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Boosting and Broadening Support During a Time of Upheaval

Posted 04 August 2022 in EMpower News   |   Share

This past fiscal year (which ended June 30) was a milestone for EMpower. We invested $6.4 million in 125 grantee partner organisations in 15 emerging market countries—our highest total ever. This amount is a 58% increase from the previous year! And we worked with many more grantee partners than ever before.

As the COVID pandemic continued to rattle, the Ukraine war began to rage, and economic markets were rocked, we expanded our grantmaking to address pressing needs. We asked our grantee partners what they needed most and how we could best support them during these unprecedented times. They requested more flexible funding and we responded by changing our model to enable partners to spend grant resources in the ways most appropriate for their contexts and to take on both their immediate and longer-term challenges. This allowed them to pivot to address the ever-changing pandemic and other crises and to better serve marginalised young people in their communities. It also provided them with increased financial security, as it covered costs that are essential but not supported by many other funders and that enable our partners to plan further into the future.

Since the pandemic began, we intentionally have also awarded larger grants, with the average size of our grants growing significantly. The average annual grant size in the year preceding COVID-19 (FY19) was $30,200. It was $42,500 in FY22—a 41% increase.

The grants we made were also of longer duration; this past fiscal year we made the most multi-year grants ever. Solidifying our commitment to our partners, we ensured that they did not have to spend unnecessary time and resources reapplying for grants. This past fiscal year, nearly half of our renewal grants were multi-year grants.

And, importantly, we launched the Circle Portfolio to fund smaller organisations, led by individuals with lived experience in the communities they serve. This past fiscal year, we awarded 7 Circle Portfolio grants, totaling $175,000. We plan to size up this number substantially in the years to come.

In total, we brought on 25 new grantee partners in FY22, providing funding and helping strengthen their capacities for fundraising, learning and evaluation, skilling young people for jobs in COVID-affected economies, working with very young adolescents, and other critical areas. And we provided assistance to these organisations in incorporating much needed youth-focused mental health care into their programmes.

None of this would have been possible without the dedication and commitment of our supporters. Since our inception a little over two decades ago, EMpower has awarded more than $45 million in grants. So we share this milestone with all of you—with deep gratitude for all that you do. And we look forward to what this year can bring about for thousands of young people around the world.

What We Heard from our Grantee Partners

Young People on the Impact of This Work


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