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Mayor Patrick Johnstone announces New Westminster joins Bloomberg Philanthropies Youth Action Fund to activate young people in driving climate solutions
Posted On:
April 23, 2024

New Westminster one of 100 cities (6 in Canada) that will receive funding and technical assistance to spur a groundswell of youth-driven climate solutions

New Westminster, B.C. – New Westminster youth will be working to build a sustainable future, thanks to up to $150,000 USD ($206,000 CAD) in funding from the Bloomberg Philanthropies Youth Action Climate Fund.

With 84 percent of youth around the world reporting that they are worried climate change threatens people and the planet, Mayor Patrick Johnstone announced today that New Westminster 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. New Westminster joins the Fund alongside other cities from around the world, which together spans 38 countries across six continents, representing over 62 million residents.

As part of this program, New Westminster will receive $50,000 USD to distribute as microgrants to fund a groundswell of youth-led climate initiatives. From mobilizing tree-planting or public education campaigns 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 de-carbonization commitments or reducing consumption-based emissions.

Cities that respond to the urgency of the moment and commit the initial $50,000 within six months will receive an additional $100,000 USD to support more youth-driven projects over the course of one year.

In 2019, the City of New Westminster declared a climate emergency and committed to bold action to achieve greenhouse gas reductions. It subsequently endorsed Seven Bold Steps for Climate Action with the goal of moving New Westminster towards a zero carbon future by 2050. The entire community must be involved to achieve necessary climate action and this new funding will empower local youth to do their part.

“Today’s youth will face the full brunt of climate change,” said Mayor Patrick Johnston in announcing the grant at an Earth Day Celebration on Saturday, April 20. “We need to take action now to create a sustainable future for our community. Thanks to Bloomberg Philanthropies we can further help our local youth take meaningful action for the benefit of their generation and those to come.”

 “Climate change is an all-hands-on-deck challenge, and it’s critical that young people – who have the most at stake – help lead the way,” said Michael R. Bloomberg, UN Special Envoy on Climate Ambition and Solutions and 108th mayor of New York City. “This new fund will help mayors mobilize and empower tomorrow’s leaders to take action today.”

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, as a part of the Local Climate Action Summit, 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 ground-breaking 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.”

As part of the Youth Climate Action Fund, Mayor Patrick Johnstone has launched an open call for new and ambitious climate efforts led by young people. These ideas may include:

  • Youth-led awareness, education, research, and development initiatives, including: youth-led climate education programs; youth climate hackathons; youth-developed climate surveys and research; youth-informed clubs or curriculum; and youth-designed public art and awareness campaigns.
  • Youth-driven climate mitigation and adaptation projects, including: youth-led community gardening, tree planting, reforestation, and urban farming campaigns; youth-managed recycling and waste reduction programs; and youth-produced climate resilience workshops and disaster preparedness programs.
  • Co-governed youth climate action plans, including: partnerships between city leaders and youth groups to inform climate-related policy ideas, decisions, or actions or the formation of youth climate ambassadors or advisory boards.

