Global Visionaries 


The 21st century presents us with unprecedented overlapping environmental and social justice challenges.  Global Visionaries (GV) offers the experiential and integrated education required for youth to change their own behaviors, activate the political will of their generation and channel their energy towards addressing global issues at their roots.  GV youth bridge demographic lines, raise their voices, shape the debate and suggest alternative solutions.  Participants know that every action taken has a ripple effect on society and the world as a whole.  Through GV, the potential for youth to make an impact as social entrepreneurs and advocates becomes a current reality.

Mission Statement
Empowering young people to become global leaders in creating a just and sustainable future.
Donate Now
Global Visionaries
2524 16th Ave S Rm 305 
(206) 322-9448 

Christopher Fontana 
Executive Director 


Global Visionaries Programs

Global Visionaries is one organization based in two countries focused on four critical areas: youth empowerment, social justice, environmental sustainability and international cooperation.  As a community of young adults, educators, parents and social activists, we’ve developed holistic programs centered on empowering youth as agents of change and equipping them with tools to tackle global issues by promoting cross-cultural understanding and cultivating youth leadership.  Below are listed three of our available programs.  Visit our website at for a full list.

The First Year Leadership Program brings together socio-economically and ethnically diverse groups of high school students to examine global citizenship and community leadership. Its five major components include:

  • Pro-justice (diversity), cross-cultural and leadership training
  • Participation in local Seattle volunteer teams
  • Philanthropic training
  • Ecological footprint awareness and reduction
  • International cultural immersion/volunteer work in Guatemala

The Global Leadership (GL) Class is an experiential leadership course where students engage their local communities and take concrete environmental action in their own lives.  At Cleveland and Chief Sealth high schools, students enrolled in the GL class exhibit higher attendance and achievement levels relative to their peers. A component of the course is the "Adopt-A-School" program, where every three weeks, GL students demonstrate understanding by teaching what they’ve learned to 5th graders.

Youth Board (YB): A Catalyst for Social Entrepreneurs and Global Citizens
Alumni of the first year leadership program provide peer education and mentor current first year leadership students. YB members develop skills and knowledge by co-directing Global Visionaries and its programs and interacting with the larger community; the YB meets with community leaders, asks difficult questions and contributes time and ideas.  Its members forge their own paths to becoming global citizens.

Recent Successes and Current Challenges

Recent Successes
In January, 2013, Global Visionaries was one of 20 organizations in Washington state to be featured in Seattle International Foundation's Global Giving Guide. The Guide "highlights the work of 20 organizations making a real difference around the world" which have been vetted by the Seattle International Foundation "by examining their mission, leadership, efficiency, and impact."

On May 12th, 2011, GV Executive Director Christopher Fontana was named the winner of the 2011 Red Winged Leadership Award.  The award, which was given by the Seattle University Albers School of Business and Economics, is intended to "honor leaders committed to embracing the unique intersection where leadership, business acumen, and social impact overlap."

In November 2011, GV completed its 2nd Experience Guatemala All-ages Tour combining the expertise of Rick Steve’s guides and travel philosophy with the mission of GV.  Three trips are planned for 2012-13; two of which are already filled.         

As of 2011, GV has reached a milestone, where over 1,000 Seattle area students have completed the cultural immersion experience in Guatemala with us as part of our first year leadership program.  Since 2004, these young leaders have served 147,000 hours, during which time they have planted 17,500 trees, built 19 school rooms and raised $190,000 for scholarships and projects.

Current Funding Needs

Increase Need-based Program Scholarships for At-Risk Local Youth
Global Visionaries will continue to increase the amount of need-based scholarships to students who receive free and reduced lunches at school (i.e., those at the lowest income levels) to enable them to have equal access to our leadership program.  As of 2009, GV reached its benchmark of ensuring that 50% of all participants are from low-income families.  Since making our first scholarship in 2003, we have increased total annual awards from $1,600 to $115,000 in the current school year.

We will provide $150,000 in scholarships for the 2012-13 school year, for which we will need your support and partnership.

Expand Financial Support for Guatemala Youth Leadership Program
GV provides full financial support to low-income Guatemalan teenage participants in our Guatemala leadership program.  These young leaders fulfill high school graduation requirements through service and academic research projects developed in partnership with GV and receive critical leadership training needed for them to transform Guatemalan society.


Global Visionaries (GV) empowers youth from diverse socio-economic, ethnic, racial, and geographic backgrounds to become active leaders and global citizens promoting justice.

Accessibility and Cultural Competency
Approximately 60% of Global Visionaries participants are low-income youth, and 65% are youth of color. The organization places a high priority on raising and providing scholarship funding, which is administered on a sliding scale based on family income. All students are responsible for doing fundraising activities to support the costs of program participation.

Use of Best Practices
Global Visionaries governance and program structures are youth-driven at all levels. GV encourages long-term engagement of students after the first-year program through the Youth Board, whose members educate and mentor first-year program participants by leading meetings, trainings, and workshops as well as supporting fundraising efforts and local work teams.

Global Visionaries has developed a number of strong collegial partnerships in aid of providing a rich array of experiential learning opportunities for youth. Local partners include EarthCorps, Bridges to Understanding, Youth Venture, Seattle Public Schools and Seattle Central Community College.

Grant History with The Seattle Foundation:

Grants Awarded through The Seattle Foundation Grantmaking Program:

9/17/2008 $10,000.00support general operating expenses.


Similar Organizations

Questions or comments about this organization?
Contact us to learn more.