Co-CEOs John Hecklinger and Hayley Roffey to lead Global Fund for Children into the future

March 25, 2024 | Press Releases

Global Fund for Children’s Global Board has appointed current President and CEO John Hecklinger and Global Managing Director, Hayley Roffey, as the new Co-Chief Executives, effective immediately.

“I am beyond delighted and proud to welcome Hayley and John to be the first Co-CEOs of Global Fund for Children. They are two leaders with lifelong commitments to supporting children and young people around the world, bringing expertise in supporting the most at-risk children and young people, trusting the deep wisdom of young people’s leadership, and never underestimating the power of small, locally-led groups. They both lead with a deep trust in the team at GFC, strong and authentic partnerships with peers, partners, and funders, and unwavering conviction to the work.”

Swatee Deepak, Co-Chair of Global Fund for Children Global Board

In its 30th year, Global Fund for Children has announced a new leadership structure to herald the more disruptive role it needs to play in the world, challenging the philanthropy sector when and where it is needed, and more deeply reflecting the needs of children and young people. 

This new structure readies the organization for a bolder, more outspoken future, centering young people as the decision-makers of where, how, and when funding and power are distributed.

The job of running an organization like GFC, which last year awarded $7.4m to 293 grassroots organizations in 40 countries, has become increasingly complex and multifaceted, and the scope of responsibilities so great, that the time felt right to adopt this new co-leadership model.

Hayley and John

Global Fund for Children Co-CEOs Hayley Roffey and John Hecklinger © GFC

Given the challenges young people are facing and the increasing opportunities for GFC to support young people as leaders and changemakers, this new structure brings new ideas, broader, deeper expertise, and enthusiasm while also creating increased capacity, promoting work-life harmony, and ensuring leadership continuity. Most importantly, this new structure is better positioned to serve the communities GFC serves through this shared leadership model, as it reflects broader changes in how effective organizations operate, with shared leadership at the core.

GFC has already made significant changes to decentralize authority and decision-making with structures like Co-Chairs of our Global Board, Regional Co-Directors, an extended Leadership Team that makes strategic decisions, and a Youth Leadership Council providing advice and guidance on strategic and operational matters and with representation on the Global Board.  Establishing a Co-CEO model was a natural next step, diversifying gender at the CEO level, welcoming Hayley as a leader of an alumni partner organization, and reflecting the feminist principles that GFC has operated by through its values and overall ways of working.

“As a former partner of GFC, I know what it means to have a funding relationship with this incredible organization, how much the support, flexible funding, and trust from the team meant, and how rare it continues to be. My commitment and dedication to this work have never been stronger, as crisis after crisis populates our planet, impacting children, especially girls, in more and more devastating ways.

I am looking forward to embracing this new model for the organization, approaching it with great seriousness and care because this deeply matters, and I can’t wait to see what space this co-model opens for talent in the future.”

Hayley Roffey, Co-CEO, Global Fund for Children

“I’ve been inspired by GFC partner organizations and peers that have adopted co-leadership models, with an explicitly feminist view of mutual support, shared decision-making, and the intention to disrupt hierarchical organizational structures.

On an extended trip to West Africa to spend time with GFC partners, I had deep conversations with them about their aspirations to advance shared leadership within their organizations. I shared GFC’s experience providing opportunities for every team member to exercise leadership, regardless of role, and how that commitment to shared leadership has advanced GFC’s work in powerful ways. From those conversations, I became convinced that it was time to share my role more formally.

John Hecklinger, Co-CEO, Global Fund for Children

“One thing I love about GFC is its entrepreneurial spirit, the willingness to take risks, and the confidence to engage as a child would approach a challenge, with imagination, experimentation, and play. I believe the willingness and courage to engage with this Co-CEO model extends directly from GFC’s vision of partnering to achieve better outcomes for children and youth. I’m confident the result will be new tools and a more flexible and adaptive working model that will benefit our partners and the children we serve.”

Greg Wallig, Co-Chair of Global Fund for Children’s Global Board said.



Global Fund for Children partners with local organizations around the world, helping them deepen their impact on the lives of children and youth and develop their capacity for social change. By pairing flexible funding with targeted capacity development services, we support community-led groups to shift social norms, policies, and practices to foster lasting change for children and youth. Since 1997, we have invested $56 million in more than 1,000 organizations worldwide.

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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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