From the massive youth protests demanding climate action during COP26, the global climate summit in November, to the young leaders demanding action on civil rights during last month’s Summit for Democracy, it is crystal clear that a wave of youth activism and youth movements is reshaping the global agenda.

With authoritarianism on the rise, for American Jewish World Service, investing in social movements led by young people is one of the best ways to safeguard democracy and democratic rights. And so, as consciously political grant-makers, we are ramping up our efforts to invest in youth movements — and calling on other funders to do the same.

From Nicaragua to Burma to Uganda and everywhere in between, basic freedoms are increasingly imperiled. In fact, according to independent watchdog, Freedom House, nearly 75% of the world’s population live in a country where democratic rights are under assault. Tragically, the global pandemic has not only ravaged the health of millions, but also magnified pre existing global inequities related to wealth, gender, race and age and has been utilized by repressive regimes to trample human rights and quell dissent.

To shape the future, we believe that we must bolster movements of young people with a democratic, inclusive and just vision for a better tomorrow. Each year, AJWS supports more than 500 organizations across 18 countries. Since 2018, we have made over 900 grants globally to youth activists who are training and organizing groups of young people facing systematic and brutal suppression. And we have seen the power of what young people can achieve when given the support to organize, share their voices and mobilize others.

Read the full article about investing in youth by Shari Turitz at eJewish Philanthropy.