Global Visionaries is a deliberately diverse youth-led leadership development organization that challenges and empowers young people to become socially and environmentally conscious global leaders. Through experiential activities, retreats, community service and a two-week cultural immersion abroad, teens are motivated and prepared to maximize their potential as leaders. Returning students lead their first-year peers through the program – as youth enter as learners and emerge as leaders.
In 1992 two teachers, Joe and Chris Fontana, along with their students, set out to bring the youth of the world together in support of the environment, justice, and peace. So, they created “YES” – youth-organized global Youth Environmental Summits – and ran two Summits, in 1993 and 1995.
Jason Foster, one of the lead youth organizers, went on to travel the world for a year visiting over 33 nations. He returned with the realization that true education and learning includes learning time outside the classroom, in the real world. In June 1997, Jason Foster and Joe Fontana, led the first Global Visionaries trips to Guatemala and Costa Rica. Global Visionaries has been growing ever since. GV was incorporated as a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization in the state of Washington in 2002.
Jason went on to get his law degree from the University of Michigan and now works for the United Nations. Joe continues with Global Visionaries as the Colorado/California program manager. Chris served as executive director in Seattle until 2017.