The 100 cities selected to participate in the Youth Climate Action Fund include: Accra, Ghana; Allentown, Pennsylvania; Allerød, Denmark; Alor Gajah, Malaysia; Athens, Greece; Atlanta, Georgia; Avellaneda, Argentina; Banjul, The Gambia; Belmopan, Belize; Billund, Denmark; Bo, Sierra Leone; Boise, Idaho; Borongan, Philippines; Bristol, United Kingdom; Broward County, Florida; Bulawayo, Zimbabwe; Casablanca, Morocco; Cerro Navia, Chile; Chefchaouen, Morocco; Cincinnati, Ohio; Columbia, South Carolina; Columbus, Ohio; Córdoba, Argentina; Cuenca, Ecuador; Curvelo, Brazil; Despeñaderos, Argentina; Dubuque, Iowa; Embu, Kenya; Esteban Echeverria, Argentina; Flint, Michigan; Freetown, Sierra Leone; Glasgow, United Kingdom; Guarulhos, Brazil; Guatemala City, Guatemala; Guelph, Canada; Haderslev, Denmark; Halifax, Canada; Hang Tuah Jaya, Malaysia; Hastings-on-Hudson, New York; Hobart, Australia; Hoboken, New Jersey; Hudson Valley, New York; Irbid, Jordan; Kampala, Uganda; Kerewan, The Gambia; Kitchener, Canada; Kitwe, Zambia; Kumasi, Ghana; La Crosse, Wisconsin; Lansing, Michigan; Long Beach, California; Luján de Cuyo, Argentina; Lusaka, Zambia; Madison, Wisconsin; Madugandí, Panamá; Maipú, Chile; Mansa, Zambia; Masaka City, Uganda; Melbourne, Australia; Mendoza, Argentina; Menjez, Lebanon; Mesa, Arizona; Mogi das Cruzes, Brazil; Montego Bay, Jamaica; Mykolaiv, Ukraine; Nansana, Uganda; New Orleans, Louisiana; New Westminster, Canada; Newcastle, Australia; Norddjurs, Denmark; Nouakchott, Mauritania; Oakville, Canada; Oberlin, Ohio; Paterson, New Jersey; Pérez, Argentina; Pikine, Senegal; Puerto Barrios, Guatemala; Quelimane, Mozambique; Quillota, Chile; Recife, Brazil; Reykjavik, Iceland; Rosario, Argentina; San Francisco, Camotes, Cebu, Philippines; Santiago, Chile; Sekondi-Takoradi, Ghana; Skopje, North Macedonia; Sobral, Brazil; Tandil, Argentina; The Blue Mountains, Canada; Tirana, Albania; Tolhuin, Argentina; Trujillo, Honduras; Turin, Italy; Turku, Finland; Vejen, Denmark; Walvis Bay, Namibia; West Palm Beach, Florida; West Sacramento, California; White Plains, New York; and Zanzibar, Tanzania. 

The City of New Westminster will use the funding to:

  • create a Youth Climate Action Caucus;
  • develop a Youth Employment Training Program focused on Climate Action; and
  • support youth-led projects across the City through funding and other assistance.

The City will work with two youth focused organizations, CityHive and the Youth Climate Corps of British Columbia to implement the program.

“We are thrilled to partner with the City of New Westminster and CityHive to spearhead this innovative climate action program,” said Ben Simoni, Executive Director of Youth Climate Corps BC. “As local governments are the frontlines of the climate crisis, it's crucial to empower youth to be part of the solution. This program will work to catalyze the passion and energy of young people to drive climate resilience and a low-carbon future, by providing them with good jobs and training with local climate and youth groups in New West.”

"As a youth-led organization we consistently hear about the importance of intentional youth engagement on climate action and policy, and fostering youth leadership,” said Rowan Gentleman-Sylvester, Executive Director of CityHive. “We know the importance of meaningful youth engagement first-hand, and having previously worked closely with the City on several projects, we're thrilled to be partners on this initiative. We look forward to connecting with more youth in New West and working together to take action for our climate."

More information about how to apply for the microgrants will be posted to the City's website in the coming months. In the meantime, interested youth can email their ideas to .

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Media Contacts:

Denise A Tambellini
Intergovernmental Relations
City of New Westminster
604-340-9373 |

Sam Fuld
Bloomberg Philanthropies 

About the Bloomberg Youth Action Fund Action Plan:

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, Eduction, 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, LinkedIn, YouTubeThreads, Facebook, and X.

About the Youth Climate Corps of British Columbia:

Youth Climate Corps British Columbia is a climate action program that builds on youth leadership to foster climate resilience and a livable, low-carbon future while paying young people a living wage. The Youth Climate Corps has run programs in six communities across BC, and delivered over 7,000 working days of youth-led climate action. It strives to scale up climate action, build community resilience and provide young people with a pathway to a good career that betters their community. Youth Climate Corps BC envisions a fair, just, and thriving future for everyone.

About CityHive:

CityHive is an award-winning youth-run not-for-profit organization based in Metro Vancouver. For over eight years they have been transforming the way that young people are engaged in shaping their cities - on issues as varied as climate, housing, and mental health. With a strong history in New Westminster, they have run a wide range of civic education and climate innovation programs for ages 13-30, both in and out of the classroom, while also working directly with local institutions to help them engage youth in planning and decision-making. Since their founding, CityHive's work, grounded in the principles of being youth-led, collaborative, and equity-centred, has resulted in more meaningful and reciprocal youth engagement practices across our region.