Highlighting Foundation for Environmental Stewardship

Accelerating youth-led climate philanthropy

Contribution: 2021-2024


An icon depicting a wind turbine.

Funding strategy

Climate – Equity, diversity and inclusion

The McConnell Foundation provided funding to the Foundation for Environmental Stewardship to support youth-led climate projects through outreach, re-granting and program development.

Created in 2016, the Foundation for Environmental Stewardship (FES) is a youth-led charity dedicated to accelerating the impact of youth climate action across Canada. FES has been influential in mobilizing funds from 11 philanthropic organizations and private donors. These, are in turn, redistributed to fund action from climate youth leaders across the country through its two programs: The Youth Harbour and N:ow for Net-Zero.

FES has provided $1.02 million in grants ranging from $5,000 to $70,000 to 74 youth-led initiatives across Canada. Half of the projects are led by Indigenous, Black or racialized individuals, and the remaining organizations partner with equity-deserving groups. Moreover, FES education initiatives have mobilized more than a million Canadian youth across 400 high schools and 82 post-secondary institutions to bolster their climate action.

FES serves as a crucial facilitator in the youth climate movement, connecting young innovators with funding so they can drive meaningful change.

“Addressing complex issues when resources are scarce is even more demanding for youth-led organizations,” says Kat Cadungog, Executive Director, FES. “Young organizers face a dual challenge: growing their organizations while maintaining impact, often under tighter scrutiny and higher expectations from funders.”

FES helps to address these barriers by providing groups with adaptable funding. The organization also has a greater understanding of the strengths and challenges specific to youth organizing and can offer strategic guidance to promote sustainable growth.

FES has supported various projects from coast to coast to coast. A few highlights:

  • Paths for People, which advocates for sustainable city infrastructure in Edmonton.
  • Change Course, a university movement to usher in the end of fossil fuel financing across Canada.
  • VIDEA, which facilitates conversations on sustainability among Indigenous youth.
  • re•generation, based in Québec, for the next generation’s participation in the clean economy and a just transition in Canada.
  • Project SculptShore to clean Nova Scotian shorelines.

Concludes Cadungog of FES’ efforts: “It's crucial to acknowledge that youth bring a rich tapestry of tactics to the movement, whether as disruptors, champions, visionaries or insiders. Each role is invaluable, and as a sector, we need to foster an environment that supports all forms of activism for collective, transformative change.”

Two young women speaking wearing orange attire, speaking into a microphone on a University campus.

Thank you to the Foundation for Environmental Stewardship for the images used on this page and others throughout this report.

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