The Spark Fund is a youth-led fund that invests in youth-led and youth-focused groups tackling injustice and inequality and driving transformational change.

Spark Fund logoThe Spark Fund is designed and decided by young people representing their communities. Established by Global Fund for Children with financial support from the Avast Foundation, the Spark Fund has empowered youth panels in the Americas, Europe and Eurasia, South Asia, and Southern Africa to design a grantmaking process and award funding to youth-led and youth-focused organizations in their regions.

The Spark Fund is also experimenting with digital technology to make the grantmaking process more inclusive and efficient. In the first rounds, youth panelists used an innovative pairwise voting platform designed by Shared Nation to review and vote on eligible applications.

In its first year, the Spark Fund:

  • Recruited 40 youth panelists representing 15 countries to serve as decision-makers – 76% of whom were new to making funding decisions
  • Received 790 applications globally, many from organizations that had never received grant funding
  • Awarded $546,000 in flexible funding to 56 youth-led and youth-focused groups, with grant sizes ranging from $5,000 to $15,000
Read our ONE-YEAR UPDATE And the Spark Fund FAQs

As grantees, Spark Fund recipients have access to capacity development support and the opportunity to build connections with each other. Coupled with flexible funding, this support enables them to experiment, collaborate, and learn.

Spark Fund Grantees in their Communities

The Spark Fund currently includes grantees from 13 countries who work on a wide range of issues, including climate justice, gender equity, disability rights, LGBTQ+ rights, mental health, and education. Spark Fund grantees are supporting peacebuilding work at the border of Armenia and Azerbaijan; fighting to end period poverty in Lesotho; building climate resilience in Pakistan; protecting Indigenous cultural identity in Mexico; and much more. Meet our Spark Fund partners here.

What’s Next

The Spark Fund will continue to grow, basing its direction on feedback from young leaders around the world. Up next, the Fund plans to focus on youth-led climate action and mental health.

John Hecklinger and Chelsea Clinton

GFC President and CEO John Hecklinger posing for a photo with Chelsea Clinton at the Clinton Global Initiative 2022 Meeting in New York, where GFC committed to resourcing youth-led climate resilience initiatives through the Spark Fund. © Clinton Global Initiative

Climate: GFC is currently seeking funding partners for a Spark Fund round focused on resourcing youth-led climate resilience initiatives in communities around the world. GFC will recruit three regional panels of young people aged 16 to 35 in Southeast Asia, Latin America, and Southern Africa, and these panels will award grants to 50 to 60 youth-led climate action efforts that are addressing community-level resilience and adaptation work.

Mental Health: GFC is also seeking funding partners for a Spark Fund round focused on the mental health and wellbeing of Black boys and young men. In partnership with the Imperative Fund, GFC will launch this round in South Africa, the UK, and the US. A panel of local youth leaders will select 10 to 12 youth-led or youth-centered grassroots organizations in each region, creating a cohort of youth-led organizations building healthier communities and healthier futures for themselves.

Get Involved

The Spark Fund is a funder collaborative, and there is room for additional funders to join and help launch new rounds focused on specific themes and/or geographies. For more information, please contact Christine Burkhart.

Applications for the youth panels, as well as grant applications for youth-led and youth-focused groups and organizations, are currently closed. Please check this webpage for future opportunities.

Header photo: Children and youth volunteers pose for a photo after an art lesson offered by Do It For The Kids, a Spark Fund grantee partner in Zimbabwe. © GFC

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Featured News

November 1, 2022
The Spark Fund has awarded $546,000 in flexible funding to 56 youth-led and youth-focused groups tackling injustice and inequality and driving transformational change.
September 20, 2022
The Spark Fund: Youth-Led Climate Resilience initiative will empower youth-led climate action and disrupt the trend of underinvestment in youth-led climate work.
November 3, 2021
The Spark Fund is harnessing the power of digital technology to invest in youth-led and youth-focused groups tackling injustice and inequality around the world.

Global Fund for Children (GFC) UK Trust, created in 2006, is a UK registered charity (UK charity number 1119544). We work to generate vital income, create new fundraising opportunities, and raise awareness of the invaluable work of GFC’s grassroots grantees. Our aim is to extend the reach of GFC in the United Kingdom, Europe, and beyond.

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