Around the world, young women and men are driving change in their own communities and beyond. This has always been the case, but it’s been especially apparent during the COVID-19 crisis. Young people, and youth-led organizations, are on the front lines, identifying immediate challenges and needs, responding quickly, and also laying the foundation on which the world will repair and rebuild post pandemic.

During the Our Future, Our Voices Virtual Summit, we met some of these young leaders and heard loud and clear how important it is to support and invest in young people and youth-led organizations. However, as Susan Reichle—IYF’s President & CEO—noted in her closing remarks, listening and hearing is only the first step.

“The voices we heard are a call to action,” she said, “a challenge thrown down for all of us in the development sector.” In other words, don’t just listen—take action to support youth-led change.

Well, one of our Virtual Summit partners—Conrad N. Hilton Foundation—has taken bold action.

“Today,” Reichle explained, “I am delighted to formally announce that the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation has invested half a million dollars in IYF’s Global Youth Resiliency Fund.”

The fund, inspired by IYF’s Youth Advisory Council, was designed to bring funders and partners together to support young people and youth-led organization who are on the front lines of change, with a particular focus on addressing the aftermath of the COVID-19 crisis.

Speaking during the Our Future, Our Voices Closing Ceremony, Peter Laugharm, President & CEO of the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation said, “We are very excited to be one of the initial funders of the Global Youth Resiliency Fund. We are looking forward to seeing it grow, and to bringing other funders in along with us.”

Initially, the fund will be open for applications from all 2000+ members of IYF’s Youth Action Net network. “But our intent,” Reichle said, “is to bring on more funders in the future which will allow us to open it up to a larger number of youth-led organizations. We hope the fund will lead to exponential investment and change in the future of the world.”