Global Fund for Children launches youth-led climate resilience fund in Southeast Asia

The Southeast Asia Climate Spark Fund will empower youth-led climate action in the region.

February 8, 2023 – WASHINGTON, DC, and LONDON – Today, Global Fund for Children (GFC) announces the launch of a participatory grantmaking initiative to support youth-led climate action in Southeast Asia.

Climate change disproportionately impacts children and youth, yet they are often excluded from efforts to address it. This is especially true in Southeast Asia, one of the world’s most at-risk regions for the impacts of climate change, where extreme weather events are already fueling internal displacement, food shortages, and other problems.

“Youth activists in Southeast Asia and around the world are speaking out about climate change. They have the creative ideas and knowledge to contribute to climate action, but they often lack sufficient access to resources,” said GFC President and CEO John Hecklinger. “Through this climate resilience fund, GFC and its partners aim to disrupt the trend of underinvestment in youth-led climate work.”

This two-year initiative, which is supported by generous contributions from Porticus and the Avery Dennison Foundation, will provide flexible funding, capacity development, and networking opportunities to youth-led climate resilience efforts and place key funding decisions in the hands of young people.

GFC will recruit a panel of youth activists from Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam to lead the fund’s design and implementation. Using a multilingual technology platform to facilitate decision-making, the panelists will select a cohort of ten to 15 youth-led initiatives addressing community-level climate resilience and adaptation and award them with grants ranging from $5,000 to $15,000.

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

GFC first committed to resourcing youth-led climate resilience initiatives at the Clinton Global Initiative 2022 Meeting in New York. The Southeast Asia Climate Spark Fund builds on the success of the Spark Fund pilot program, a participatory fund that has empowered youth panels in the Americas, Europe and Eurasia, South Asia, and Southern Africa to design grantmaking criteria and award funding to 56 organizations driving transformational change. The Spark Fund was first launched in 2021 in collaboration with the Avast Foundation.

Although the Spark Fund pilot program did not have a thematic focus, the youth panelists in South Asia and the Americas prioritized climate justice as one of their focus areas. Current Spark Fund grantees are promoting environmental conservation among Indigenous youth in Pakistan; strengthening sustainable agricultural practices within urban communities in Mexico; and much more.

GFC is seeking additional funders for this initiative and plans to launch Spark Fund climate resilience rounds in Latin America, South Asia, and Southern Africa. If you would like to support this initiative, please contact Christine Burkhart.



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.


Porticus is a philanthropic organization that aims to create a just and sustainable future where human dignity flourishes. Our work aims to strengthen the resilience of communities so that all people have ownership over their future and natural resources are used in a sustainable way. Our work is realized through strong networks of partners including local and global NGOs, communities, people with lived experience, policy makers and co-funders. With colleagues based in 14 offices around the world, we want to provide solutions to today’s social and environmental problems that benefit generations to come in four areas: the natural environment, society, education and faith.

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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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