Equity, Inclusion & Diversity Sector News & Trends Research

Build power, share power, leverage power: How foundations can best support youth-led organizations and movements to amplify their impact (Full Report)

Authors: Ilona Dougherty and Dr. Amelia Clarke of the Youth & Innovation Project at the University of Waterloo.

This report was commissioned by Ashoka Canada’s Foundation Academy for Collaboration on Youth Allyship which was a collaboration between The Lawson Foundation, Laidlaw Foundation, The Lyle S. Hallman Foundation, Pathy Family Foundation, The Counselling Foundation of Canada, The Suncor Energy Foundation, Ashoka Canada and Philanthropic Foundations of Canada.  

Young changemakers were engaged in all phases of this project in the spirit of ‘nothing about us without us’. These young people have been kept anonymous for confidentiality reasons.

Young people are at the forefront of social and environmental change movements.

But despite their important role in these movements, a report commissioned by the Ashoka Canada’s Foundation Academy for Collaboration on Youth Allyship found:

  • Youth-led organizations and movements are underfunded or unfunded;
  • Young people are not regularly engaged in funding decisions; and
  • Power imbalances between young people and adults in civil society are common and widespread, leading young leaders to feel frustrated about the lack of support they receive from funders and mainstream non-profits.

As a result, young leaders are experiencing burnout and mental health distress and are leaving the social and environmental change movements they care deeply about.

For young leaders to thrive and stay engaged in social and environmental movements, they need your support. The young leaders who contributed to the development of Ashoka Canada’s report, are calling for bold intergenerational action that centers youth voice.

For more information about how the report recommendations are being implemented and how you can join this collaborative intergenerational work contact the Youth & Innovation Project at the University of Waterloo.