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3. Directory of International Donors Funding the Youth Sector

This section introduces philanthropic organizations and donors that provide grants for youth-run and youth-led projects, with an international character or with a global dimension. It also introduces several organizations that take an integrated approach to childhood and youth, and provide support for work focusing on children and young people.



ASHOKA, which promotes social entrepreneurship, provides outstanding individuals with funding to grow and develop as social entrepreneurs. Social entrepreneurs tackle problems in all areas of need: the environment, health, learning, human rights, civic engagement, and economic development. Founded by Bill Drayton in the U.S. in 1980, ASHOKA has an annual budget that grew to US$30 million in 2006, from $50,000 at the time of its founding.


SOURCES OF FUNDS: Foundations, individuals, corporations and organizations, business entrepreneurs and their organizations, investments. ASHOKA does not accept funding from government entities.

FINANCIALS: 2006 US Dollars

Total Assets 53,920,209

Total Operational Expenditure 25,999,503

Youth Venture

Youth Venture, which is an ASHOKA initiative directed at young people, helps teams of people start new youth-led organizations. It invests in teams of young people to design and launch social ventures, through which they gain experience and contribute to positive social change. Venturers start businesses, civil society organizations, and informal programs that address all kinds of social issues, including poverty, health, the elderly, the environment, education, diversity issues, and the arts. Youth Venturers are networked globally through events and a special website, adding an international dimension to this project. Youth Venture offers teams of young people who are ready:

  • seed funding of up to US$1,000;
  • guidance, tools, and support;
  • mentors who provide advice and expertise;
  • a supportive network of fellow Youth Venturers;
  • identity as part of movement toward youth-led social change.

Youth Venture operates in the U.S., Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, India, South Africa, Thailand, and across Europe. The public information does not indicate how many Youth Venture grants have been made since the program began or in the current year.



GYCA runs a small-grants program to help young leaders working on HIV to implement projects in their communities with the support of the American Jewish World Service. In 2008, the program made it possible for GYCA to assist ten young graduates of their e-courses to implement projects that address documented needs in their communities and to learn the basics of grant management and reporting. Projects included awareness raising about HIV/AIDS among young women in Pakistan and a voluntary counseling and testing campaign in a rural area in Rwanda, among a number of other initiatives. Ten additional grants of US$1,500 were made in 2009 and 2010. Applicants are young persons, members of GYCA, 29 years old or younger, who have completed at least one GYCA e-course, a training equivalent to a GYCA e-course related to leading a project, and a two-day planning and management session, or who have experience in leading a youth organization on HIV and AIDS issues. Projects address a documented need in the community; work with marginalized populations; have specific, measurable, and time-bound objectives; include a focus on gender equality; have indicators in place for monitoring and evaluation; take an evidence-based and human rights-based approach; and are sustainable after the funding period ends. GYCA favors applicants who reside in a developing country where funding is not easily accessible; are living with HIV or belong to a marginalized group; are connected with a local, well-established NGO; and are committed to sharing their skills with their peers.



The IYF is working in more than 70 countries and territories to improve the conditions and prospects of young people. Established in 1990 to bring worldwide resources to young people in need, IYF works with companies, foundations, and civic organizations to strengthen existing programs that are making a positive and lasting difference in young lives. IYF’s program activity is clustered around the following four issues, which form the core of IYF’s global youth initiatives:

  • Education to improve the quality of education and increase learning opportunities for young people—both in and out of school—through expanded access to information technology, innovative school reform, and instructional support for teachers.
  • Employability to improve young people’s employment, entrepreneurial, and personal skills as a way to build their capacity for and engagement in productive work.
  • Leadership and Engagement to inspire, support, and promote youth engagement and the role of young people as leaders of positive social change, as a way to foster a lifelong commitment to active citizenship.
  • Health Education and Awareness to prepare children and youth to lead healthy lives by providing them with the knowledge and personal skills needed to make informed and healthy choices.


SOURCES OF FUNDS: Foundations, governments and multilateral organizations, corporations and corporate foundations, individuals, interest and investment income.

The IYF relies heavily on corporate alliances to fund its operational programs and to ensure its grant-making budget. One of the IYF’s corporate partnerships, the Nokia Connections Program, provides an indication of the scale of the IYF’s operations. This program has provided funding for global youth development initiatives to strengthen the life skills of young people and prepare them for the future. Nokia has invested US$26 million in 24 countries and directly benefited more than 330,000 young people.

