This is the third year of the AstraZeneca Step Up! global grants programme and its reputation and stature are growing fast, with applications more than doubling from 75 in 2018 to 172 in 2019 - and then more than doubling again to 473 in 2020.
The programme has always been aimed at small non-profits that really make a difference at ‘grass roots’ level and this year 59% of applications have come from organisations with annual incomes of under US$50,000 – for which a US$10,000 Step Up! grant could provide a major boost.
The original purpose of Step Up! was to encourage recipient organisations to try new ideas and methods to improve youth health and it is very encouraging to find that even in the depths of a pandemic this enterprising spirit lives on. Over 100 of the proposals were from innovative organisations aiming to generate, develop and test new ideas and ways of working. These new approaches to the long-standing challenges that young people face are vital to ensure that the good work goes on in youth health despite the huge disruption and additional costs caused by the COVID-19 emergency.
Over the next few weeks we will be working our way through these proposals looking for the bright ideas and inspiring young leadership that will help organisations to step up to the next level. We have already supported and learned from Step Up! projects in action from Chile to Pakistan and from Mexico to Australia, and we look forward to sharing the lessons and successes of our new projects in the coming months and years.