Toronto Inner-City Rugby Foundation (TIRF)

The Toronto Inner-City Rugby Foundation (TIRF) was established to build community through rugby and rugby through community. We work with schools and school boards, community groups, other non-profits, and rugby governing bodies to make the game of rugby more accessible financially, geographically, and culturally. TIRF anchors the game in priority neighbourhoods/neighbourhood improvement areas. We use the skills and values of the game to impact the lives of youth positively by providing athletic bursaries and opportunities, academic supports and scholarships, career development and job opportunities, as well as leadership and civic engagement.

TIRF Rookie Rugby FestivalOur Impact Why We Exist

I’ve watched Micaele thrive, grow confident on the field and with his peers resisting pressure to try drugs...After losing his father to cancer, TIRF has made all the difference in his recovery”

-       Anna Zaffina, Parent

“John is learning the benefits of hardwork, commitment and sharing. He wouldn’t be performing as well academically, or developing into the positive, confident, socially aware, young man he is becoming, without TIRF. TIRF has enriched our lives and others’ by providing mentoring, support, and connection to a community who care deeply about building well rounded athletes, citizens, and a more inclusive city.”

-       Paula Bowley, Parent

 “For our children, all of whom live in highrise buildings in low income communities, this program is an awesome opportunity - they are exposed to positive role models and are having a whole lot of fun while being active.”

-       Marion Newrick, ED, Community Action Resource Centre,

“As an administrator I can identify TIRF kids immediately: polite, healthy, altruistic, hardworking teenagers who are always ready to step up and lend a hand.”

Adam Marshall, School Principal Newtonbrook SS

“One of the first things you learn in rugby is the saying “Go Forward”. I’ve learned this on offence, defense, and in life. From my father’s passing, the support of my rugby community allowed me to strive and keep ‘going forward’ I’ve learned that in life, there will be rucks to fight, lines to run through, and tackles to break.”

-       Kyle Lagasca, Student Athlete and 2014 Scholarship Recipient 

Putting the community in rugby.Our Story What We Do

We employ a collaborative approach utilizing rugby in an inclusive and aspirational model that empowers students to achieve success on and off the rugby pitch while impacting their communities.

Our rugby programs provide students with a financially, geographically, and culturally accessible sports program that promotes healthy and active living. The rugby values of integrity, passion, solidarity, discipline, and respect are imparted in an environment that instils an ethos of teamwork and camaraderie.  

Our development or non-rugby programs focus on critical life transitions providing guidance and skills that will support the students’ growth into a competent, capable, and compassionate citizen.

Through rugby, academic scholarships, skills development, career opportunities, and civic engagement, we aim to develop community and rugby champions. 


On the pitch:

➤Engaged 12,000+ participants across all program areas

➤Subsidized participation of 335 students across 36 high schools for club rugby in 2015 alone

➤11 youth rugby interns ran over 300 free sessions for youth to try Rookie Rugby, (a fun, safe, non-contact version of the sport) resulting in 11,000 new touches between April & August 2015

➤Held free house leagues support skills development at 8 locations across Toronto

➤Trained and certified 52 rugby coaches

➤Built a network of 36 schools and 75 community centres and summer camps participating in Rookie Rugby this summer

➤Trained over 128 teachers, volunteers, and camp staff across Toronto in Rookie Rugby methodology, ensuring self-sufficiency of the programming

➤So far, we have made more than 60 bursaries available to talented athletes. 16 of those players have been selected for team Ontario and 2 for team Canada.

➤Organized 9 free winter training academies (8 mens, 2 women’s)

➤Ran free rugby development camps, trainings and tournaments involving over 700 individuals➤Fall 7’s tournament (girls, boys, elite)

➤Rugby Alliance Clinic

➤March Break Festival and Tournament for Rookie Rugby participants and high school students➤TIRF Rugby Day at international test matches

➤TDSB School Development Tournament

Off the Pitch:

➤2,000 volunteer hours committed 

➤Over $60,000 in scholarships distributed

➤31 internships set up

➤New apprenticeship program designed & 7 placements in year 1

Our Programs How We Do It

TIRF addresses the gap between rich and poor by providing youth living in neighbourhood improvement areas with access to quality rugby programming that provides academic, employment, and leadership development opportunities. Not only that, TIRF is building the sport’s infrastructure ensuring it is inclusive regardless of income or culture by addressing barriers such as cost and geographic access. We not only provide youth with a subsidy to play club rugby, but we provide jerseys, equipment, and expertise to ensure that the program is sustainable and meets a minimum quality threshold. This also positively impacts the health and wellness

We have several programs for children and youth that promote healthy and active living, academic success, and leadership development. 

Minor Rugby (Ages 6-12)

1. Rookie Rugby 

  • Introduce the game to students in a fun, inclusive, and safe environment
  • Build collaborative opportunities with community partners
  • Provide the basics of physical literacy

2. Rookie Rugby House Leagues

  • Low or no cost leagues across the city that give students an opportunity to play and build skills on and off the pitch

Events & Festival Supporting Minor Rugby Program:

  1. March Break Camp & Festival
  2. Summer Rookie Rugby Festivals
  3. Rugby Day at BMO Field 
  4. Rugby Alliance Season's Kick-Off

Junior Rugby (Ages 13-19)

1. High School Foundations

  • Introductory rugby programs
  • Coaching Assistance
  • Free Professional Development for Teacher-Coaches & Volunteers
  • Partner Club Coach and/or School Liaison
  • Equipment 
  • Jerseys
  • Student Body Membership in TIRF
  • Access to all TIRF programs for participants and fans alike; 

2. Club Rugby Experience

  • Access to local club play at subsidized rates; 
  • All benefits that any player would receive 

3. Rising Stars Select Program

  • Enhanced training
  • Pathway to competitive and elite representative programs 
  • Leadership development 
  • Rugby and Cultural Exchange Tours 

4. Club Winter Training Academies

  • Training at various locations across the city;
  • Continued social relationships; 
  • Increased athletic development; 
  • Increased cross-community relationships;

Events & Festival Supporting Junior Rugby Programs

  1. Toronto & Catholic District School Board Developmental Tournaments 
  2. Rugby Alliance Season Kick-Off
  3. Toronto Transit Division
  4. Rugby Day @ BMO Field
  5. Fall 7's Series 
  6. March Break Clinic & Tournament 
  7. Representative Trials 
  8. Rising Stars Academy 

Non-Rugby Programs (Ages 13-19)

1. Civic Engagement: Gainline Volunteer Hours

  • Required hours for participation in program 
  • Opportunities at club, school, and community; 

2. Leadership: Youth Advisory Council

  • Leadership and representative opportunities;
  • Sessions to develop skills 
  • Coach certifications
  • Rugby and Cultural Exchange Tours

3. Academic Scholarships and Support

  • Access to funding and resources

4. Career Connect

  • Access to internships, apprenticeship, and other career exploration and building opportunities 

What You Can Do

The work we do isn't possible without our volunteers and donors. If you'd like to get involved in any way, please contact us! 


Ige Egal
Executive Director
647.478.6119 x1

Finance & Governance

Annual Operating Budget: 
$ 400,000


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