursaries & Scholarships

As part of the YMCA’s effort to help youth succeed, the YMCA of Niagara offers a number of bursaries and scholarships for graduating high school seniors or students currently enrolled in post secondary education.

Selections are based on financial circumstances, community service, and the individual’s personal motivation and desire for furthering their education. All applicants must reside in the Niagara Region. Students have an opportunity to receive scholarships up to $300.

The Savoia Scholarship

Hundreds of donors made possible The Savoia Scholarship, in honour of Franco and Barbara Savoia. Franco was the CEO of the YMCA of St. Catharines from 1989 through 2000. Franco and Barbara gave of themselves openly to the YMCA, local service clubs and organizations, their church, their schools and their community. They believed that service to others was not only part of the YMCA’s Mission, but also a part of their lives.

An amount of up to $300 annually will be available to a student to provide an opportunity for them to continue their post secondary education.

Selection Criteria
  • over the age of 17
  • contributes significant time and service to the YMCA or another charitable organization
  • has YMCA experience
  • has demonstrated leadership, initiative and commitment to serve others
  • resides in the Niagara Region
  • is enrolled or participating in a recognized college or university
  • can demonstrate financial need

Congratulations to our 2019 Scholarship Recipients listed here >

The Butz Family Scholarship

The Butz Family Scholarship, in honour of Stephen Butz and his family, has been made possible by hundreds of donors. From 2000 until 2010, Steve was the CEO of the YMCA of Niagara. Steve gave of himself openly to the YMCA, local service clubs and organizations, and his community. Steve believed that service to others was not only part of the YMCA’s Mission, but also a part of his life.

An amount of up to $300 annually will be available to a student to provide an opportunity for them to continue their post secondary education.

Selection Criteria
  • over the age of 17
  • contributes significant time and service to the YMCA or another charitable organization
  • has YMCA experience
  • has demonstrated leadership, initiative and commitment to serve others
  • resides in the Niagara Region
  • is enrolled or participating in a recognized college or university
  • can demonstrate financial need

Congratulations to our 2019 Scholarship Recipients listed here >

The Frank McNeil Bursary

Hundreds of donors made possible the Frank McNeil Youth Bursary, in memory of a committed and dedicated YMCA volunteer at the St. Catharines Branch. Through his volunteer work, Frank demonstrated his love of children and his commitment to help them develop skills and values. Volunteers make a significant contribution to the YMCA’s work of building strong kids, strong families and strong communities. They are leaders of tomorrow, demonstrating the capacity of the YMCA to help individuals learn and grow.

An amount of up to $300 annually will be available to a student to provide an opportunity for them to improve their leadership abilities and develop values that are the foundation of YMCA programming.

Selection Criteria
  • between the ages of 15–24
  • contributes significant time and service to a charitable organization
  • has demonstrated leadership, initiative and commitment to service excellence
  • resides in the Niagara Region
  • can demonstrate financial need

Congratulations to our 2019 Scholarship Recipients listed here >

Walter Oprzedek Youth Bursary

Hundreds of donors made possible the Walter Oprzedek Youth Bursary, in memory of a committed and dedicated YMCA volunteer at the St. Catharines Walker Family YMCA. Through his work as a teacher, Walter demonstrated his love of children and his commitment to help them develop skills and values. As a volunteer Walter provided leadership to an annual handball tournament that raised funds for the YMCA’s Strong Kids Campaign that financially assists young people who without the support of our generous donors would not be able to participate in YMCA programs. Volunteers make a significant contribution to the YMCA’s work of building strong kids, strong families and strong communities. They are the leaders of tomorrow, demonstrating the capacity of the YMCA to help individuals learn and grow.

An amount of up to $300 annually will be available to a student to provide an opportunity for them to improve their leadership abilities and develop values that are the foundation of YMCA programming.

Selection Criteria
  • over the age of 17
  • contributes significant time and service to the YMCA or another charitable organization
  • has YMCA experience
  • has demonstrated leadership, initiative and commitment to serve others
  • resides in the Niagara Region
  • is enrolled or participating in a recognized college or university
  • can demonstrate financial need

Congratulations to our 2019 Scholarship Recipients listed here >


Based on the outlined criteria, the YMCA committee will review each candidate’s application. Include two reference letters.

Applicants must be planning to enroll/participate in an educational opportunity within the next 12 months. Confirmation of registration will be required before the award is provided. It is not required for application purposes.

If you are applying for multiple awards, please ensure you select all bursaries and/or scholarships you are interested in when prompted to.

Application Process

An online application form is available here. Completed application forms and accompanying reference letters must be received by June 26, 2020.

Please direct questions to:
Julia Ford
Leadership & Development Intern


YMCA Making Waves Swimming and Leadership Bursary Program

Thanks to a generous donation from the Toney and Tisha Ilenchuk family, the YMCA is pleased to offer opportunities for participation in Aquatic Certification courses through a bursary covering up to 90% of an annual YMCA membership and the cost of all certification courses required to become a qualified lifeguard and swim instructor.

Looking for information on the path for aquatic certifications?

Information for those under 13 years of age
Information for those over 13 years of age

Click here to apply online or to print the application form >