Mayor Rhodes-Conway Joins Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Youth Action Fund to Activate Young People in Driving Climate Solutions


With 84 percent of youth around the world reporting that they are worried about the threat that climate change poses to people and the planet, Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway announced today that Madison will join Bloomberg Philanthropies’ new Youth Climate Action Fund, which will provide technical assistance and funding for 100 Mayors to activate tens of thousands of young people ages of 15 – 24 years to design, produce, and govern urgent climate solutions in cities across the globe. Madison joins the Fund alongside other cities from around the world, which together span 38 countries across six continents, representing over 62 million residents.

As part of this program, Madison will receive $50,000 to distribute as microgrants through their youth-led program By Youth For Youth (BYFY).  In partnership with United Way of Dane County and UW-Madison Extension, through BYFY, Madison has already distributed nearly $1M to 496 youth-led projects over the past 30 years. The Youth Climate Action Fund will allow BYFY to amplify and accelerate youth-led ideas to tackle climate change. From mobilizing tree-planting to launching recycling or waste reduction initiatives to participating in mitigation planning or preparedness programs, efforts stemming from the new Youth Climate Action Fund will advance critical community goals such as meeting decarbonization commitments or reducing consumption-based emissions.

“What we’ve learned from 30 years of By Youth For Youth, is that when we invest in the ideas of young people, good things happen,” said Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway. “We know these additional funds will both seed actionable climate ideas that will improve our city and build the capacity of the next generation. One of the core challenges of young people today is going to be responding to the climate crisis, but rather than climate despair, we want to inspire climate action, and that’s what this initiative will do.”

Young residents ages 15 - 24 years are encouraged to visit this form to learn more about the Youth Climate Action Fund, supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies, and how to submit ideas for the opportunity to receive funding.

The climate crisis poses an existential threat to communities, and Mayors are the first and last mile of response: tackling emergencies and trialing interventions from the frontlines. Over the last decade, local governments have played a critical role in climate mitigation and adaptation. Many cities are reducing per capita emissions faster than their national governments. In the coming decade, municipalities’ role will grow as they continue to combat ongoing climate challenges.

However, with more than 60 percent of young people saying that the government is not doing enough to avoid climate catastrophe or taking their concerns seriously enough, few city halls have the organizational capacity, capabilities, and confidence to unleash youth energy on solution-building. Kickstarted at the Bloomberg Philanthropies Mayors Innovation Studio at COP28, the Bloomberg Philanthropies Youth Climate Action Fund will provide the cities with the tools, techniques, and supports to leverage innovation approaches that invite and foster robust youth collaboration in climate problem-solving and policymaking. The program will be delivered by United Cities and Local Governments in partnership with the Bloomberg Center for Public Innovation at Johns Hopkins University. C40 Cities and the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy will collaborate as learning partners.

“United Cities and Local Governments is thrilled to join Bloomberg Philanthropies in celebrating the cities around the world that are joining the Youth Climate Action Fund—and partnering with the organization on this work,” said Emilia Sáiz, Secretary General for United Cities and Local Governments. “Youth today are the guardians of our future, and in bringing them together with local governments through this groundbreaking initiative, we will see cities reach newfound progress in shaping more resilient and regenerative communities that can act on the climate emergency in entirely new ways.”

“In order for cities to catalyze ever broadening, ever more ambitious efforts, they’ll need to continue to shift away from traditional, top-down models to those that solicit ideas and crowd in energy from across the community, including and especially from young people who are so vested in solving the climate crisis,” said James Anderson, who leads the Government Innovation program at Bloomberg Philanthropies. “Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Youth Climate Action Fund will provide a springboard for mayors worldwide to put these lessons to work and launch a tidal wave of youth-driven activity that takes local climate action to the next level.”

“The most successful climate action centers people,” said Antha Williams, who leads the Environment program at Bloomberg Philanthropies. “Mayors must marshal a new era of engagement with local youth — harnessing their perspective, talents, and influence to drive progress in their communities. The Bloomberg Philanthropies Youth Climate Action Fund will provide these cities with both the technical expertise and funds to mobilize the hope and determination of young people to address the climate crisis head-on and help build resilient, more sustainable cities for generations to come.”


About Bloomberg Philanthropies:

Bloomberg Philanthropies invests in 700 cities and 150 countries around the world to ensure better, longer lives for the greatest number of people. The organization focuses on creating lasting change in five key areas: the Arts, Education, Environment, Government Innovation, and Public Health. Bloomberg Philanthropies encompasses all of Michael R. Bloomberg’s giving, including his foundation, corporate, and personal philanthropy as well as Bloomberg Associates, a philanthropic consultancy that advises cities around the world. In 2023, Bloomberg Philanthropies distributed $3 billion. For more information, please visit, sign up for our newsletter, or follow us on Instagram, LinkedInYouTube, Threads, Facebook, and X.

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