With support from the Starbucks™ Shared Planet Youth Action Grants program, 21 youth-led initiatives in 15 countries will expand the impact of their social change work. The grants, ranging from US$5,000 to $10,000, will support efforts to empower teenage survivors of abuse in Sri Lanka, teach urban gardening techniques to low-income residents of Mexico City, and raise awareness of pharmaceutical fraud in Ghana.

Grant recipients were chosen by Starbucks and the International Youth Foundation (IYF) to make funding available to young leaders who have completed the YouthActionNet® program. The program – implemented within individual countries and at the global level – seeks to develop a new generation of socially-conscious citizens who create positive change in their communities.

“As the number of YouthActionNet® Fellows grows around the world, so too does the scope of their projects and their collective impact,” said IYF President and CEO William S. Reese. “Through its grant support, Starbucks is filling a critical need – investing in these inspiring young leaders and their social change work at a time when they are relatively new and remain under the radar of many traditional funders.”

“We’re pleased to support IYF and we applaud its dedication to cultivating tomorrow’s change makers,” said Rodney Hines, Starbucks director of Community Investments. “We hope our Youth Action Grants will enable a new generation of problem solvers to make a meaningful impact in their communities. The innovative approaches pursued by this year’s grant recipients are a testament to what’s possible when we harness the creativity and passion of young people.”

A committee comprised of IYF staff and Starbucks partners (employees) selected the 21 grant recipients, which include:

  • Action Network for the Disabled (ANDY), Kenya: Founded by Fredrick Ouku, 26, ANDY will provide 20 disabled youth with training in entrepreneurial skills, as well as with business support and start-up capital to launch their own businesses.
  • Janvikas-Udaan, India:  Co-founded by Deepika Singh, 29, Udaan will increase awareness of human rights among 1,200 students, 60 teachers, and 30 schools through the creation of community-produced videos.
  • Portafolio Verde, Colombia: Launched by Alejandro Zapata Arango, 29, Portafolio Verde will train coffee growers in the safe usage and handling of agro-chemical supplies in coffee plantations in the Antioquia region of southwest Colombia.
  • Unite for Sight, United States: Unite for sight, founded by Jennifer Staple-Clark, 28, will organize a Global Health Entrepreneurship Institute through which 150 participants will develop a new social venture aimed at eliminating health and development disparities.

In 2010, Starbucks awarded Youth Action Grants totaling $1.75 million. The company’s goal is to engage 50,000 young people to innovate and take action in their communities by 2015. Starbucks believes this effort will spur creative problem-solving, help participants gain valuable life skills, and give partners and customers a meaningful opportunity to support local causes.