FINANCIALS: 2007 US Dollars

Total Assets 29,172,139

Total Expenditure 22,170,313

Total Program Expenditure 18,728,856

Number of grants 159



The W.K. Kellogg Foundation, established in 1930, has a Youth and Education Grant-Making Program, which aims to improve learning outcomes for vulnerable children and youth. Kellogg supports new ideas about how to engage children and youth in learning and new ways to bring together community-based systems that promote learning.

Youth and Education Grant-Making Program

The purpose of the Youth and Education Program is to improve learning outcomes for vulnerable children and youth. The focus of general grant-making in Youth and Education is innovation. The Kellogg Foundation supports new ideas about how to engage children and youth in learning and new ways to bring together community-based systems that promote learning. Applicants may apply online on a rolling basis and must submit information about the following dimensions of their project:

  • how and why the project is innovative;
  • how the project engages community stakeholders to achieve the mission;
  • how the project is trying to impact or change the system;
  • how leadership strategies will be used to increase the impact of change efforts, to develop partnerships, and to align community aspirations with formal and informal institutions;
  • how the project is to be evaluated, how the team will learn from the project, and how the project’s achievements and issues will be communicated to other audiences.

GEOGRAPHIC SCOPE: U.S., Southern Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean.

SOURCES OF FUNDS: Kellogg Foundation Trust

FINANCIALS: 2008 US Dollars

Total Assets 8 billion

Total Program Expenditures: 306,596,409

New Program Commitments: 203,845,798

Total Grant Expenditures: 272,511,561

Total Number of New Commitments: 718

Total Active Grants: 2,932



The WFD works to achieve sustainable political change in emerging democracies. It is an independent political foundation, sponsored by the United Kingdom Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Working with and through partner organizations, it seeks to strengthen the institutions of democracy, principally political parties, parliaments, and the range of institutions that make up civil society—nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), trade unions, free media, etc. WFD supports activities in the fields of local government, civic participation, women, youth, elections, rule of law, media, and trade unions. In many of the countries in which WFD is supporting democratic change, the key to progress is the talent and energy of the young people. WFD has supported numerous projects with young people, such as leadership training for young activists and projects encouraging youth to be engaged in political life and the development of their communities. Applications for funding are accepted on a rolling basis according to annually identified priorities for each country or region. Initial contact is made with the WFD staff member or team in the region, then funding opportunities are explored.

Two examples of youth-specific projects funded by WFD are:

The Liberal Democrats & Youth Training in Africa: The Liberal Democrats organized a youth training workshop for the Africa Liberal Network. This project brought together leaders of political youth groups from 13 African countries, ranging from Angola to Morocco and Tanzania in Lusaka, Zambia, and 14 political parties. The program focused on developing the participants’ campaign skills. The mix of governing and opposition parties, and parties from southern, east, and west Africa allowed an effective exchange of ideas and solutions. The use of African (as well as UK) trainers—both independent and from partner parties—made it possible to focus on capacity building and finding local solutions to local problems. Participants improved their skills in public speaking, communication, building and leading a team, working with the media, organizing election campaigns, presentation, and identifying issues. In a mock press conference, they quizzed fellow participants posing as journalists in the audience. This exercise allowed the delegates to practice some of the skills learned, and additional one-to-one interviews recorded on-camera and then reviewed let the participants see their progress.

Training Young Political Leaders in Moldova: Political party leadership practices in Moldova lack value-based standards for promoting individuals and ideas, making it difficult for young activists to participate fully in party activities, to make a contribution to the party, and steadily assume greater responsibility. Political leaders and elites are reluctant to share power, which has led to fragmentation of the political scene. Opportunities for young politicians are limited to basic campaign activities. WFD supported a project that provided youth members of Moldovan political parties with the ability to assert themselves within their organizations. It also aimed to strengthen political parties through empowering young party leaders and to promote a value-based and democratic party system in Moldova. Activities included leadership training sessions for young party members and civil society activists, as well as a summer school with a mock electoral campaign. The knowledge acquired by the participants enabled them to conduct follow-up activities within their parties. One activist conducted training for other youth members of her party, while another hosted a summer school for young activists from rural areas. Numerous participants were also subsequently promoted within their parties; some are now running as candidates in different elections, one has been appointed deputy chair of their party’s youth branch, and one non-party participant has joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

GEOGRAPHIC SCOPE: Africa, Europe, Middle East, and North Africa

SOURCES OF FUNDS: WFD’s main source of income is the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office, currently at the rate of £4.1 million per annum. It raises additional funding from other sources, such as the UK Department for International Development (DfID) and the UK Strategic Program Fund (formerly Global Opportunities Fund/GOF), to support its programs.

FINANCIALS: 2006–7 British Pounds Sterling

Total Expenditure on projects 3,187,318