The Shawn Mendes Foundation will be making a grant to support the Youth Climate Finance Alliance, a climate finance movement built from the networks of Future Coalition, and Mendes will attend some of the training sessions, as well.
The Canadian pop singer's foundation will directly support public, open-to-all training sessions as well as provide financial support towards 50 young activists completing more in-depth training. The amount of the grant was not disclosed.
The announcement for the initiative explains that Mendes "has recognized the increasingly urgent need to fund organizers at a grassroots level and the importance of lowering the barriers preventing young people — especially BIPOC frontline activists — to lead the climate movement."
Youth Climate Finance Alliance provides frameworks for the climate movement’s call for an end to the era of fossil fuels. They hope to hold financial institutions accountable for their role in the climate emergency and compensate young people for their environmental organizing efforts. They hope to make climate activism more accessible for everyone through assisted funding.
Mendes plans to attend YCFA's virtual training sessions and participate in some of the recommended actions.
“I’m excited to join in the climate movement alongside powerful youth climate organizers," he said in a statement. "Compensating young people for the climate activism work they are doing through the training is so important. We can’t wait to save our planet tomorrow; we need to defend it today and there is no better group leading change than young people.”
In the press release, Sof Petros, a Youth Climate Finance Alliance coordinator, said, “Black, Indigenous, racialized youth, those living in rural and/or frontline communities, and people living at the intersections of various systems of oppression, have the analysis and lived experiences that the climate justice movement needs to be led with. However, they are also the most likely to face socio-economic instability that directly conflicts with their ability to organize. That’s no accident. When we fail to compensate youth organizers, we create a movement dominated by the voices and perspectives of those with more access to wealth and power, and it fails to center the most marginalized. If we are serious about climate justice, it’s time to get serious about investing in our young people and their powerful visions of a future beyond extraction.”
The Youth Climate Finance Alliance is also hosting a free multi-week online Political Education Series which aims for its participants to "gain a foundational understanding of climate finance, including information concerning the ways large financial institutions and structures fund the climate crisis." Among the issues is Indigenous sovereignty and calls for #LandBack.