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Canada Basketball receives Community Sport for All Initiative funding to launch six UNIFIED Partnerships across Canada

Unified 2024


May 18, 2023

TORONTO (May 18, 2023) – Today, Canada Basketball and the Honourable Pascale St-Onge, Minister of Sport and Minister responsible for the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec, announced that the organization has received $500,000 in funding from the Community Sport for All initiative.

The Community Sport for All Initiative (CSAI) component of the Sport Support Program seeks to remove barriers and increase sport participation rates for underrepresented groups. Its key objective is to support community sport initiatives for equity-deserving groups, in particular, Black, Indigenous, racialized, 2SLGBTQQIA+, low-income and newcomers, to increase participation and retention in sport.

Funding will support Canada Basketball’s newly established UNIFIED Partnership Program, which provides support to community organizations that not only have a long-term and ongoing affiliation with the organization but also shared values, objectives and priorities to help further grow the game and remove access barriers for equity-deserving youth through collaborative basketball programming in Canada.

This funding will assist Canada Basketball in the establishment of six UNIFIED partnerships with the following not-for-profit community organizations: 

BlackNorth Initiative

BlackNorth Initiative (BNI) is on a mission to end anti-Black systemic racism throughout all aspects of our lives by utilizing a business-first mindset. BNI is committed to the removal of anti-Black systemic barriers negatively affecting the lives of Black Canadians.

This funding will support BNI’s Athletes on Track Program, which provides financial support and mentorship opportunities for Black student-athletes. It will also enhance the BlackNorth Connect Program, a platform designed to provide access to internships and job postings for career recruitment as well as mentorships, scholarships and bursaries for post-secondary education. Through the platform, Canada Basketball and BNI will deliver Masterclasses led by Black coaches, sports officials and business leaders to provide accessible education and mentorship to members.

You Can Play Project 

The You Can Play Project works to ensure the safety and inclusion of all who participate in sports, including LGBTQ+ athletes, coaches and fans. The organization achieves this by creating a community of allies that can foster a true sense of belonging. This becomes possible when sports teams sharpen the focus on the person’s skills, work ethic, and competitive spirit, not their sexual orientation, gender identity or expression.

Canada Basketball and You Can Play will collaborate to increase inclusivity-focused education access and awareness within the basketball community and for Canada Basketball athletes, coaches, officials and parents while focusing on raising awareness through storytelling on the importance of balanced representation and inclusivity in the Canadian basketball landscape.


YUTE Inc. is a youth-focused, full-service creative and experiential studio (“agency”) created for the youth, by the youth. YUTE houses multi-hyphenate creative youth by ‘alley-ooping’ opportunities, support and mentorship; while creating meaningful and impactful content through play (creativity). Give them the tools and watch them do magic. With every project, YUTE hires and mentors Black, Indigenous, POC, and/or 2SLGBTQQIA+ creative youth from marginalized communities (but not limited to), with proceeds invested back into youth-focused programs, initiatives, and/or organizations.

The partnership will focus on encouraging youth from diverse backgrounds to use basketball and creative design as a positive outlet to develop their skills, knowledge and character to develop their careers through a year-long creative mentorship experience. The program will offer paid work and mentorship experience to youth through content capture at Canada Basketball events, including men’s and women’s age-group national team high-performance camps and media days.


Kickback is a non-profit that provides sneakers to facilitate experiences and opportunities in sports, art and education.

In collaboration with Canada Basketball, Kickback will launch an 8-week summer creative mentorship program where diverse youth can learn how to evolve in the world of sport through photography and storytelling experiences. The program will offer youth unmatched experiences, professional sports photography skills, and an opportunity to create a full basketball-focused editorial built around experiences of capturing content at Canada Basketball’s GLOBL JAM event this summer. Graduates of the program will have the opportunity to capture content at Canada Basketball’s girls' and boys' Junior Academy sessions over the next year.

Lay-Up Youth Basketball

Lay-Up Youth Basketball is a charitable organization that delivers cost-free programs designed to develop the skills kids need on and off the court. Lay-Up provides evidence-based basketball, coach development programs, culture of basketball workshops and employment opportunities in Neighbourhood Improvement Areas across Toronto.

The partnership will work to increase access to the game through Lay-Up delivered programs focused on skill development, coaching, officiating education and sport leadership programming for youth in underrepresented groups and neighbourhood improvement areas. The partnership will specifically support the enhancement of the Lay-Up Crossover program, a paid program designed for youth ages 15-29 who want to develop new skills, receive training and work in the basketball industry. The partnership will also support the development of Lay-Up’s Sky High program and the establishment of their Youth 3x3 House League program.

Buckets & Borders

Buckets & Borders was established in 2015 as a project to document basketball culture around the world. Today, Buckets & Borders is a non-profit organization that uses basketball as a means to improve communities and bring people together through basketball. 

Buckets & Borders refurbishes and builds outdoor basketball courts, provides youth resources, tells impactful stories, and strategically grows basketball across Canada and the globe.

Over the next two years, Canada Basketball and Buckets & Borders are teaming up to improve underserved, underrepresented and underfunded communities while uncovering and sharing unique community basketball stories to celebrate basketball's power to unite us all coast-to-coast. The program will involve youth basketball groups in the Buckets & Borders outdoor community court design process and provide basketballs to communities through the ‘Ball for All’ program. It will also host community basketball events on newly restored courts in several regions across Canada to celebrate the growth of the game. 

As announced in Budget 2021, the Government of Canada will distribute as much as $80 million over two years across the country to help encourage more accessible local organized sport and remove barriers to participation in sport programming.

For additional information on Canada Basketball and the UNIFIED Partnerships program, visit


"Support for community sport reinforces the Government of Canada’s commitment to building stronger and healthier communities. Sport plays an important role in building self-esteem and leadership skills, which allow people to grow and thrive physically, emotionally and socially. It should be accessible to all. Everyone deserves the opportunity to take part in sport and physical activity.” - The Honourable Pascale St-Onge, Minister of Sport and Minister responsible for the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec.

"On behalf of Canada Basketball and our UNIFIED Partners, I’d like to extend my sincerest gratitude and appreciation to Sport Canada and the Honourable Pascale St-Onge for their ongoing support.  This funding will work to further our efforts to remove access barriers and ensure that all those involved with the sport of basketball can do so in a safe, welcoming and inclusive environment.  As an organization, we’re committed to getting more children and youth facing barriers off the sidelines and into our game." - Michael Bartlett, President & CEO, Canada Basketball