CDC Foundation Announces Climate and Health Initiative Focused on Young People, Including $550,000 in Initial Grants

Effort Aims to Engage Young People and Bolster Community Readiness to Meet Climate and Health Challenge

While changes in the earth’s climate and actions to reduce carbon emissions receive significant attention in the news cycle, people are less familiar with how the earth’s changing climate is impacting health. Today, the CDC Foundation announced a new focus to bring together young people to raise awareness about the linkage between climate and health and to engage them in their communities to better prepare for the growing health impacts from climate change. Today’s announcement includes the availability of an initial $550,000 in grant funding the CDC Foundation will make available to organizations focused on young people for use in communities across the nation as well as opportunities for individuals to share their views on addressing the climate and health challenge.

The health impacts from the earth’s evolving climate are growing and range from wildfires that effect asthma and cardiovascular disease, to injuries from severe weather events, to extreme heat that increases heat-related illness and death, to water and food availability challenges. According to a 2021 study published in The Lancet, all of these health-related issues also have an impact on the mental health of young people, who report suffering from anxiety, feelings of sadness, hopelessness, anger and being powerless in addressing climate change. And, many young people live in communities that have contributed the least to climate change but are among those most threatened by the changing climate.

“The health and mental health impacts of our changing climate are daunting, but we must not lose sight of opportunities to come together in our communities to better prepare people, particularly those who are most at risk, for these climate-related health challenges,” said Judy Monroe, MD, president and CEO of the CDC Foundation. “Young people are playing a central role in helping to make a difference with the climate and health challenge, and at the CDC Foundation we are pleased to launch an effort that aims to further engage young adults to take action.”

Today, through Instagram Live, Monroe announced the CDC Foundation’s focus on engaging young adults to address the climate and health challenge, including three initial opportunities for young people to engage:

  • Visit the CDC Foundation’s website ( to learn more about the challenges of climate on health, the importance of ensuring increased knowledge about this linkage across the population and new opportunities that organizations focused on young people will soon have to apply for $550,000 in grants for use in communities across the nation;
  • Leave a video message with responses to three initial questions focused on how climate change is impacting health in their community, what inspires them to take action and what they are doing to reduce the impact of climate on the health of their community; and
  • Follow the CDC Foundation social media channels to stay connected with the Foundation on important opportunities to remain engaged around the climate and health topic.

As part of its initial climate and health grants, the CDC Foundation will solicit proposals from organizations focused on young people that are interested in receiving a grant to implement climate and public health-related activities. The CDC Foundation is especially interested in organizations led by members of, or focused on, historically marginalized communities who are experiencing disproportionate climate health impacts.

The grant program aims to support innovative interventions that will develop and equip the next generation of public health leaders. Examples of potential projects might include:

  • creating or bolstering an existing youth council to focus on climate-related health issues;
  • developing a climate and public health course to engage college students in the issues and solutions;
  • implementing innovative young adult-centered climate education and resilience projects that use the arts to benefit mental health;
  • training young people on environment-related health equity issues in their communities; or
  • hosting young adult-led environment awareness community events to raise attention to local climate and health issues and ways for citizens to get involved.

“These grants represent a start, and we hope to raise more support that can be deployed with additional organizations nationwide that focus on young people,” said Monroe. “While all communities face health threats from our changing climate, some communities will bear a greater burden. According to the Climate Justice Resilience Fund report, only about 2 percent of overall global giving goes to climate change mitigation, with only about 4 percent of that designated for equity-oriented work. This emphasizes the need as well as the opportunity for collective impact if individuals and organizations come together to support this vital work.”

Information on the grant program proposal process will be released on October 31, 2022, by the CDC Foundation.

To learn more about the CDC Foundation’s climate and health activities focused on young people, go to