Shawn Mendes Foundation Partners with Global Citizen Year to Launch Global Citizen Academy

JULY 13, 2020 – GRAMMY nominated, multi-platinum singer/songwriter Shawn Mendes has launched an initiative through the Shawn Mendes Foundation (SMF), seeking to inspire and empower his fans and today’s youth to bring about positive change in the world and advocate for causes they care about. 

Today, Shawn and SMF are partnering with the nonprofit organization Global Citizen Year to launch the Global Citizen Year Academy, a first-of-its kind leadership experience for high school graduates from around the world to learn powerful and practical skills for a lifetime of social impact. 

Designed in partnership with Minerva Project, the program offers accredited courses taught via Minerva’s cutting-edge virtual learning platform. The Academy will feature curriculum and high profile speakers focused on a range of social issues including racial justice, climate change, and human rights. SMF will be providing $250,000 in need-based scholarships to ensure that tuition is not a barrier to entry and students of all economic backgrounds can participate in the Academy.

SMF was founded in 2019 after Shawn was inspired by the young activists he met while on tour. He wanted to bring his fans on a learning journey with him – to study issues, learn how to get involved, and understand how to become a changemaker. The Foundation seeks to inspire the youth of today and to empower them to bring change by taking action and giving back.

Over the past year, Shawn and SMF have been listening to the stories of young people and learning from experts about how to best support these changemakers. The Foundation has been meeting with various young activists to further understand the motivating factors for young people to get involved, and the trepidation many experience as they begin to use their voices. The Foundation is excited to announce this latest initiative as one of its primary focuses for 2020.

The Shawn Mendes Foundation will be providing $250,000 in need-based scholarships for applicants to Global Citizen Academy, & Shawn will be serving as Global Youth Chair In addition to the scholarship funding, Shawn will be amplifying the opportunity to recruit applicants providing mentorship opportunities and helping curate the list of guest speakers for the Academy’s “Leadership In Action” series. These high-profile speakers will be announced over the coming weeks. Global Citizen Year Academy is accepting applications until July 30th.

“Our world needs young leaders now more than ever,” says Mendes. “It’s been truly inspiring to watch so many young activists use their voices. By working with Global Citizen Academy, my hope is that we can empower many more young people around the world with the resources and tools they need to make an impact.”

Abby Falik, Global Citizen Year Founder & CEO, described the genesis of the initiative: “In recent months many have called on Gen Z — and, specifically, this year’s high school graduates — to step up and lead. Some have called for a year of service, others have called for a national corps. But until now, no one has provided a clear and tangible way to do it. Today, we’re thrilled to partner with Shawn and his Foundation to launch Global Citizen Academy: a powerful new pathway for young people who are ready to get in the arena, level up and lead.. To anyone around the world who is inspired by Shawn’s activism and leadership, I hope you’ll join us. This is your chance to become the kind of leader our world needs now.”

SMF also continues its work with their primary Canadian partner, SickKids Hospital in Toronto. In addition to a grant given to support COVID-19 testing, SMF continues to provide support to the hospital through various partnerships and events.

In addition to ongoing campaigns with SickKids Hospital in Toronto, the Foundation will also continue to work with Shawn’s previous charitable partners. In the past SMF has partnered with several partners across philanthropic fields, including Forests Ontario, Pencils of Promise, VH1 Saves the Music, the Ryan Seacrest Foundation, the TJ Martell Foundation, Global Citizen, and Fridays for Future. A full list of past and current charity partners can be found on the SMF website. The foundation will also work with Shawn’s brand partners to find unique ways to give back and create charitable and cause driven elements to his brand and music campaigns. 

For information about The Shawn Mendes Foundation, including how to donate, please visit

About Global Citizen Year

Global Citizen Year is a nonprofit pioneering a model that wraps curriculum and coaching around real-world experience to transform the trajectory of our most promising young leaders. Working with colleges, companies and community partners, Global Citizen Year is forging a new educational pathway to launch the leaders our world needs now.

The Academy

Launched in 2020 in response to the COVID pandemic and the unprecedented number of high school graduates who are unable to go to college as planned, Global Citizen Academy is an intensive leadership experience equipping diverse high school graduates worldwide with powerful and practical skills for a lifetime of social impact. Anchored in a decade of expertise, the Academy adapts their transformative learning model to address the demands of our shared, global crises. Joining in design and delivery is the Minerva Project, a fellow pioneer in educational transformation. The engaging blend of accredited academic courses, experiential learning, workshops with leading innovators, and collaboration with peers from around the world, provides the ideal structure and support to ensure this year is not a “gap” — but a launchpad to a purposeful life.

The Fellowship

Each year Global Citizen Year recruits the most talented high school graduates from across the country and around the world. They invest in young people who represent our society’s diversity, and use the formative transition between high school and college to ignite their purpose in ways that classroom learning alone cannot. For the equivalent of an academic year, Global Citizen Year Fellows live with a family in a community in Africa, Latin America or Asia and apprentice to local efforts advancing education, health and sustainability. By staying longer and going deeper, Global Citizen Year Fellows develop insights that shape their character, guide their higher education and equip them to make a meaningful impact over the course of their lives.

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