Last week, Global Fund for Children (GFC) and the Avast Foundation together launched the Spark Fund, a new fund to support youth organizations around the world that are tackling injustice and inequality, driving transformational change, and building a more inclusive world. Additional partners Catch22 and Shared Nation are providing research support and technology development.
“This initiative is timely and it is providing a chance for young people to be part of making decisions that influence the kind of social change they want to see, as well as building their capacity and leadership skills to do so,” said Joyce Danso, Avast Foundation Youth Leadership Board member and Spark Fund Steering Committee member.
The Spark Fund equips its beneficiaries with more than just money. The innovative tech supporting it facilitates democratic decision-making and provides a platform where young leaders can engage in learning, networking, and capacity development across borders. “In addition to providing financial support,” Danso says, “the Fund offers youth-focused groups capacity-building programs and learning opportunities that are beneficial in the digital age. It helps to build the capacity of young leaders to influence long-term change.”
“Together, we can champion youth leadership, ensuring that young people have the tools and resources to develop new solutions to existing problems,” said GFC President and CEO John Hecklinger. He added, “Youth have shown incredible resilience and innovation throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, and they deserve more than a return to the status quo.”
The Fund is intended to help communities around the globe where pandemic conditions have highlighted or worsened social inequities. To keep youth at the forefront of decision making, funding criteria and allocation will be determined by a group of panelists between the ages of 18 and 30. While the first round of grants will go to youth-focused and youth-led organizations in Central Europe, the Fund will open applications for regional cohorts in Africa, Asia, and the Americas in 2022.
Eligible organizations located in Armenia, Georgia, Moldova and interested in applying for the current funding round can learn more about funding criteria and apply on Global Fund for Children's website by November 30.
“Initiatives like these are more necessary than ever,” wrote Hector Andres Fuentes Curras, who is also on the Spark Fund Steering Committee. “I honestly hope this spark becomes the massive, transformative fire it is meant to be.”