At the Youth Climate Justice Fund, we want to do philanthropy differently by placing youth climate justice leaders at the core of everything we do.  We built a model where diverse youth climate justice activists are part of a movement-led participative fund to disburse trust-based funding. Thanks to the support from several international philanthropies, we committed to disburse $500.000 in grants in 2023 with a focus on groups led by young people who have historically faced marginalisation, including those from communities of colour, women, queer collectives, indigenous peoples, and local communities.


On August 20th of 2023, we decided to open a call for applications to disburse core flexible funding to incredible youth groups fighting against the climate crisis through a youth-led movement-led participative grant-making process. Groups were invited to submit applications for project and initiative up to USD 10,000, which can be used for a period of 12 months. Groups had to demonstrate that their work aligns with our three core strategic pillars: 

  • Cultivating diverse leadership rooted in fair and equitable climate action with community power.
  • Raising ambitions and commitments on climate & socio-environmental justice.
  • Holding policymakers accountable to their promises and strengthening community power.


Many participants of the Youth Climate Justice Study explained how grassroots organizations  engaged in vital on-the-ground work often lack the requisite access and skills necessary for accessing international funding. To fill this gap, we decided to make our application process inclusive and accessible to diverse groups by translating our call for applications into seven languages: Spanish, Portuguese, French, Swahili, Arabic, Hindi, and English. Additionally, we recruited five Regional Leads in several regions to assist groups in applying and translating their ideas into funding applications. 



Open Call and subsequent process


From August 20 to September 24, we received 1810 applications including many applications in several languages. Many applications came from Africa, with 67% of the applications coming from this continent, 11% from Asia Pacific, 10% from Latin America and the Caribbean, 4% from MENA, 3% from North America, 3% from Central and Eastern Europe and 2% from Western and Northern Europe. From them, 55 applications were received in Spanish, Portuguese, French, Swahili and Arabic, and were subsequently translated to English and uploaded in our system. We were impressed by the wide variety of topics the applicants are focusing on ranging from climate justice advocacy, agriculture and food systems, indigenous sovereignty, just transition projects to forestry and land use, ocean and water conservancy, waste management, innovation and digital transformation. 


Following the closure of our open call, our team collectively engaged in a comprehensive review of all received applications. During the initial screening phase, staff members assisted in validating essential criteria, such as ensuring the completion of applications and confirming the youth-led nature of the proposed work. This effort led to the shortlisting of approximately 700 applications. Subsequently, Regional Leads and staff collaborated to further screen and shortlist around 100 applications. Regional Leads played a pivotal role in checking references and further engaging with applicants. Moving into November, we reached the final stage of our participative grant-making process, where Steering Committee members meticulously reviewed the ultimate shortlist. Each Committee Member had the opportunity to familiarize themselves with the work of each shortlisted group and cast individual votes based on their assessment of the groups' potential impact.



Next Steps


As we wrap up our current process, we plan to notify selected grantee partners in early December and start with the disbursement of funds. The official announcement of our grantee partners will happen in early 2024! Considering the significant influx of applications this year, we intend to maintain communication with all other applicants and we aim to facilitate another participative grant-making cycle early next year to further support existing shortlisted applicants from our 2023 open call.


Stay tuned for more updates on our future grantees in the coming year! ✨